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  5. "Hamburg is by the water."

"Hamburg is by the water."

Translation:Hamburg ist am Wasser.

January 15, 2018



Hamburg ist bei dem Wasser was not accepted, any tips?


We say cities are "am Wasser/Fluss/See/Teich"(=water, river, lake, small lake) and "am Meer, an der See" (sea, sea) when they are "near, by or nearby" the water. "an" is the normal preposicion for this.

  • Hamburg ist an der Alster. Hamburg ist am Wasser.
  • Köln ist/liegt am Rhein. Berlin ist/liegt an der Spree.


Does this mean for everything other than cities we use beim Wasser? Or if it's not about water, for example if a city is near a mountain, do we say am Berg or beim Berg?


and "bei" is suggested in the hints!!!


The hints don’t “suggest”; they are too unreliable for that. They often contain translations that are not appropriate for the current sentence.

Never use the presence of a word in the hints as justification for anything.


Aw, shucks. I tried "Hamburg ist neben dem Wasser." I guess it has to be "at the water" rather than "next to the water?" Is it more accurate to think of "neben" as being the sort of "side to side" type of next to, rather than just being "near each other?"


Is it more accurate to think of "neben" as being the sort of "side to side" type of next to, rather than just being "near each other?"

Something like that.

Also, am Wasser might mean "on either sides of the water" while neben dem Wasser could only mean "next to the water".


Sorry I couldn't understand why beim Wasser can't be used here. Is it that we can't use beim for things which don't move like cities, mountains, etc. and only to things which can move such as people, cars and so...?


By coincidence, just after I learned the phrase "am Wasser" my German friend sent me an email which had as an attachment a shot of a painting of hers, a waterside scene, and the title of the painting was "Am Wasser".


is the such a word as "ams" to be preceding a neutral word (such a wasser)?


am is a contraction of an + dem, i.e. the preposition an and the neuter or masculine dative article dem.

If you contract an with the masculine accusative article das, you get ans, e.g. ans Wasser "to the water" (indicating the destination of motion, rather than a location).

ams does not exist; that would be *an + dem + das" with two articles in different cases and make no sense.


but why is this dative? there is no movement so shouldnt it be accusative


With two-way prepositions such as an, dative is used for location (no movement) and accusative is for the destination of movement.


The lack of movement is exactly why it should be dative. A handy way to remember the difference is "Active Accusative" and "Dormant Dative".


Is an and am basically short for auf+den & auf+dem?


Is an and am basically short for auf+den & auf+dem?

Not in standard German.

an basically means "at" and am is a contraction of an dem "at the".

In Austrian German, am can be a contraction for not only an dem but also for auf dem. This usage is not accepted on this course.

an den, auf den, and auf dem do not have any contractions in the standard (written) language.

(In the spoken language, you may hear an'n, auf'n, and auf'm.)

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