auf die/der Straße gehen


New Member

Normally, the preposition that can take both accusative and dative don't confuse me. I know that you have to say, ''ich gehe morgen in die Schule'' and ''ich bin jetzt in der Schule'' for instance. General rules, movement = acc (ask the question wohin?), no movement = dat (question wo?). I also know that you can look at it from a 'zielgerichtet' and 'nicht zielgerichtet' point of view.

The problem is, when I was in uni earlier. My teacher said that it is possible to say 'ich gehe auf die Straße' and also 'ich gehe auf der Straße', but the meaning is different. I'm actually at uni in Leipzig on my Erasmus year abroad and my teacher is obvioulsy German, so she explained to the class the difference. I still, however, can't see what the difference is. For me, if you 'go' somewhere, there is movement so why and how can the dative be used??? I thought I understood it at the time but now I'm not so sure.

Can anyone explain the rule behind this? Why it happens? And maybe any other examples where the change in case means something different in German but probably would be translated as the same thing in English. As I said, I never normally have problems but in this case, I just can't see how there can't be movement involved when you're using the verb 'gehen'.

Sie koennen auch auf Deutsch beantworten, wenn es einfacher fuer Sie auf Deutsch zu erklaeren ist.

Vielen Dank!
  • suiker

    Auf der Strasse gehen -> wo; Du benutzt die Strasse zum gehen (und nicht z.B. den Bürgersteig)
    Auf die Strasse gehen -> wohin; man ist z.B. auf dem Bürgersteig und geht auf die Strasse, also vom Bürgersteig "zur" (auf die) Strasse (weil z.B. ein Hindernis auf dem Bürgerstreig den Weg versperrt).

    (Sie können auch auf Deutsch antworten, ...
    Vorschlag: wenn Ihnen das leichter fällt / wenn das für Sie einfacher ist.)
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Ich gehe auf der Straße means I am walking on the street. In this case I am already on the street. The sentence doesn't say anything about the the destination I'm heading to. So grammatically, the movement implied by "gehen" doesn't play a role here. You can replace it by any other verb, e.g.:
    Ich sitze/liege/esse auf der Straße. (I'm doing something on the street)

    Ich gehe auf die Straße means that I wasn't on the street few moments ago but I'm now stepping on it. Here, the street is the destination of a movement.


    Senior Member
    When you're using prepositions like in or auf with the accusitive, it's generally closer to "into"/"onto" respectively in English, rather than "in/on".

    That would mean:
    "Ich gehe auf der Straße." = I walk on the street.
    "Ich gehe auf die Straße." = I walk onto the street.


    Senior Member
    In many cases the same difference between the dative and accusative form exists.

    Dativ wo (where, at what place)
    Ich gehe/fahre/reite/spaziere/wandere auf der Straße/dem Weg/im Wald/in der Stadt

    Akkussativ: wohin (where to, to what place, direction)
    Ich gehe/fahre/reite/spaziere/wandere auf die Straße/den Weg/in den Wald/in die Stadt