Why does 'neben' take accusative case in this sentence?

Das Sofa gehört neben den Tisch.

That is translated as:

The sofa belongs next to the table.

Is there any sense of movement or direction in this sentence?

2 Answers 2


Contrary to common belief, it's not about movement vs no movement, but about direction vs location.

Often, the verb commands what is needed. Here, it's an ellipsis.

Das Sofa gehört neben den Tisch (gestellt).

The verb stellen needs a direction. If you wonder about that wacky auxiliary gehören, it's a coupler and the whole part neben den Tisch gestellt is a predicative. It's where the sofa belongs, not where it is.

Solch komplizierte Sachen gehören verboten.

Der Erfinder der deutschen Grammatik gehört eingesperrt.

  • I do not see the moral impetus of your "gehört verboten" in "gehört neben den Tisch". Claiming that the latter is an ellipsis seems dubious to me.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 29, 2020 at 9:52
  • How about Dieser Auflauf gehört jetzt gegessen, morgen ist er hin. then? No moral impetus. This gehören+Partizip II construction in place of werden+Partizip II in place of a command is quite common.
    – Janka
    Jan 29, 2020 at 14:14
  • The construction may be common in your region, it is not in mine. Indeed, I would claim that "gehört + Ortsangabe (Akk)" is familiar to every native speaker while "gehören+Partizip II" sounds unfamiliar to many.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 29, 2020 at 15:18
  • What about bleiben then?
    – Janka
    Jan 29, 2020 at 15:29
  • There seems to be no sense of direction in my sentence either.
    – Sasan
    Jan 29, 2020 at 19:40

If you say X gehört neben/auf/nach Y this usually implies that X is not at the place it belongs to.

So the sentence is asking for a change of location. Which explains why the preposition is followed by accusative, not dative.

  • 2
    I don't agree with the usually implies part. I recognize, that x gehört nach y expresses an expectation of the speaker (or a judgement concerning the appropriate place see, DWDS, Bedeutung 3), but I don't see it indicating, whether the expectation currently holds or not. In Ein Hammer gehört in jedes Haus I see no movement implied either. Isn't it sufficient to state, that the question would be phrased Das Sofa gehört wohin?
    – guidot
    Jan 29, 2020 at 11:24

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