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To understand German better I've been breaking down words in sentences to understand how the sentence is made up so that when I make my own, I have an idea of where to go with it, however, the I've seen sentences like this that throw me through a loop.

Ich gehe zu jemandem nach Hause.

To me, this translates to "I am going to somebody's to house." Which doesn't make sense in English. So, what is up with this?

  • Is "nach Hause" your problem? This is "home" with the meaning of "homewards". So the translation would be "I am going to somebody's home." – IQV Mar 17 '17 at 11:52
  • Yeah, that is, but I was under the impression from my dictionary that nach translated to "to". Thanks for the help! – Jackgold Mar 17 '17 at 11:54
  • It does translate to to. But also to another dozen of English prepositions. – c.p. Mar 17 '17 at 12:01
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  • Ich = I
    Subject. This is the part of speech that describes the thing that is performing the action. Subject is always in nominative case, and you often find the subject at position 1 of the sentence.
  • gehe = go
    Predicate. This is the part of speech that describes the action itself. It is a verb. In a German statement (»Aussagesatz«) the predicate (or at least a part of it) occupies always position 2 of the sentence.
  • zu jemandem = to somebody
    Prepositional object, i.e. an object that start with a preposition.
    • zu = to
      Local preposition. You use it when you want to tell the target of a movement.
    • jemandem = somebody
      Dative object. When used after »zu« the target of a moment.
  • nach Hause = home
    Prepositional object
    • nach = to
      Local preposition. You use it when you want to tell the target of a movement.
    • Hause = home
      Dative object. Target of a moment.

The part »nach Hause« literally is »to (towards) home«, but in English you just say »home«.

This sentence says two things:

  1. I go to somebody.
  2. I go (to a) home.

This only makes sense, if the home is not your (the sentences I) home, but somebody's home. So the complete sentence is in English:

I go to somebody's home.

You can replace somebody by a concrete person:

Ich gehe zu Michael nach Hause.
I go to to Michael's home.


This is also worth knowing:

  • nach Hause = homewards
  • zu Hause = at home

Normally you use »zu« to describe a movement to a target, and the target ist written after »zu«. But in combination with »Hause« it describes a place, not a movement!

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  • Thank you very much, this explanation /really/ gave me a great idea of how to structure a sentence like this! – Jackgold Mar 17 '17 at 18:29

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