German Grammar: Lokale Präpositionen
Prepositions of Place

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German Grammar: Lokale Präpositionen
Prepositions of Place

The German preposition in can be used to indicate two different things in English:
1. "TO": I go to the pharmacy. → Ich gehe in die Apotheke.
2. "IN": I'm in the pharmacy. → Ich bin in der Apotheke.
Why does Apotheke become masculine in the second example? In der Apotheke.
It's not masculine. die changes to der because of the locative preposition in.
Woah not so fast... what are locative prepositions?
Locative prepositions or more commonly called "Prepositions of Place" (on, behind, in, beside, over, etc.) give information about the place. That means, they are the answer to the questions:
where? → wo?
where to? → wohin?
Gotcha!
As I was saying, prepositions of place are a bit tricky in German.
German is so difficult...
Hey, don't worry, it's not impossible. It is important for Germans to define whether something is in a place "statically" or is moving towards that place. That distinction you can see in the article. Take a look:
Masculine:
Wo bist du? (Where are you?)Wohin gehst du? (Where are you going?)
Ich bin in dem Supermarkt. (in + dem = im)Ich gehe in den Supermarkt.
Feminine:
Wo bist du?Wohin gehst du?
Ich bin in der Apotheke.Ich gehe in die Apotheke.
Neuter:
Wo bist du?Wohin gehst du?
Ich bin in dem Museum. (in + dem = im)Ich gehe in das Museum. (in + das = ins)
Plural:
Wo bist du?Wohin gehst du?
Ich bin in den Ferien.Ich gehe in die Ferien.
And the same thing happens with all other prepositions of place in German, not just to in.
into, in
aufon
überabove
unterbelow
nebennext to
zwischen(in) between
vorin front of
hinterbehind
Okay, let me check if I understood this right. In German, I can tell by the article if something is already in/on/at/... somewhere or is going to be somewhere?
Genau!
Grammar fun-facts: 1. We call these changes in the articles "cases". The first basic case is "nominative": der, die, das, die.
2. The "accusative case" den, die, das, die is used after local prepositions if it is the answer to the question WOHIN? (English: where to?)
3. Then, the "dative case" dem, der, dem, den is needed after local prepositions, but in case it's the answer to the question WO? (English: where?)