A text in my German book contains the sentence:

Oder wir gehen zuerst in die Stadt und danach in den Wald joggen.

I think that in den Wald actually has to be in dem Wald because here we ask the question “Where are they jogging?” and not “To where are there jogging?”, i.e., “Wo?” and not “Wohin?” which means we have to use dative and not accusative. Unless, of course, what they mean is that they want to go jogging to the forest, go inside and then go back, which I doubt they mean.

Can anyone explain this, please?

  • 1
    I would suggest a comma between Wald and joggen, but I am not sure about it.
    – Jan
    May 7, 2016 at 11:03
  • 2
    @Jan: Optional (§ 75 E2).
    – chirlu
    May 7, 2016 at 11:25
  • @chirlu optional, but helpful.
    – tofro
    May 7, 2016 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


You obviously already know about dative and accusative when used with locations, the former generally meaning something being there and the latter something going there.

Here, the sentence does not necessarily say that you are going to jog into the forest. Rather, after having gone to town, you’re going to go to the forest and then do some jogging there. The active verb that governs the case of in den Wald is gehen in the sense of going somewhere (not walking). You should ask for this by asking: ‘To where are they going to go jogging?’

As User Unknown correctly points out, you don’t have to do all your jogging in the forest, you’re just starting there.

An optional (as per Chirlu’s comment, according to § 75 E2) comma could be inserted to clarify this reading:

Danach gehen wir in den Wald, joggen.

You could also stress the fact that you are jogging in the forest more by saying:

Danach gehen wir im Wald joggen.

Asking for this would result in the question you suggested: ‘Where are they jogging?’ But that’s a slightly different sentence.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.