Bei vs beim

RexV

When should you write ”beim” instead of ”bei”? I am asking because I saw this sentence ” Karin ist beim Arzt” which I assume can also be written as “Karin ist bei dem Arzt”
 

sfpugh

You can use either, however my german friend suggested that beim Artzt means "at the doctors" i.e an unspecified doctor, however if you say bei dem Atzt it would suggest a particular doctor presumably understood from something earlier.

I wonder if Liss agrees with this.

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Hallo RexV und sfpugh!

The bei vs. beim question actually has the same answer as the zu vs. zum question from last week (https://members.rocketlanguages.com/members/forum/german-grammar/zu-vs-zum). So in much the same way, the contraction beim is preferred over bei dem unless the dem is acting as a pronoun.

However, the example offered by your German friend, sfpugh, gives us an interesting exception. While we would generally say Ich war beim Arzt "I was at the doctor's", if we had to put emphasis on it in conversation, we could end up saying bei dem Arzt. For example, if a friend were asking us Bei welchem Arzt? "At which doctor's?" we could point at the office and say, Bei dem Arzt, da! "At that doctor's, there!"

I hope that this is helpful!

Bis zum nächsten Mal,

Liss

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