1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Why is this sentence dative?


Why is this sentence dative?

"Entschuldigung, kannst du mir sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?"

Meaning: "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the train station?"

Why is it "zum" here? Shouldn't it be accusative because they're going to the train station? zu + den?? Or is this not implying movement even though it's using zukommen

Edit: Thank-you for answering! I forgot that zu was one of the dative prepositions :)

April 6, 2018


  • 2009

Some prepositions take accusative or dative depending on the movement... some prepositions take always accusative OR always dative. "Zu" is always dative. So "zu der Schule", "zu dem Bahnhof", "zu mir", ...



The sentence is grammatically correct and your question has been answered. Thus, just a note:

In a real world context you are most likely to ask directions to the station from a stranger on the streets. Unless the stranger is a child or both you and the stranger are young adults you would use the "Sie"-address, thus

"Entschuldigung, k├Ânnen Sie mir sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?"

might be the better option to remember.


In a direct translation, this sentence would say:

"Excuse me, can you to me say, how I to the train-station come?"

Or with English word-order:

"Excuse me, can you say to me, how I come/get to the train-station?"


"Mir" is the dative version of the nominative pronoun "Ich" and can best be represented by the English words "to me."

When it comes to the word "zum", it's a contraction of "zu (to)" and "dem (dative 'the')", wherefore "zum" can be best translated as "to the."

Zum Bahnhof = to-the Bahnhof.

That's why the sentence is dative.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.