The preposition “in” in German

Polish saying:
Wer im Sommer arbeitet, leidet im Winter keinen Hunger
He who works in the summer is not hungry in the winter

The meaning of “in” in German

in means “in” in English.

The preposition in is in the group of preposition that can be accusative or dative, depending on the meaning of the clause.

in preposition

“in” as a locative preposition

It must be emphasized again that "in" is as a "Wechselpräposition". This means that is can take accusative or dative depending on the clause.


“in” with dative

In takes dative if the prepositional complement of place does not imply movement (location).

Ich bin im Kino
I’m in the theater

“in” with accusative

In takes accusative if the prepositional complement of place implies movement (direction).

Wie oft gehst du ins Kino?
How often do you go to the theater?

“in” as a temporal preposition

as a temporal preposition, “in” can be translated as “in,” where a period of time is implicit. Take note that, as a temporal preposition, “in” is dative:

In einer Stunde bin ich wieder da
I’ll be back in one hour

Was machst du im Sommer?
What do you do in the summer?

Verbs followed by the preposition “in”

  • einbauen in (to insert in)
  • einbinden in (to include in)
  • sich verlieben in (to fall in love with)
  • versunken in (absorbed in)
  • zerteilen in (to divide into)

Grammar of "in"

Declension of “in”

“in” is not declined (it doesn’t change), just like all the prepositions.


"im" is the contraction of (in + dem).


"ins" is the contraction of (in + das).