Warum da "in der" und dort "am"? Würde mich freuen über eine Erklärung.

  • 6
    @πάνταῥεῖ Warum dann nicht an der Nacht und im Tag?
    – Olafant
    May 8, 2020 at 19:52
  • 2
    Note that Nacht seems to be the exception here: Am Morgen, am Mittag, am Abend May 8, 2020 at 20:25
  • 2
    Morgen, Mittag, Abend are associated with points in time; Nacht is more the concept of a time range. For example 'Am Wochenende', but 'In der Woche', and 'In den Ferien'.
    – Aganju
    May 8, 2020 at 22:54
  • 1
    @Olafant genau, das ist meine Frage. Warum die unterschiedlichen Präpositionen.
    May 9, 2020 at 6:52
  • 2
    Mit dem Versuch, eine solche Frage zu beantworten, könnte man viele Seiten füllen, ohne einer definitiven Antwort näher zu kommen und ohne dass es irgendeinen praktischen Wert hat.
    – RHa
    May 9, 2020 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


TL/DR: it's arbitrary. Some parts of the paradigma may have reasonable systematicity, but that can be accidental or folk etymology.

Expressions for points in time pretty universally use locative expressions, because location is used so often as metaphor for time.

Which specific kind of locality is applied for each individual expression will depend originally on how the expression is constructed mentally (e.g., as a point or an interval, as mentioned in the comments). But many can be constructed in multiple ways, so what remains in use is only what got conventionalized in the end.

For example, standard German uses in der Nacht, and you could say that's because "night" is an interval. In Austrian, there's also the expression auf d'Nacht "in the evening" consistent with this. But then, why is is am Tag, and not im Tag? In den Ferien but am Wochenende? One of them just won. Even more curious is unter (unterm Tag, unter der Woche for "during").

This problem is shared by many languages that have different locality notions. Cf. on the weekend, in December, on Monday, at night. Or Finnish yö-llä/päivä-llä "on night/day", maanantai-na "in Monday" (now that can be literally "as Monday", but the -na case is a historic locative preserved in this construction), joulukuu-ssa "in December".

Note: I am trying to answer the why here. How it works, i.e., what synchronic systematicity exists, is a different question, and I'd welcome input from people with more Germanistic or DAF knowledge.

  • 3
    Warum Englisch? Lol
    May 9, 2020 at 10:13
  • Ups. Tut mir leid, das war ganz automatisch und ist mir echt nicht aufgefallen. May 9, 2020 at 14:10

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