This is a sentence from children’s book I’m working through:

Mimili läuft in den Garten.

Garten is masculine dative here. So shouldn’t it be dem? Or is Garten plural here?


The plural of Garten ist Gärten. That means Garten in this sentence is in the accusative. In is a two-way preposition; since it’s in the accusative, that indicates movement. This sentence means:

Mimili runs into the garden.

  • Ah ok. I had never heard of two-way prepositions before. Now I understand. Thanks! :)
    – user4723
    Jan 3 '14 at 0:08
  • If you're still looking for information on 2way prepositions: lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Grammatik/Praepositionen/…
    – thekeyofgb
    Jan 3 '14 at 0:15
  • 3
    Edited "walk" to "run", because the translation of "laufen" as "walk" is only true in some particular regions of Germany and simply wrong everywhere else.
    – Phira
    Jan 3 '14 at 9:43
  • 1
    @Phira Are you sure your "everywhere else" is not limited to Austria and Southern Germany? I think your edit changes the meaning too much.
    – arne.b
    Jan 3 '14 at 10:12
  • 2
    Also als ich noch im Rheinland von der Arbeit nach Hause lief anstatt den Bus zu nehmen, rannte ich in der Regel nicht. @Phira
    – alk
    Jan 3 '14 at 12:12

No. The issue is with the assumption that Garten is in the dative.

Mimili läuft in dem Garten == "Mimili is running in the garden." (and is arguably not very correct German)

Mimili läuft in den Garten == "Mimili is running into the garden." (accusative)

  • 11
    There is nothing wrong with the first sentence, even if most of the time one would contract "in dem" to "im" if one would not want to put special emphasis "dem".
    – Carsten S
    Jan 3 '14 at 0:52

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