Mit seiner provokanten PR-Aktion zur Eröffnung wollte er Punkte bei linken Aktivisten sammeln.

What is the meaning of the preposition bei in the sentence above?

4 Answers 4


It's based on the idea/metaphor of bookkeeping. X gives Y points for good behavior. And vice versa, Y tries to increase the number of points in X's book by behaving in a way X approves of.

So, in your example

linke Aktivisten

are X


is Y


The bei in your example is not an exception, but the rule for a loose relation to a person:

  • bei jemandem beliebt sein
  • bei jemandem Schulden haben
  • bei jemandem in der Kreide stehen
  • Du hast einen Gefallen bei mir gut.

A closer relation to that person would more likely be phrased directly i.e. without preposition:

  • jemanden lieben/hassen/verachten
  • 1
    Good examples! Interestingly, German indicates this relation via a locative preposition, whereas English does so by a comitative one ("with").
    – Nico
    Jan 31, 2020 at 13:33

The expression you're looking for is

bei jemandem Punkte sammeln or Punkte bei jemandem sammeln

which is similar to

bei jemandem punkten

This is translated as

to score points with someone

So he tried to get on the good side of left activists.

  • I'm curious why somebody disagrees with this answer. Feb 2, 2020 at 15:09

If the answer to the question "Wo?" is a person or a group than you use "bei".[1] Simply learn this as a rule.

e.g. Ich sitze bei meinem Vater. Peter ist bei seinen Eltern. Wir befinden uns bei der Oma.

to be at/with somebody or, as in the question, to gain something at (in English it would be "from") somebody.

Not the most scientifical explanation, but it will do for practical purposes.

[1] This means: static Verb + persons ---> bei. (Dynamic, moving Verbs need "zu" for persons and answer the question "Wohin?") Exception: Ich bin zuhause. Ich gehe nach Hause.

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