Das Gleis - ohne Artikel?


In my native language, we don’t use articles and it is complicated for me to learn when I should use them. My question is about this sentence:

Der Zug steht auf Gleis 8.

Why are we not using an article here? Why shouldn’t it be “auf dem Gleis 8”? It is a specific particular track with a specific number at the railway station.

I searched for this sentence example at en.pons.com -> Gleis and just found that it is the same in English: “The train is standing at platform 8”. I don’t know why there is no article in English as well…

I understand that articles are used for objects but not for concepts. I’ve already asked a question about it: Vater with or without article. I understand why there are no articles in the sentences like “Mensch und Affe sind ähnlich.”, “Banane und Apfel schmecken unterschiedlich.” But I don’t understand why there is no article in “auf Gleis”.

Do you know explanation for it? Could you provide other examples like this one?

Thank you,


@rybalkin Thanks for your good question!
I have to research a bit and will answer your question asap!

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Just taking a wild guess , but I think it may be because “Gleis 8” is used as a proper noun (i.e. a “name”). If there was no “8”, it would be “Der Zug steht auf dem Gleis.” (if you wanted to describe what the train is up to in more general terms). But as I said – just a guess.


@rybalkin After a lot of research, I didn’t find any reason for it.
E.g, Duden just mentions this sentence as correct, without any explanation.

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Ich würde auch Vermuten, das “Gleis 8” als Namen, bzw. Bezeichnung gemeint ist.
Und die Aktion,…“der Zug fährt von Gleis 8”.


Another examples like “Der Zug fährt von Gleis 8 ab.” is “Ich wohne in Haus Nr. 9.” (= I live in house no. 9).
Here, we also don’t use an article.

Thank you for the answers! As I found the same in English with “at platform 8”, I decided to do research of why there is no article in English and finally asked No article for noun + number? at English Language Learners Stack Exchange. Answers there made it clear.

Definite article is just a one type of Determiner. In my case, numbers determine the noun. This is why another determiner, which is the definite article in my question, is not needed. Then I found the concept of Determiners (der Begleiter) explained for German in English and German.

In English, it the same not only for numbers but other identifiers:

  • weeks 31 and 32
  • columns A and B
  • team members Alice and Bob
  • operations Charlie and Delta

Probably, it is the same in German.

PS: It has been an issue for me in English too. Now I know the rules :slight_smile:


That’s great, thanks for your efforts @rybalkin

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