This question also has an answer here (in German):

My german is bit better now but recently one of my colleagues corrected me saying "Du sagst nicht immer in der richtung, manchmal passt in die richtung auch".

I remember that in is always dative.

The challenge was that he could not explain me the cases in English. Could someone here explain me with an example?

  • 3
    The main difference is between a specification of a direction (accusative) and a location (dative); your question complicates things, because you use the translation of direction itself, but the dative (in der Richtung) implies a location as in Post und Bank liegen in der (gleichen) Richtung (Mail office and bank are sited in the same direction). – guidot Oct 19 '18 at 14:30
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    @guidot English and German questions are not considered duplicates of each other (see german.meta.stackexchange.com/q/807/25241). – Björn Friedrich Oct 19 '18 at 16:11

In dieser/der Richtung liegt der See. Dativ (wo). This describes a location.

In diese/die Richtung müssen Sie fahren, um zum See zu gelangen. Akkusativ (wohin). This describes a direction.

Richtung is most often used to describe directions(that is what it means, after all), but the first example shows a locational use. Directions require the Akkusativ normally, while locations require Dativ.

  • Vielen dank. Ich habe jetzt völlig verstanden. – Rishik Mani Oct 22 '18 at 11:11

You have to know your verbs.

  • The verb you use has a need for either a direction or a location.

Es geht in die richtige Richtung.

The verb gehen needs a direction where to go to. If you use the preposition in, that one has to take the accusative, because it's one of the nine dual-way prepositions: an, auf, hinter, neben, in, über, unter, vor, zwischen.

Note this Richtung → accusative rule does only apply to those nine prepositions. The preposition zu for example always takes the dative and though, it means a direction:

Wir gehen zum Essen.

The verb liegen in contrary needs a place where something lies at.

Es liegt in der Richtung. (points somewhere)

Though you are giving directions (by using the literal word Richtung), you used the verb liegen, and that means your dual-way preposition in has to take the dative.

  • Choice of accusative or dative is in most cases not driven by the verb. ("Ich gehe im Park"/"Ich gehe in den Park") – tofro Oct 20 '18 at 7:58
  • We could open a can of worms here. Prepositional object (which needs a direction) vs. adverbial of place. – Janka Oct 20 '18 at 12:11

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