"A high tree is standing at the lake."
Translation:Ein hoher Baum steht am See.
Thanks for the confirmation. Can you give some examples with "an" and "bei" (if any) in the sense of "located near"?
Hmm, in the case of seas, lakes and rivers it's virtually always 'an'. At the moment, I can't think of a counter example: 'Am Gardasee, Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt an der Oder, Wir machen Urlaub am Mittelmeer. Das Haus steht am Fluss. Wir grillen am Meer'. In the case of neighbouring cities we virtually always (again, I'm not aware of any counter example) use 'bei': "Bernau bei Berlin". Let me think a bit... EDIT: Couldn't find any counter examples. So, 'use "an" if water is involved' might be a good rule of thumb. For cities you can safely default to 'bei' and for buildings usually both are possible. For people use 'bei'. BTW: do you know of http://tatoeba.org/eng ? You usually can find a fair amount of sample sentences there.
Thanks so much for that website. I'm often looking for examples to see if I can figure out the subtle differences between words.
That's probably hard job to do with prepositions, I convinced myself long ago that they just don't make sense. I might be wrong.
Never ever heard "beim See", "beim Meer" and similar... I live in Frankfurt am Main, so I never forget that preposition... but it's the only one I don't forget...
Let's see if some native can help us with the reason why "am See" is more common, if not the only option. :)
When I read this sentence I instantly imagine a tree near a lake. The next task is to say that in English or in German :-) I don't see much difference between English "at" and "by" in this case (in fact, I'd prefer "near") and I have not yet figured out all the subtleties of "an" and "bei" in German.
I tend to think at life depending from water, hanging at rivers and seas and oceans...
If you consider water as a source of life, maybe it's easier to think it as "an"... Everything that is next to water, is hanging at it, like "ein Bild hängt an der Wand".
I must be crazy, I have weird ways to remember things. :D
My most effective way to remember is collecting examples. After I learn enough examples with a preposition, I kind of "grok" it and don't need any more tricks to remember. This takes time, though, and I am still on my way to understanding German prepositions well :-)