Иван Иванович идёт на работу в гараж.

Why is it "в гараж" and not "в гараже"?

It is translated as "Ivan I. goes to work in the garage."

Not "Ivan I. goes to work to the garage."


It is clear to me that grammatically both "на работу" and "в гараж" are in the accusative case.

I understand why "на работу" would use the accusative, since we want to say "to [his] work".

I do not understand why we use "в гараж" (translates as "to [the] garage) when we want (???) to say "in the garage" ("в гараже").

  • I second this, AFAIK в requires the prepositional case.
    – Trey
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 23:16
  • 1
    @Trey Not always. "на работу" and "в гараж" are в/на + accusative case, which means "to (some destination)".
    – rapt
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 1:01
  • 1
    You can use "в гараже", but the meaning is different, as pointed out by @V.V.
    – Vitaly
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 3:17

2 Answers 2


Иван Иванович идёт на работу в гараж.or Иван Иванович идет в гараж на работу.

Гараж here depends on the verb идет, meaning destination, not the noun работа. So the translation should be "He is going to the garage to work"(in order to work).If you change the noun and use the infinitive instead, you can have

Он идет в гараж работать. Он идет поработать в гараже.

  • So does "на работу" actually mean here (or always?) "for working" (purpose) - not "to the work[place]" (direction)? I thought в/на + accusative case indicates a geographical direction/destination, similar in meaning to домой.
    – rapt
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 1:31
  • The peculiarly of работа is that it combines both destination and purpose.
    – V.V.
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 9:00

“в” + noun in prepositional case means location (“in”), while “в” + noun in accusative case means direction (“to”). Note that for most sentences only one of those usages makes sense, the other would use another preposition.

“Кит плывет в океан (acc.)” — “A whale is swimming towards the ocean” (from a sea maybe)
“Кит плывет в океане (prep.)” — “A whale is swimming in the ocean” (NB: “по океану” would be a bit more natural)

As for what applies to what:

Иван Иванович идёт на работу в гараж. (Implies he has a job at the garage.)
Иван Иванович идёт (куда?) {на работу} (куда?) {в гараж}.
Иван Иванович идёт в гараж на работу. (equivalent)


Иван Иванович идет поработать в гараже. (He goes with the purpose of working in the garage.)
Иван Иванович идет (что делать?) {поработать (где?) {в гараже}}.
Иван Иванович идет в гараже поработать. (Almost equivalent, but sounds a bit weird. Could occur if someone wanted to emphasize “в гараже” in speech.)

Because “на работу” is such a common phrase, the word “работу” does not really function as a standalone word. While if you break the phrase up, or use a synonym, you can attach other words to that “работа”.

Иван Иванович едет на работу в центр города.
Иван Иванович едет в центр города на работу.
Иван Иванович едет на свою работу в центре города.
Иван Иванович едет (куда?) {на свою работу (где она находится?) {в центре города}}.

  • Correct but I don't think it answers my question. It was clear to me that in the sentence I quoted, both "на работу" and "в гараж" are in the accusative case. I'm asking why the Russian language says "He goes to [the] work to [the] garage". In English and generally the way I understand the semantics of the sentence, it actually means "He goes to [the] work IN [the] garage", which would require the prepositional case "в гараже". It's a little ambiguous if you overlook the context: "in the garage" can theoretically refer to either "work" or "goes". From the context it seems to refer to "work"
    – rapt
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 0:48
  • You just confirmed that the literal translation is indeed "Ivan I. goes to [his] work to the garage." But no clear explanation why saying such a weird combination... It makes no sense to me. It is not what people say in English or some other languages that I am familiar with. From your examples it seems like "Иван И. идёт на работу в гараже" is a valid sentence. Why would a Russian speaker choose this one over "Иван И. идёт на работу в гараж"?
    – rapt
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 3:20
  • Please elaborate what exactly do you find weird in saying “to the garage”. To what location does he go? To the garage. To what establishment does he go? To the one employing him. If you want to say that he has “work in a garage” and that’s where he’s currently going, you need to use something other than “на работу” because that’s too common of a phrase and it has a slightly different meaning. Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 16:37
  • You said both "на работу" and "в гараж" are locations (куда). Each one of them alone sounds OK. Together in general such a sentence would make no sense. E.g. "go to NY to LA". So go where then? However, if the 2nd location is a more specific area within the 1st location, e.g. garage is a more specific description of the workplace, then usually I would say "go to garage [location] in work(place) [larger location]". V.V. says that "на работу" actually means "for working". That makes more sense than interpreting "на работу" as "to location" (куда). When alone, "на работу" can be "to work(place)".
    – rapt
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 1:25
  • 1
    That’s correct, except “на работу” implies employment, not just any kind of working. Thus “на работу в гараж” implies the garage is the workplace. One could also say something like “завтра я иду на работу в пятый цех” — “tomorrow I’m going to work to the workshop no. 5” (maybe he usually works at another workshop) — but still this follows the same pattern and it feels more like workshop #5 is the employer rather than being a location within one’s workplace. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 16:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.