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Handout: Der Dativ (mit Wiederholung: Nominativ und Akkusativ)

Nominative

   • for the subject of a sentence: who or what is doing this?

Der Student lernt Deutsch. 


   • for predicate nouns: when the main verb is sein or werden, use the nominative for both subject and predicate nouns.

Das ist ein Tisch. 


Accusative

   • for the direct object of a sentence: who or what is being <verbed>?

Ich habe einen Tisch.What is being had? A table.


   Note that the very common expression "es gibt" (there is/are) requires that the noun be in the accusative case because it is grammatically a direct object.

Es gibt einen Stuhl da drüben.There is a chair over there.


   • after the accusative prepositions and postpositions: durch, für, gegen, ohne, um (memory aid: dogfu), as well as the postpositions bis and entlang . If a noun follows these prepositions, it will ALWAYS be in the accusative!

Er geht um den Tisch.Around what? The table.
Ist das Geschenk für mich?For whom? For me.


   • time expressions in a sentence are usually in accusative: jeden Tag, letzten Sommer, den ganzen Tag, diesen Abend, etc. We haven’t officially learned this yet, but it’s good to know.

Jeden Morgen esse ich Brot und Marmelade zum Frühstück.Every morning.


Let’s practice a bit. These sentences mix nominative and accusative forms, so watch out.

1.Heute habe ich ein_____ hässlichen Mann gesehen!
2.Mein_____ Schwester und _________ (I) fahren morgen nach Hause.
3.Nächste Woche wollen wir _________ (you) besuchen.
4.Man soll nie ohne sein_____ Deutschbuch zum Unterricht kommen.
5.Mein_____ Lieblingsgruppe (f) Rammstein spielt am Freitag in Köln!
6._________ (you) musst mir d____ Geld (n) geben!
7.D____ Tisch ist wirklich alt. _________ (you) sollst ein____ neuen Tisch kaufen!
8.D____ Mantel habe ich für _________ (you) gekauft!
9.Hast du mein____ Mantel irgendwo sehen? Ich kann _________ (it) nicht finden. Übrigens, ich kann mein____ Hemd auch nicht finden. Weißt du zufällig, wo _________ (it) ist?
10.Morgen fahren wir durch d____ Stadt. D____ Glockenturm (m) ist schön. Wir besichtigen d____ Turm und kaufen dort ein____ Postkarte (f).


Now it’s time to learn the DATIVE case -- the third of German’s four cases. (You’ll learn the fourth, the genitive case, next semester.) First, let’s learn what the forms of the dative look like for the articles:

  m  f  n  pl          m  f  n  pl
NOM  der  die  das  die          ein  eine  ein  keine
AKK  den  die  das  die          einen  eine  ein  keine
DAT  dem  der  dem  den          einem  einer  einem  keinen


You’ll notice that whereas in the accusative case, only the masculine articles changed their form (to den/einen), in the dative case, ALL of the genders change. It may help you to remember these changes with the mnemonic device “rese nese mr mn” -- in other words, der-die-das-die, den-die-das-die, dem-der-dem-den.

When to use the dative case?

A primary use of the dative case is for the indirect object of a sentence. An indirect object is the beneficiary of whatever happens in a sentence. It’s usually a person, although it doesn’t have to be. If you ask yourself: “TO whom or FOR whom is this being done?”, the answer will be the indirect object, and in German it will need the dative case.

Not every sentence will have an indirect object -- all semester, we’ve mostly been using sentences that do not have indirect objects. Like in English, only some verbs allow an indirect object: to give (to), to bring (to), to tell (to), to buy (for), to send (to) are some good examples of verbs that will almost always have an indirect object. In English, we don't distinguish the direct and indirect object in the forms of words; instead, we often use "to" or "for" to mark these. If you can potentially insert "to" or "for" in front of a noun in an English sentence, it's probably an indirect object.

Ich gebe der Frau ein Buch.I’m giving her a book = a book to her.
Er schenkt mir ein Buch.He's giving me a book.
Ich habe das dem Mann schon gesagt.I already told the man that.
Wir kaufen unserer Mutter ein Geschenk.We're buying our mother a present.


Let’s practice identifying objects in some sentences first. Tell whether the underlined nouns/pronouns in these sentences are SUBJECTS (S), DIRECT OBJECTS (DO), or INDIRECT OBJECTS (IO).

1.The salesman offered the customer the car.
2.We’re bringing her the mail.
3.I lent my stereo to you.
4.He promised his wife everything.
5.The realtor sold the house to us.
6.For my dog, I’m buying a chew-toy.


Now do the same thing, but with these German sentences.

1.Ich gebe ihm ein Auto.
2.Die Schwester hat ihrem Lehrer die Antwort gesagt.
3.Der Sohn gibt seiner Mutter eine Blume.
4.Kannst du uns dein Auto leihen (=to lend)?
5.Euch gebe ich jetzt das Quiz.
6.Die Fotos habe ich meinen Freunden gezeigt (=showed).


You’ll notice in the last sentence that the normal plural form “die Freunde” has changed to “meinen Freunden”. This is the only irregularity in the dative case: dative PLURAL forms add an -n to the noun if at all possible. Consider:

Ich gebeden Freunden
den Amerikanern
den Leuten
den Eltern
den Frauen
den Cousins
viele Geschenke.(adds -n to plural form Freunde)
(adds -n to plural form Amerikaner)
(adds -n to plural form Leute)
(already had an -n for plural, no second -n added)
(already had an -n for plural, no second -n added)
(had an -s for plural, but Cousinsn not possible!)


