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Deutsch 101-326 an der Universität Michigan stehen/stellen, liegen/legen, hängen/hängen, sitzen/setzen Home
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stehen/stellen vs. liegen/legen vs. sitzen/setzen tun, stecken and sein

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Stehen, liegen, hängen (describing where something is hanging) and sitzen are strong (irregular) verbs that describe where something is located (standing, lying, hanging, sitting) (==>Wo?), and therefore take the dative with two-way prepositions. Stellen, legen, hängen (describing where you hang something) and setzen are weak (regular) verbs that are used when a person or thing is moved (==>Wohin?) into a new location and therefore take the accusative with two-way prepositions. In practice, this means forming sentences with two accusatives, which is unusual: the object being moved is the direct object of the verb and therefore in the accusative, and the place to which the object is being moved will be in the accusative also, since it will be the object of a two-way preposition and motion is involved. Stehen/stellen, liegen/legen, hängen/hängen and sitzen/setzen are almost always used in conjunction with two-way prepositions. As usual with two-way prepositions, you can remember location ==> dative; motion ==> accusative. There are more such pairs (e.g. sinken/senken; verschwinden [=to disappear]/verschwenden [=to waste] etc.), but they are less common (and not closely associated with two-way prepositions), so here we will focus on these four. See the usage notes below for information on the distinction between stehen/stellen and liegen/legen, information on when to use sitzen/setzen, and information on using tun or stecken and sein when none of the above verbs is appropriate for describing where something is being put or where something is located.

Examples
stehen, stand, gestanden stellen, stellte, gestellt Die Büste von Mozart steht auf dem Bett (dative: location). Ich stelle die Büste (accusative: direct object) auf das Klavier (accusative: motion). Eine Mumie stand mitten in ihrem Wohnzimmer (dative: location). Sie stellte die Mumie (accusative: direct object) in die Ecke to stand, to be situated to put (in a standing position) The bust of Mozart is standing on the bed. I put (stand) the bust on the piano.

A mummy stood in the middle of her living room. She put (stood) the mummy in the corner.

09.03.2013

legte. Der Kronleuchter hat im Keller (dative: location) gehangen.stehen/stellen etc. to lie. I was sitting on Lassie [bad of me!]. gelegen legen. Wir haben den Kronleuchter (accusative: direct object) ins Wohnzimmer (accusative: motion) gehängt. Usage Notes 09. gesetzt Wir saßen auf dem Esstisch (dative: location). gehangen hängen. Ich habe mich (accusative: direct object) auf Flipper (accusative: motion) gesetzt. Wir haben die Schlange (accusative: direct object) in das Bett (accusative: motion) unseres RAs gelegt. hing. hängen. We hung the chandelier in the living room. You put (laid) the silverware on the table. I sat down on Flipper [worse. liegen. gelegt Das Besteck liegt in der Badewanne (dative: location). Ich habe auf Lassie (dative: location) gesessen. gehängt Ein Bild von den Backstreet Boys hängt im Schlafzimmer (dative: location). We put (laid) the snake in our RA's bed. Page 2 of 5 (accusative: motion). You hang the picture above the toilet. to be hanging to hang (something/someone) A picture of the Backstreet Boys is hanging in the bedroom. The chandelier was hanging in the basement.. Wir setzten uns (accusative: direct We sat down on the chairs. object) auf die Stühle (accusative: motion). Du hängst das Bild (accusative: direct object) über die Toilette (accusative: motion).. to be sitting to sit (down) We were sitting on the dining room table. saß. sitzen. lag.03. Du legst das Besteck (accusative: direct object) auf den Tisch (accusative: motion). hängte. be situated to put (in a lying position) The silverware is lying in the bathtub.]. setzte. gesessen (sich) setzen. A snake was lying on the floor.2013 . Eine Schlange hat auf dem Boden (dative: location) gelegen.

