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I thought that the dative -e was used in fixed expressions such as "nach Hause" and "zu Hause". But when I plug this sentence into Google Translate, it spells "Haus", not "Hause".

I am going to Hans's house.

Ich gehe zu Hans' Haus.

Why is it Haus and not Hause?

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This is correct in modern German:

Ich gehe zu Hans’ Haus.
I go to Hans's house.

The next version is also still correct in modern German, but it is old-fashioned and outdated, and used extremely rarely in 21st century. It was the only correct version in 18th century. It is not recommended to use this version nowadays:

Ich gehe zu Hans’ Hause.
I go to Hans's house.

This is wrong:

Ich gehe zu Hause.

This is wrong too:

Ich gehe zuhause.

This is correct:

Ich bin zu Hause. = Ich bin zuhause.
I am at home.

And this is correct too:

Ich gehe nach Hause. = Ich gehe nachhause.
I go home.


Explanations

»das Haus« (the house)

The noun Haus, when not used together with the prepositions zu and nach just means the house, i.e. a building, where people can live inside. Also smaller office buildings, where nobody lives, are sometimes called Haus too, but factories and stables are not.

When used this way (i.e. meaning a building), the modern dative form is »dem Haus«:

Der neue Anstrich verleiht dem Haus einen neuen Look.
The new paint gives the house a new look.

To use »dem Hause« is possible, but outdated and not recommended.

»zu Hause« (at home)

Using Haus together with zu changes the meaning. Combined this gives »zu Hause«, where ...

  1. an old meaning survived
  2. an old grammatical ending survived
  3. the noun is used without a determiner

A determiner is often an article (the House, das Haus), but also can be a pronoun (my House, mein Haus)

The old meaning is home, which is not the same as house. Home is the place where somebody lives, this is very often a house, but some people live in tents, in caves or under bridges. Such places are homes, but not houses. And an empty house, where nobody lives, is nobodies home.

»Zu Hause« is a place (i.e. not a direction). So it is something where you can be, stay, sleep, die, eat, talk etc. But zu Hause can not be the target of a movement, but gehen is a verb of movement. So »Ich gehe zu Hause« doesn't mean what you might expect. It doesn't mean »I go/walk home«. It means »I walk at home«. You might interpret this as »I walk in circles inside of my house without leaving it«, but it is very unlikely, that this is really what you wanted to tell.

»nach Hause« (home)

Everything I said about »zu Hause« in the section above is true for »nach Hause« too, with one big difference: »Nach Hause« is a direction, i.e. not a place, but a target of movement. So you can use it only with verbs of movement (gehen, fliegen, fahren, schwimmen, laufen, rennen, ...), but you can't use it with other verbs.

Ich fahre nach Hause. (movement → nach Hause) (I drive home)
Ich schlafe zu Hause. (not a movement → zu Hause) (I sleep at home)

»zuhause«, »nachhause«

This are allowed (but not recommended) versions of »zu Hause« and »nach Hause«.

Ich gehe zu Hans’ Haus.

The main reason, why you don't use »Hause« here ist, that »Hans’« is a determiner. The word »Hans’« determines the noun »Haus«. As said before, determiners are most often articles or pronouns, but genitivus possessivus is another form of a determiner. And if there is a determiner before »Haus(e)«, it can't no longer be understood in its old meaning home, but only as house.

Here »zu« is not a word that belongs to »Haus(e)«, but to »gehe«:

ich gehe zu = I go to

In complete sentences:

Ich gehe zu dir.
I go to you.

Ich gehe zu einem Haus.
I go to a house.

Ich gehe zu einem Haus, das Hans gehört.
I go to a house that belongs to Hans.

Ich gehe zu Hans’ Haus.
I go to Hans's house.

  • I still have a problem with "zu Hans' Hause". You said the added -e was off limits here because Hans' is a determiner such as an article or pronoun would be. Sounds good. But then, "in meinem Hause", "zu deinem Hause", "bei dem blauen Hause" are perfectly fine phrases (although a little bit old fashioned of course). Aren't deinem, meinem, dem such determiners then? – Christian Geiselmann Sep 19 '17 at 14:19
  • @ChristianGeiselmann: I didn't say that it is wrong. I said: It doesn't mean home (or at home) but house. And for house I said, that dative-e (Hause) is outdated and not recommended. »Ich gehe zu Hans’ Hause« is possible, but you better shouldn't use it. Normally you will not find this version in texts written within the last 50 years. – Hubert Schölnast Sep 19 '17 at 19:33
  • Thank you for explaining the difference between zu Hause and nach Hause, the latter being a direction and the former not. This was very helpful, and instructive to read. – ktm5124 Sep 26 '17 at 17:01
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Ich gehe zu Hans' Haus(e).

You could add an e at the end of the word Haus, but it will be considered wrong, even though in Hitler's time it was grammatically correct. The adding of the -e was used more than a century ago and is now obsolete.

  • But people still say, "Ich gehe nach Hause", do they not? And isn't "nach Hause" considered more correct than "nach Haus"? – ktm5124 Sep 19 '17 at 3:36
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    Yes, because it is idiomatic – DerPolyglott33 Sep 19 '17 at 3:49
  • Ah, I see, but "Ich gehe zu Hans's Haus" is not as idiomatic, so it omits the antiquated -e. Verstehe ich? – ktm5124 Sep 19 '17 at 3:59
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    Nothing to do with Hitler at all - that mention is misleading. It was also correct during Friedrich des Großen time and other famous persons. – tofro Sep 19 '17 at 8:44
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    I find "zu Hans' Hause" somehow wrong. Yes, you can say "in dem Hause", "zu dem Hause", or "im Hause, zum Hause", as well as "zum Hause des Hans Müller", but "zu Hans' Hause" sounds impossible. Can't explain why, though. Could it be that for -e "dem" (or a contracted "dem" as in "zum") is required? Or am I mistaken and it is actually possible, although very rare? – Christian Geiselmann Sep 19 '17 at 9:53
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The reason is that the term "zu Hause" has a different meaning than "zu Hans' Haus". The first means "at home", whereas the second means as in your sentence 'to(wards) Hans' house' which implies the direction. As DerPolyglott wrote, this distinction was not made up until 60-70 years ago. So in older text you would find this '-e' at the end also for the second phrase.

  • And part of the distinction is lost in tour translation, because to x's house does not really refer to the building, it is more like zu x nach Hause (at least in US usage, I am not sure in general). – Carsten S Sep 19 '17 at 11:29

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