In case of "WO", when do we use "bei + dativ" and/or "in + dativ"? What is the difference?

  • 1
    See also german.stackexchange.com/questions/17671/…
    – Robert
    Oct 25, 2017 at 16:14
  • Think about the meanings -> "bei" means "by" and "in" is "in/at". As such, you would use "bei" when you want to say you are by someone or even by a place. However, if you are in/at a place you would use the word "in". It wouldn't make sense to say you are "in" a person. Oct 27, 2017 at 23:50

3 Answers 3



"Wo bist du?"

"Where are you?"


"Ich bin bei Peter." (I'm at Peter's (place)).

Case used for persons/people mostly.

"Ich bin in der Bar." (I'm in/at the bar).

Case mostly used for places.

That should pretty much sum up what you are asking, I guess.

  • 1
    In Köln, bei Aldi, in der Schule, beim Saubermachen...
    – Robert
    Oct 25, 2017 at 14:51

in + Dativ

(note, that »in + dem« becomes »im«)
»In« is used, if something is located ...

  • inside a building

    Ich bin im Haus. (= Ich bin in dem Haus.)
    I'm in the house.

    Lisa ist in der Schule.
    Lisa is in school.

  • in a country or continent

    Ernst ist gerade in Japan.
    Ernst is currently in Japan.

    Kenya liegt in Afrika.
    Kenya is located in Africa.

  • in a region

    Ich mache Urlaub in den Alpen.
    I'm on holiday in the Alps.

    Karl lebt in der Stadt.
    Karl lives in the city.

  • in a street, alley, ...

    Ich bin jetzt in der Grillparzerstraße.
    I am now in Grillparzerstrasse.

    Erika wohnt in der Maigasse.
    Erika lives in Maigasse.

bei + Dativ

(note, that »bei + dem« becomes »beim«)
»In« is used, if ...

  • a location is located near a city

    Monika arbeitet in Baden bei Wien.
    Monika works in Baden near Vienna.

    Helmut kauft Tickets für den Freizeitpark bei Leipzig.
    Helmut buys tickets for the Freizeitpark near Leipzig.

  • something is located near something else

    Ich meine die Bank bei den drei Eichen.
    I mean the bench at the three oaks.

    Kochlöffel finden Sie bei den Haushaltswaren.
    Cooking spoons can be found in the household goods.

  • someone is located near another person

    Eugen ist gerade beim Chef. (= Eugen ist gerade bei dem Chef.)
    Eugen is currently at the boss.

    Ich war gestern bei Christa.
    I visited Christa yesterday.

  • someone works at a company

    Lukas arbeitet bei der Post.
    Lukas works at the post office.

    Maria arbeitet bei einer Bank.
    Maria works at a Bank.


"In" refers to being inside "places." Ich bin im Restaurant. I am in the Restaurant.

"Bei" refers to being part of, or a member of, an institution or a group. A better translation than "in" is "with." Ich bin bei der Uni. I am with the University (e.g. as a professor). On the other hand,"Ich bin in der Uni" would mean, I am inside the University (building).

A tricky phrase is "Ich bin bei Tom." In German, that means, "I am with Tom" (probably at Tom's house.)

But an English speaker might say, "I am at/in Tom's" (house).

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