I am very new to the German language, and have one question here.

In this German sentence "Gehen Sie geradeaus auf der Straße unter den Linden"

I know that "Straße" is female but in the above example the article "der" is attached to it instead of "die", is that happened because of the preposition word "auf". Does it change the article form from feminine to masculine?


4 Answers 4


No, it is always feminine. Just the surrounding construction requires use of dative case. References to static locations frequently do this, while directions are mostly accusative case.

  • 2
    Yes, "auf der Straße gehen" (female noun, dativ case) would mean to walk in the street. "Auf die Straße gehen" (female noun, akkusativ case) means to go onto the street. The latter is used often as an expression for "to go protesting in the streets".
    – user12565
    Jun 22, 2016 at 7:45

German hat not only three grammatical genders, but also four grammatical cases. The noun »Straße« is always female, but - as any noun - it can appear in any of those four cases. And the article, often together with a changed ending of the noun, depends on this grammatical case.

Nominative case (Wer? oder Was? - Who? or What?):

Die Straße ist lang. - The street is long.
Wer oder was ist lang? - Who or what is long?

Genitive case (Wessen? - Whose?):

Das ist der Belag der Straße. - This is the street's surface.
Wessen Belag ist das? - Whose surface is this?

Dative case (Wem? - To whom? or To what?):

Die Leute geben der Straße einen Namen. - People give the street a name. (i.e., People give a name to the street.)
Wem geben die Leute einen Namen? - To whom or to what do people give a name?

Accusative case (Wen? oder Was? - Who? or What?):

Ich sehe die Straße - I see the street.
Wen oder was sehe ich? - Who or what do I see?

English does not have four cases. Some experts say that the concept of cases doesn't work for English, some say English has two cases (nominative and genitive). But as you come from the English language, you have to learn what cases are and what they are good for.

German has four cases, Latin has six, Estonian has 14 and Hungarian has 31 cases.


Nothing to do with a changed Genus.

The case of substantive and article is ruled by the preposition here. And auf wants the dative, dative of "die" is "der", which just by coincidence looks like the nominative of the masculine "der"


"der" is the Dativ form of feminine "die" article. In Akkusativ, "die" stays "die". So, “auf der Straße” is a Dativ form, “auf die Straße” is Akkusativ (Genus of Straße is preserved).

In German, you use Dative with the location prepositions, when you want to describe a current location (i.e. when something is already in the street). But when you try to describe a destination of some action (i.e. to the street - not already there, but going to be there as a result of the action in the sentence), then you use Akkusativ.

So, “auf der Straße” stands for "(already) on the street", while “auf die Straße” means "(directed) to the street".

  • English has a similar distinction: "on the street" vs "onto the street"
    – adhominem
    Jun 28, 2016 at 15:52

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