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"Ich habe eine Schreibaufgabe in die/der Testprüfung"?

Hi, simple question:

I'm told by natives that using der in "Ich habe eine Schreibaufgabe in der Testprüfung" is correct, and that "der Testprüfung" is akkusative.

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/German/Grammar/Prepositions_and_Postpositions and my experience however, tells me that "in" is a 2-way preposition and that the case of the following noun depends on whether the preceding verb is transitive (akk, you can have something) or intransitive (dat, you cannot snore something). In this case, "have" is transitive, hence "in" should lead to akk, i.e. "die".

That "der Testprüfung" would be akkusative despite the use of "der" I just find baffling.

Any ideas how to think about this?

September 6, 2017



The "der" is dative. As you say, "in" is a 2-way preposition but the case it takes is more to do with the action involved. For example, if I say I am in the room - a relatively static position - "in" would take dative. If I say I am going to (into) the cinema I would use accusative "ins Kino" because there is movement involved. Gets a bit tricky in examples like "I am swimming in the pool" which naturally involves movement but all the movement is still in the pool so the "in" on this case is dative! Hope that helps a bit. I'm sure there are other nuances which a native speaker will answer.


donmac34 explains the accusative/dative distinction well. I'd just like to add: whoever told you that "der" is an accusative is incorrect, and you should probably be sceptical of their grammatical explanations in future :). "Native speaker" doesn't always mean "language expert" -- there are many native speakers (both of German and English) who couldn't tell an accusative from an aubergine.



Thanks a lot! My problem now is that I have multiple rules for determining dat vs akk but I don't know when to use which one, incl: 1) basic sentence structure "I write the teacher (dat) a letter (akk)", 2) dat/akk-specific prepositions (incl. 2-way prepositions), 3) dat/akk-specific verbs, 4) asking "what does it belong to?" (dat) and "what was the target of the action?" (akk)

Any more thoughts on that? :)


Those rules sound good :) Generally, only one will fit a given situation.

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