The preposition 'bei' in German

Schuster bleib bei deinen Leisten!
Shoemaker, stick to your trade!
Note: "Leiste" is the counter where a shoemaker’s shoes are placed

The meaning of "bei" in German

in, near, while, at, for, etc.

The preposition "bei" is one of the most complicated ones because it is used in many different contexts. We’ll show them now:

'bei' as a locative preposition

bei + person (location)

It is used to say that one is with a person (at their home)

Hans ist bei Ralf
Hans is with Ralf (at his home)

Die Kiste war bei mir
The box was with me

bei + a professional (location)

This means that one is with a professional in their place of business or consultation:

Ich bin beim Arzt / Frisör / Bäcker
I’m at the doctor’s / hair cutter’s / baker’s

bei + place of work (location)

to say that one is at work, at the company, organization or activity:

Bist du bei der Arbeit?
Are you at work?

Ich bin bei der Polizei
I’m at the police station

Er war bei der Bundeswehr
He was in the army

Der Rechner war bei Amazon im Angebot
The computer was on sale on Amazon

Mein Auto ist bei der Jahresinspektion
My car is at its annual inspection

bei with the meaning of near (location)

Wohnst Du bei der Schule?
Do you live close to the school?

bei as a temporal preposition (meaning during/while)

bei + Noun that indicates a period of time

bei means "during" in the sense of time.

Wovon träumst du bei Nacht?
What do you dream during the night?

Wir haben bei dem Festival einige Freunde getroffen
We met some friends during the festival

bei + Nominalized verb

With the construction "bei" + nominalized verb you can form a type of gerund in German:

Ich bin beim Essen
I am eating (Sort of like: I am at the meal)

NOTE: Given that all the nominalized verbs are neuter and have an article, the structure is always:

bei + dem + verb in the infinitive because it always contracts, the form is


Ich bin am Essen can also be said

bei to refer to temperatures and numbers

"Bei" is used together with temperatures or numbers

Wasser kocht bei 100º C
Water boils at 100ºC

Wir fangen nicht bei Null an
We didn’t start at zero

Verbs with the preposition bei

  • bleiben bei (to maintain/stick with, stay at, to reaffirm)
  • helfen bei (to help with)
  • nachfragen bei (to consult with)
  • entschuldigen bei (to apologize to)
  • beginnen bei (to start at)

beginnen bei (to start at)

Ich beginne beim Anfang
I’m starting at the beginning

bleiben bei (staying with/ sticking with)

Ich bleibe bei meiner Meinung
I’m sticking with my opinion

Grammar of "bei"

Declension of "bei"

Bei does not change, just like all the other prepositions.

"bei" takes dative

Words that follow "bei" have to be declined in dative (it always takes dative)


beim is the contraction of (bei + dem)