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When I want to translate "I go to the train station", which of the following prepositions can be used? Why, in which contexts?

  1. Ich gehe zu dem Bahnhof. / Ich gehe zum Bahnhof. (zu + Dativ)
  2. Ich gehe in den Bahnhof. (in + Akkusativ)
  3. Ich gehe an den Bahnhof. (an + Akkusativ)
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  • 5
    all of them are correct, depending on what you want to say...
    – Tode
    Apr 15, 2020 at 10:58
  • @TorstenLink Could you please provide a context for 3)?
    – Nico
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:07
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    "Gehst Du zur Bushaltestelle in der Stadtmitte oder zu der am Bahnhof?" - "Ich gehe an den Bahnhof"
    – Tode
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:10
  • @TorstenLink that is exactly my question: in which contexts would I use 1, 2 or 3 when I want to translate the English sentence "I go to the train station."? Could you explain this to me in English?
    – malfroid
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:17
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    No, I won't, as this is a simple matter of a dictionary... You can look up the translations for "in", "an" and "zu" yourself... and If you don't understand why you can go TO the trainstation and INSIDE the trainstation then we can't help you here as well...
    – Tode
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:22

1 Answer 1

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You're going to the station:

"Ich gehe zum Bahnhof". "Zu dem" is concatenated to "zum".

There are several stations and you mean a specific one:

"Ich gehe zu dem/diesem Bahnhof", poiting at it e.g. on a map.

You're entering the building:

"Ich gehe in den Bahnhof/in das Bahnhofsgebäude".

You're going for instance to meet somebody in front of the station:

"Ich gehe an den Bahnhof" or "Ich gehe zum Bahnhof".

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  • I had my problems with this too when I learned German. I never hear "Ich gehe mal schnell an den Bahnhof", but "Ich gehe zum Bahnhof". For me "an" would rather mean to go near that building but not into it. Like physically go to the building for a photo: "Geh näher an den Bahnhof heran!". You also wouldn't "an den Bäcker gehen", but "zum Bäcker gehen". "An die Nerven gehen!" - yes :) But only the surgeon would "mit der Pinzette zu den Nerven gehen". Feb 15, 2023 at 13:59

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