I was doing my Duolingo course, and I met the following sentence

Du läufst ins Haus

Now this sentence is confusing me. This should be the same as

Du läufst in das Haus

But in that case, wouldnt that mean that Haus is written in nominative form? That does not seem to make any sense.

Even worse is the translation offered:

You walk home

This is a sentence I would have written as

Du läufst nach Hause

Can someone please explain me this sentence?

2 Answers 2


No, in das Haus is accusative, but you will see no difference for neuter nouns.

Nach Hause is a fixed phrase, and no longer directly coupled to Haus. So your translation is also fine.

  • 1
    The -e suffix in nach Hause is an old dative -e which became almost extinct in German, but this phrase preserved it.
    – RHa
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 9:55
  • I did not know that "lauf in" used accusative! Thanks! Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 10:08
  • 1
    @EnriqueMorenoTent: This is not restricted to laufen but shared among all specifications of a target.
    – guidot
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 10:16
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    @EnriqueMorenoTent you should not generalise in this case: one could also say Ich laufe in dem Haus - which would use laufen in + Dativ and means something like I run/walk inside the house
    – Arsak
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 11:14
  • Crap... Now that is difficult to differentiate now... Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 11:21

Both the phrases

Du läufst nach Hause


Du läufst ins Haus (= Du läufst in das Haus)

are grammatically correct, but their meaning differs.

The first one means literally "you run home", but it may also mean "you walk home (instead of using the car or the bus)".

The second phrase means "you run into the house (e.g., because you were sitting in the garden and suddenly noticed smoke from the kitchen window)".

  • 1
    We had a discussion here about the meaning of laufen some weeks ago. It's basically in Austria where laufen means to run; in most other regions, laufen means to walk or to go. So I would translate the second sentence as "you go into the house". Apart of that I agree with your explanation. Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 9:57
  • What about the case? "in das Haus" is nominative, but it looks to me as if it should be dative Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 9:58
  • @scienceponder I'm from Northrhine-Westphalia. For me, "laufen" either means (1) "run (as opposed to walking slowly)" or (2) "walk (as opposed to driving or using other means of transportation)." But in the second sentence, meaning (2) doesn't make sense (most people can't drive into their living room), so (1) is the only possible interpretation. Typically, I'd say "ich gehe ins Haus"; "laufen" really stresses the speed in this context.
    – Uwe
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 10:26
  • @EnriqueMorenoTent "Das Haus" is accusative here. "In" can be used either with dative to denote a location, or with accusative to denote a direction.
    – Uwe
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 10:28
  • @uwe Acknowledged. The point, that it only means "walk" when it obviously opposes driving would have been interesting in the other discussion we had some weeks before. Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 10:58

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