in der Stadt herumfahren (dative)

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Gerry0, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Gerry0 New Member

    english and French
    Dear all, I am stumped by the following sentence: " wir sind in der Stadtmitte herumgefahren". Why is the Dative case used here? I thought that due the action and movement of the sentence the accusative should been applied, no?
    Many thanks for your help.
  2. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    They weren't driving to the city center. They were driving around inside the city center, so it wasn't a destination.
  3. ablativ Senior Member

    The accusative has to be used when you change your location. But you are not driving from outside the town into the town, nor are you going away from your location (the middle of the town). You must regard the "Stattmitte" as a whole, in which you are moving (that's true), but you are not moving away from this location. I hope I could make myself understood.

    Edit: crossed with exgerman
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  4. Gerry0 New Member

    english and French
    Thank you for your answers, I think I understand, may I ask one last question: if I chose a "location" which was bigger, like the world, would it still work, " I travelled around the world"?
    Thank you for your help.
  5. ablativ Senior Member

    Yes, even in that case you would have to use the dative. "ich bin in der ​(dative) Welt herumgereist." It all depends on the verb "herumreisen". If you said: "Ich bin in die Welt gereist", the grammatical situation would be different (accus.).
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  6. Gerry0 New Member

    english and French
    wonderful, I've got it now! Vielen dank!
  7. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US English
    Since you're a native speaker of "english":

    We have the same distinction in English, involving "in" and "into":

    "I drove into the city." (German would use the accusative.)
    "(When we were in Europe, my wife drove in the country and...) I drove in the city." (German would use the dative.)

    In both English and German we make this distinction in spite of the fact that both types of sentence involve "motion". (See the posts of ex-G and ab.)

    This correspondence between German and English works even in cases where the "dative" case isn't quite so clear:

    "Sie sind in die Stadt gekommen." ... "They came into the city."
    "Sie sind in der Stadt angekommen." ... "They arrived in (into:cross::cross:) the city."

    (Colloquially, we sometimes replace "into" with "in", so the question is not always where "into" must be used, but where it can be used.)

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