Often. you would use liegen/legen. if it is lying or being laid flat (e. Du hast es (accusative: direct object) ins Bett (accusative: motion) gelegt." can only be used with things that have knees and can thus actually sit: people. statues. neither stellen nor legen describes what you are doing.2013 . The books are lying on the table. Ich hing es (accusative: direct I hung it above my bed. you would use liegen/legen. Das Baby hat auf dem Fernseher (dative: location) gesessen. stecken must be used instead of tun (see the last two examples below). in a bookshelf). dolls and puppets. if they are lying around or being laid on their sides (e. worms. Wir stellen die Bücher (accusative: We put the books on the shelf. especially if you are putting something inside something else. buckets. unlike the English "to set. Similarly. object) über mein Bett (accusative: motion). but not. liegen/legen vs. l liegen/legen is usually used for anything else that is not sitting or hanging. snakes. l sitzen/setzen. bottles. if you are putting a handkerchief in your purse. on a coffee table). Mein Bruce Springsteen Poster lag auf dem Boden (dative: location). You put it to bed (laid it in the bed)." Occasionally. as in "I stuck it in my pocket" or "Stick that under the bed. people and animals who are standing.stehen/stellen etc.g. especially 'floppy' things: silverware. none of the above verbs will be appropriate. etc. drinking glasses. vases (or bottles or drinking glasses etc. people and animals who are lying down. In these cases. l l If a book is standing or being stood vertically (e. Tun. Tun has the widest range of applications. etc. My Bruce Springsteen poster was lying on the floor. sitzen/setzen l stehen/stellen is usually used for things that can be regarded as standing on a firm base: plates.03. newspapers. you would use stehen/stellen.g.g. and certain animals. stecken and sein l The baby was sitting on the TV. Page 3 of 5 stehen/stellen vs. when you are describing where you are putting something. For example. and hängen and setzen are obviously inapplicable. More examples: Die Bücher liegen auf dem Tisch (dative: location). fish. on the floor). you would use stehen/stellen. you should use the verbs tun or stecken. whereas stecken can only be used in situations where you could use "stick" in English. The following are some examples of situations 09. direct object) ins Regal (accusative: motion). or inanimate objects other than dolls and puppets.) that have fallen over. vases. for bottles standing or being stood on their base (or even on their mouths). eyeglasses. for example.

Page 4 of 5 where you need to use tun or stecken in this way. liegen. you can also use stecken for this purpose. You can also generally substitute sein for stehen. Ich habe das Buch unters Bett getan/gesteckt/ gelegt.03. [With stecken. Ich tue/stecke die Flaschen ins I put the bottles into the recycling Recycling.. legen or stellen here depending on how you place the bottles in the bin. I put a note on your desk.. [With stecken. it would mean "You can stick your homework in my box. Wo hast du die Schlüssel hingetan/ hingesteckt/hingelegt? Wir haben das Kind ins Bett getan/gesteckt/ gelegt.stehen/stellen etc. whereas stecken can only be used in situations where you could use "stick" in English.. and again this usually give the sentence an informal tone. Bitte tu/steck/leg das Besteck auf den Tisch. liegen and setzen (but not usually for 09."] Did you put the plug in the outlet? Tun can be used more generally as an informal substitute for stellen and legen and occasionally setzen.2013 . it would mean "I stuck the book under my bed. I put my handkerchief in my pocket. You can put your homework in my box. Did you put the books in your backpack? She put the key in the lock.] Hast du die Bücher in deinen Rucksack getan/gesteckt? Sie tat/steckte den Schlüssel ins Schloss. if you are trying to describe where something is located and stehen. as in "I stuck it in my pocket" or "Stick that under the bed."Haben Sie den Stecker in die Steckdose getan/gesteckt? l My parents stuck me in a boarding school. [With stecken. [Could possibly use bin. because stellen. legen.haben mich auf ein Internat geschickt. it would mean "Where did you stick the keys?"] We put the child to bed. In some cases. getan/gesteckt. [A more positive formulation: ". Where did you put the keys? [With stecken."] I put the book under my bed.. also I had to clean up quickly. Ich habe einen Zettel auf Ihren Schreibtisch getan/gesteckt/gelegt. Ich musste schnell aufräumen. it would mean "We stuck the child in bed. [vs the more positive formulation "."] Please put the silverware on the table. hängen and setzen are all inapplicable: Ich tue/stecke mein Taschentuch in meine Tasche. as in the examples below."] "Es funktioniert nicht!" -. so I just hab ich einfach alles unters Bett put everything under the bed."] l Finally. hängen and sitzen are all inapplicable." Sie können Ihre Hausaufgaben in mein Fach tun/stecken/legen. Meine Eltern haben mich in ein Internat getan/gesteckt. you can of course always just use sein.sent me to a boarding school.

stehen/stellen etc. Der Eimer war/stand in der Garage. Site Index | Site Questions or Notice Errors | © 2003 09. The bottles are in the recycling bin. Das Bild ist/hängt an der Wand. if s/he wants to test your ability to use stehen. Das Kind ist/liegt im Bett. liegen and setzen!). Were the books in your backpack? The key was in the lock. The handkerchief is in my pocket.] Waren die Bücher in deinem Rucksack? Der Schlüssel war/steckte im Schloss. The bucket was/was standing in the garage. [Idiomatic expression for:] The key is in the lock. Page 5 of 5 hängen) if you don't mind losing a little specificity (though your instructor may not always let you do this on tests. [Could possibly use liegen or stehen here depending on how the bottles are positioned in the bin. The picture is hanging on the wall. The child is/is lying in bed. Das Taschentuch ist/steckt in meiner Tasche. Der Schlüssel steckt.2013 .03. Die Flaschen sind im Recycling.