I thought it should be "die Natur" as Natur is the direct object? I am a beginner so check the sentence with translation apps and they say it should be "der Natur", but I'm not sure why it would be "der"?

Thank you for your help

  • 2
    Natur cannot be the direct object because it is preceded by a preposition. – RHa Oct 5 '20 at 19:06
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    You shouldn't think in terms of direct and indirect object. There's nothing like that in German. – Olafant Oct 6 '20 at 5:26
  • @Olafant every resource I am using refers to the indirect, direct object and the subject of a sentence in German – Alice Dent Oct 6 '20 at 16:07
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    @AliceDent That analogy tends to work for a while for beginners. But as soon as sentences become sufficiently complex, it tends to do more harm than good to understanding. Use direct and indirect object for starters, but be aware you are oversimplifying things. You should accomodate to the concept of dative, genitive and accusative (sometimes even nominative) objects. – tofro Oct 6 '20 at 16:59

"in" is a preposition, which actually rules either the accusative (expressing a direction towards or into something), or the dative (expressing movement within a certain area, like the English "in").

In your example, "Natur" can either be accusative or dative, depending what you want to say:

Wir gehen in die Natur spazieren (acc) - We move from somewhere outside into nature.

Wir gehen in der Natur spazieren (dat) - we move about within nature.

  • thank you! This is really helpful – Alice Dent Oct 6 '20 at 16:06

You can actually say both, but with different meanings.


Wir können auch in die Natur spazieren gehen.

means that you can walk into nature, while at the point of offering to do so, not being in nature.


Wir können auch in der Natur spazieren gehen.

How this sentence doesn't say, at the point of offering to do so, if you're already there (in nature) or not.

  • In the example, Natur is actually accusative. – tofro Oct 5 '20 at 20:00
  • Yes you're correct. I updated my answer to hopefully make it more understandable and correct – Tonitiger Oct 5 '20 at 20:19
  • thank you tonitiger! – Alice Dent Oct 6 '20 at 16:08
  • @AliceDent if one of those answers helped you, don't forget to mark the one that helped you the most as accepted :) – Tonitiger Oct 7 '20 at 8:59
  • thank you! I wasn't sure how to do that but found it now, wish I could accept both though, thank you for your help – Alice Dent Oct 7 '20 at 17:55

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