There are three sentences. Here is the first one:

  1. Laura ist in dem Haus. (Laura ist im Haus.)

Das Haus has a neuter grammatical gender, dative case is used, so it is im. That is the rule.

Here is the second sentence:

  1. Johannes ist in Berlin.

Berlin has also neuter grammatical gender. The way I understand it, proper nouns do not change the article in into im in the dative case (if they have neuter or masculine grammatical gender). That would probably be an exception to the already mentioned rule.

Here is the third sentence:

  1. Es gibt keinen Eintrag „pragerisch“ im Duden.

Duden is a proper noun. According to dict.cc it has a masculine grammatical gender. (Duden doesn't have an entry for the word Duden, but it has probably really the masculine grammatical gender). The word Duden is a proper noun, and because of it there should be in Duden.

I am thinking of three possible explanations:

i) The word Duden is an exception of the exception.

ii) Proper nouns having masculine grammatical gender do have the im preposition in dative case.

iii) The sentence 3. is wrong and there should be in Duden.

Could you please help me to figure out the situation?

Thank you.

  • 2
    It is simply wrong to assume that all proper nouns don't have an article. Rivers, for example, have articles.
    – RHa
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 20:14
  • 1
    I just yesterday read this paper, which should anwer all your questions, and even the ones you didn't yet think of. Commented May 5, 2020 at 7:42
  • The rules dealing with articles of proper nouns are not only complicated, there are even regional differences: In Standard German names of people are used without articles ("Lisa ist krank. Hast du Lukas gesehen?"). But in southern regions (Bavaria, Austria) you use articles for names of persons in colloquial speech: "Die Lisa ist krank. Hast du den Lukas gesehen?" You do it also with surnames, for example in this title of a famous novel and movie: Der Bockerer Commented May 5, 2020 at 19:50

3 Answers 3


Your three examples are exactly the same in English. Not that that explains the German, but if you are a native English speaker it may help intuitively understand it.

„Laura ist im Haus“ - Laura is in the house. You would not say 'Laura is in house'

„Johannes ist in Berlin“ - Johannes is in Berlin. You would not say 'Johannes is in the Berlin' Only for those small number of places which take an article like 'the Netherlands' which anyway takes an article in German „die Niederlande“

„Es gibt keinen Eintrag 'pragerisch' im Duden.“ - I won't translate that but it is correct to say in English 'Look that up in the Britannica' or 'You can't find that word in the Oxford' Acutally, it would be wrong to say 'You can't find that word in Oxford', it sounds maybe like you are talking about the town Oxford rather than the Oxford Dictionary

I am not sure if you can universally apply this between the languages but for those three examples it seems to hold.

  • In order to clarify and confuse at the same time, I'd like to add the phrase: "Im Berlin der 20er Jahre.....". In this phrase you do combine "im" with the name of a place/city, which alters the meaning to "Berlin in the 1920's...."
    – Mr.Bum
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 14:31

It's none of the three explanations offered, but another one: In German, books that are considered a standard reference in their field are often referred to by the author's name (or the editor's name). Thus, they are typically used with an article, for example:

  • der Beutelspacher (a Linear Algebra book by Albert Beutelspacher)
  • der Fischer (a law commentary by Thomas Fischer)
  • der Duden (a dictionary by Konrad Duden)

The following examples show how the Duden is used with different cases:

  • Der Duden steht im Regal.
  • Die Seiten des Dudens sind eingerissen.
  • Ich lerne mit dem Duden.
  • Ich habe Kaffe auf den Duden geschüttet.
  • Es gibt keinen Eintrag im Duden (= in dem Duden).

You basically gave the right answer in your first example. Just as "Laura ist im Haus" is the shorter and more usual form of "Laura ist in dem Haus", "Es steht im Duden" stands for "Es steht in dem Duden". Note that "dem" is used in Dativ for both male or neutral nouns so even with the neutral "Wörterbuch" the sentence would be the same "Es steht im Wörterbuch" and only in case of a female noun we could not use that abbreviation "Es steht nicht in der Enzyklopädie".

  • 1
    Could the downvoter give me a hint on what to improve? Did I mix something up? Am I rude without noticing it? Is there any doubt that this answer is correct?
    – hajef
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 11:44
  • 3
    No down-vote from me, but your answer seems to talk about what im means, whereas OP asked about when an article is used with proper nouns.
    – David Vogt
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 17:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.