I knew the meaning of this sentence that we should place the napkin in our laps, but I want to know why there is auf preposition in this sentence. Besides previously, I have checked dictionaries, and I didn’t find any specific preposition for gehören.

Beim Essen gehört die Serviette auf den Schoß und nicht in den Hemdkragen.

  • 1
    "I didn’t find any specific preposition" There isn't a specific preposition, one can use gehören with auf, in, über, unter, etc. May 17 '20 at 15:23
  • 3
    "gehören" (in this context) expresses that something ought tp be in a certain position. This position could be described by any spatial preposition; and of course, it is also possible to describe a desired status that is not even a spatial relation (Der Hosenstall gehört geschlossen, die Hände gehören gewaschen, ...) May 17 '20 at 16:53
  • @HagenvonEitzen that's helpful, thank you.
    – Toobatf
    May 18 '20 at 13:30

The English say in the lap, the Germans say on top of the lap. It's as simple as that. Not all prepositions translate 1:1.

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