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Example:

In 200m rechts abbiegen in die Godostraße.

In 200m rechts abbiegen auf die Godostraße.

I would argue that "in" is incorrect because streets are no liquids and cars are no submarines. For the same reason we don't say

Ich fahre in der Godostraße.

but

Ich fahre auf der Godostraße.

However, with "abbiegen" I've certainly heard people using "in" many times, so I'm wondering if this is any different from "fahren"? Maybe it also depends on region and dialect...

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    Your argument is flawed. Consider another verb: wohnen. Then in der Straße wohnen does not mean that someone lives beneath the road surface, but it is typically understood that someone lives in a builing that is located at the street. In contrast, auf der Straße wohnen means being homeless. Jan 5 at 9:30
  • @BjörnFriedrich good point! Similar for umziehen which also includes a change of location like fahren or abbiegen.
    – sebrockm
    Jan 5 at 9:42

4 Answers 4

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Beides ist richtig. Ich würde eher "in die Godostraße" sagen, Google Maps z.B. schreibt aber immer "auf die Godostraße". (DWDS hat auch mehr Belege für "in")

Was genau die Straße ist, ist ja nicht klar. Einerseits kann es sich im engeren Sinne nur auf die Fahrbahnen beziehen. Dann ist man "auf der Godostraße". Für mich gehören aber die Bürgersteige nicht zu dieser Definition von Straße. Wenn jemand

Ich bin auf der Godostraße.

sagt, ist er für mich auf der Fahrbahn und nicht auf dem Bürgersteig. Andererseits kann die Straße auch den ganzen Raum zwischen den Grundstücken bzw. sogar die Grundstücke an der Straße umfassen. Deswegen wohnt man "in" oder "an" einer Straße und zieht "in" eine Straße.

Ich bin in der Godostraße.

ist für mich daher auch ein völlig normaler Satz. Für Fernstraßen gilt das nicht, man ist niemals "in" einer Autobahn, "in" der A95, B8 oder St2063.

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auf der Straße

on the street

This is correct, when you mean the surface of the street, i.e. the asphalt, concrete, gravel or whatever the surface of the street is made of.

Das Stofftier fiel aus dem Fenster und liegt jetzt auf der Straße.
The stuffed animal fell out of the window and is now lying on the street.


in der Straße

in the street

Another meaning of street is in German but also in English the space above the surface. People are Dancing in the Street, and sometimes there are also Kids in the Street, for example Boys in the Street, but sometimes you also see a Man in the Street. Just go Out in the Street (or Out in the Streets) and watch.

This is true in German too, but in German with »in der Straße« you can also mean the buildings that stand on the side of the street:

Das Geschäft liegt in der Straße, die vom Hauptplatz zum Bahnhofsplatz führt.
The store is located in the street that leads from the main square to the station square.

(I'm not sure, if "in the street" is correct English, I'm not an English native speaker, but I know for sure, that »in der Straße« is best German in such a context.)

In der Straße der Schwalben (book)
Mord in der Straße des 29. November (book)
Das unheimliche Haus in der Straße (book)
Menschen in der Straße (painting)


movements related to streets

In German you distinguish two kinds of movements: Movements inside a certain area and movements towards a target. This is important to decide the correct grammatical case for Wechselpräpositionen, but here it's also important to decide the correct preposition:

  • Movements, where you don't enter or leave the street:

    Walter fuhr mit seinem Lastwagen auf der alten Schotterstraße.
    Walter drove his truck on the old gravel road.

    You take auf here, because you are talking about the material of the surface of the street.

    Walter fuhr mit seinem Lastwagen durch die Hauptstraße.
    Walter drove his truck through the main street.

    You use »durch« when you talk about the space above the surface.

  • Movements that start somewhere else and end in a specific street

    Sabine bog in die Schillerstraße ab.
    Sabine turned into Schillerstraße.

    Before the turn begun, Sabine was on another street (not on Schillerstraße), but after the turn she was in this street. And because we didn't talk about the surface, but about the space above the surface, we use »in«.

    Sabine bog auf die alte Schotterstraße ab.
    Sabine turned off onto the old gravel road.

    Here we talk about the surface, so, »auf« is the best choice.


In your case, we are talking about a movement from somewhere else to a specific target, and we are not talking about properties of the surface, so the correct preposition is »in« (and the correct grammatical case is accusative case).

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In your example, I would use "auf", to avoid word repetition of "in". However, I would instead say: "Nach 200m in die Godostraße abbiegen".

For my language feeling, "auf die Straße abbiegen" somehow suggests that the street I'm joing in, is something larger, like a highway. For instance, with "Autobahn" I would always say "auf". For a "Schnellstraße", I think "in" and "auf" both work well. If I'm going FROM a large street TO a secculded small street, "in" sounds better.

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They are both fine and synonymous. I just tried different navigation systems (OsmAnd, Google Maps, Bing Maps, the navigation options on openstreetmap.org) and they all seem to say "auf", so at least in the context of navigation system announcements, "auf" seems to be common usage.

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