confusion with "an"



I am having a problem with the use of “an”, when to use accusative and when dative. Also when to use “an” in the sense of “to” which would usally be zu , in, or nach.

The following phrases are from 9.3
Fahren Sie am Hauptbahnhof vorbei und dann die Leipzigerstraße ‘runter.
Nach ungefähr 200 Metern kommen Sie an den Friedrichsplatz.

In the first, why “am” i.e. dative when there is motion involved.
In the second, it’s accusative because of movement, but why not “zum”?
Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Hi sfpugh,

In the first sentence, the clue is in that vorbei: an jemandem/etwas vorbeifahren is a construction that means to pass in front of someone/something and it uses the dative case.

You're correct: when taking about places, you would normally use zu (zum here, because only the dative can follow, regardless of movement). However, in some parts of Germany it's also common to use an.

Hope this helps!



OK, thanks, now I found "an (DAT) etwas vorbeifahren" down at the bottom of  a list of examples in the Langenschiedt dictionary, I missed that earlier.

On the other example, In guess it's just one of those things.

Thanks for the explanation

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