Translating Directions



1) I found this English to German translation that has me confused about when to use articles and prepositions.

The movie theater is on the right.
Das Kino ist rechts.

In English ‘right’ is a noun describing a place.
In German ‘rechts’ is an adverb.
I’m not sure how to make sense of “is right”.

2) I think Rocket Languages uses a different translation for this idea in lesson 19.1.
“auf der rechten Seite”
“rechten” looks like an adjective. I’m unsure how the -en ending was chosen.



Hallo Tyler,


Thank you for your questions! Unfortunately, you can't always translate English into German word for word. Maybe it would help to see the phrase “on the right” as one meaning rather than a group of different words as up to that point the German translation is literally the same as the English version. Quite often you will find that it's the German translation that needs more words to transfer the same meaning. Here however, it's the other way around. In German, if you want to say that something is on the right/left, you just say “etwas ist rechts/links”. This may be easily confused with the English “to be right” which means “richtig sein".


The other translation, “on the right side” - “auf der rechten Seite”, is a direct translation. You are right, “rechten” is an adjective. The reason why we have the “-en” ending here is because adjective endings change depending on nature of the article, the case, and the gender of the noun. “Seite” is in the dative case which indicates the “-en” ending of the adjective. If you go back to lesson 10.8 (Adjective Endings), you will find more explanations about this. You will also find a table with all the adjective endings there in which “der guten Wurst” is used as an example to show an adjective decribing a feminine noun in the dative case with a definite article.  


Hope this helps.


Viele Grüße




Hello Julia,
Yes, this is helpful.
Thank you for the confirmation "etwas ist rechts" is a normal way to describe the location of a place.
Thank you for the pointer to lesson 10.8. I haven't looked there in depth.

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