The German preposition “in”

The preposition “in”

Ich bin in die Schule. (not right)

> Ich bin in der Schule. (right)

 

Although "die Schule" is of feminine gender, the right sentence is "Ich bin der Schule" because we apply the dative case.

As you noticed the preposition "in" can ask for a specific case. In the above situation it asks for dative case, because "in der Schule" answers the question "wo?" (where?)

 

> Ich gehe in die Schule. (right)

In this situation "in die Schule" answers the question "wohin?" (where to?) wich places the sentence in accusative case.

Other examples:

> Ich befinde mich in dem Garten. (right) – answers the question "where?" → dative case is applied

> Ich gehe in den Garten. (right) – answers the question "where to?" accusative case isapplied 

der Garten - is of masculine gender, but in accusative case "der" becomes "den" while in dative case "der" becomes "dem".

 

> Ich befinde mich in der Schule. (right) – answers the question "where"→ dative case is applied

> Ich gehe in die Schule. (right) – answers the question "where to"  accusative case is applied 

die Schule - is of feminine gender, but when placed in dative case "die" becomes "der". In accusative case the article "die" doesn't change.

> Ich sitze in dem Auto. (right) – answers the question "where?" → dative case is applied 

> Ich steige in das Auto. (right) – answers the question "where to"  accusative case is applied 

das Auto - is of neuter gender, in dative case "das" becomes "dem" while in accusative "das" doesn't change

Shortly you can learn the following two tables:

Definite article preceded by the preposition “in” (Dative case)

der

dative (where?) →

dem

die

dative (where?) →

der

das

dative (where?) →

dem

 

Definite article preceded by the preposition “in” (Accusative case)

der

accusative (where to?)

den

die

accusative (where to?)

die

das

accusative (where to?)

das

 

 

The same applies for the indefinite case and the denied indefinite case

Definite article preceded by the preposition “in” (Dative case)

ein

dative (where?) →

einem

eine

dative (where?) →

einer

ein

dative (where?) →

einem

Definite article preceded by the preposition “in” (Accusative case)

ein

accusative (incotro?)

einen

eine

accusative (incotro?)

eine

ein

accusative (incotro?)

ein

For more details consult the following lessons: The definite article, The indefinite article and The preposition.