I'm working through the Pimsleur German Course. The announcer explains the 'ins' construction as a contracted form of 'in' + 'das'. During a lesson, the announcer introduces the phrase 'to a concert,' and he translates it into German as 'ins Konzert'. For example, a sentence like 'But I prefer to go to a concert' is translated as 'Aber ich gehe lieber ins Konzert'. The source sentence contains an indefinite article, but the resulting one contains a definite article. This situation confuses me. Is this translation correct? Can you help me clarify my confusion?

I guessed that it could be a mistake, but there are several different sentences throughout the lesson that are translated in the same way.

The full sentence:

I like to go to the movies, but I prefer to go to a concert.

The suggested translation is:

Ich gehe gerne ins Kino, aber ich gehe lieber ins Konzert.

Another one:

You may invite me to a concert.

And the translation:

Du darfst mich ins Konzert einladen.

2 Answers 2


In this usage, "ins Konzert" refers more the the category of concerts than to any specific single one. In a comment to another answer you used the phrase "going to the movies". This phrase works a bit similarly, it uses a definite article, but doesn't refer to a specific single movie. To mangle the English language a bit, you could translate "ins Konzert gehen" in this usage to "going to the concerts". Of course, a correct translation would be "going to a concert".

Phrases like this are quite common in German. You can for example say "ins Kino gehen" without referring to any specific movie theater.


In German it is quite idiomatic to use a definite article even if it does not refer to a certain thing, in this case to a certain concert. The meaning of the sentence could be expanded to

Aber ich gehe lieber ins Konzert, wenn es eines gibt.

In this case, an indefinite article would not make sense. Then, it translates to:

But I prefer to go to the concert, if there is one.

Whether this expansion can be thought of depends much on the context. Without that context, it should be as in the original English sentence:

Aber ich gehe lieber in ein Konzert.

So, it is not exactly a mistake, but due to lack of context either in your question or in the course we cannot know if the usage is idomatic.

  • The full sentence sounds like this: "I like to go to the movies, but I prefer to go to a concert." Is this an example of idiomatic usage? The translations in this course are from English to German, so in all the examples, the original sentence contains exactly an indefinite article, unlike in your example. Commented Mar 21 at 8:53
  • I've included several full examples, so you have additional context. Commented Mar 21 at 9:02

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.