Now, remember that your dative articles are dem - der - dem - den. Let’s try filling in some blanks.

1.Ich kaufe mein_____ Vater ein_____ Krawatte zum Geburtstag.
2.Die Studenten sagen d_____ Lehrerin d_____ Antworten (pl).
3.Kannst du d_____ Mann sein_____ Suppe bringen, bitte?
4.Wir kaufen d_____ Kind ein_____ Eis (n).
5.Morgen gebe ich mein_____ Freunde___ (pl) d_____ Weihnachtsgeschenke (pl).


In addition to the articles (dem, einem, etc), we need to learn the pronouns in the dative case (to me, to you, etc). Here’s a summary table:

   NOM  AKK  DAT             NOM  AKK  DAT
I  ich  mich  mir          we  wir  uns  uns
you  du  dich  dir          you all  ihr  euch  euch
he  er  ihn  ihm          they  sie  sie  ihnen
she  sie  sie  ihr          You  Sie  Sie  Ihnen
it  es  es  ihm                 


This may look horribly confusing, but there are some patterns here that can help you. Consider the following:

   • the masculine article changes from der - den - dem. The masculine pronoun (he/him) changes from er - ihn - ihm.
   • the feminine article changes from die - die - der. The feminine pronoun (she/her) changes from sie - sie - ihr.
   • the neuter article changes from das - das - dem. The neuter pronoun (it) changes from es - es - ihm.
   • the plural article changes from die - die - den. The plural pronoun (they/them) changes from sie - sie - ihnen.

Now let’s try some setences with pronouns.

1.Ich kaufe ___________ (you) ein Buch zum Geburtstag.
2.Hast du ___________ (me) einen Kuchen gebacken? Toll!
3.Wir sagen ___________ (you all) die Wahrheit (=truth).
4.Er hat ___________ (her) den Ring gegeben.
5.Kann ich ___________ (You, formal) eine Tasse Kaffee bringen?


That covers the dative case when used with indirect objects. There are two other uses for the dative case that you’ll need to learn. One of them -- the dative verbs -- we’ll be doing tomorrow in class. But the second use, which really is very common and useful, is the dative case with PREPOSITIONS. Remember that the prepositions you learned in chapter four (durch-für-gegen-ohne-um) always take the accusative case. These new prepositions will always take the dative case.

aus..........................out of, fromnach................................after, to
außer.................except for, besidesseit................................since
bei........................at, near, withvon.................................from, by
mit..................................withzu..................................to


(One memory aid for these prepositions is to sing the Blue Danube Waltz melody with the prepositions: aus-außer-bei-mit-nach-seit-von-zu.) There are many possible translations of these prepositions, depending on exactly what the context of the sentence is. Please refer to your textbook, pp. 239-240, for more detailed explanation of the meanings of each preposition.

Sie haben ein Geschenk von ihrem Vater bekommen.From their father.
Außer meiner Mutter spricht meine ganze Familie Deutsch.Except for my mother.
Ich fahre am Wochenende zu meiner Tante in Minnesota.To my aunt's.


Let’s try a few sentences using the dative prepositions. As you’ll see, there are many uses for these prepositions, so you’ll get used to them very quickly.

1.Wir bleiben bei ein_____ Freund in Madrid.
2.Kommst du mit ________ (us)? -- Ja, ich komme mit ________ (you all), und mein Hund kommt mit ________ (me).
3.Wir gehen von d_____ Unterricht zu d_____ Studentenheim (m).
4.Wir gehen um 10 Uhr aus d_____ Haus.
5.Nach d_____ Party (f) sind wir nach Hause gegangen.
6.Das Buch ist von ein_____ französischen Autor (m).
7.Anna geht zu d_____ Verwandten in Deutschland.
8.Ich wohne seit ein_____ Woche (f) hier.
9.Außer mein_____ Freunde___ weiß nur meine Mutter, dass ich krank bin.


A few final notes on using the dative with prepositions. First off, there are several contractions that occur with dative prepositions. They are:

vom = von demzum = zu dembeim = bei dem
 zur = zu der 


For whatever reason, you cannot contract ‘bei der’ or anything else, just the ones listed above.

Also, as we talked about yesterday, the preposition “in” often uses the dative case. Next semester you will be learning more about this preposition and how to use it correctly. For now, the most you need to know is that when ‘in’ is used with a stationary verb (e.g. He’s in the house), it takes the dative case. Like the contractions above, im = in dem.

Der Tisch steht in der Küche.Where is it? In the kitchen.
Mein Schreibtisch ist im Arbeitszimmer.Note that im = in dem
Die Autos sind in den Garagen.The cars are in the garages, plural.


So in all the sentences we’ll be practicing about house and furniture, ‘in’ will take the dative case.

The question words wer - wen - wem

To ask “who” in German, you need to decided whether the “who” is the subject, the direct object, or the indirect object. The forms of ‘wer’ are just like the masculine article: wer - wen - wem.

Wer ist das?Who is that?
Wer kommt morgen zur Party?Who’s coming to the party tomorrow?
Wen hast du eingeladen?Whom did you invite?
Wem hast du das Buch gegeben?To whom did you give the book?


Summary: When to use which case

So, when you're trying to decide which case to use, consider the following things:

1.Is it a fixed expression? (such as Mir ist kalt, or Es tut mir Leid)
2.Does the noun follow either an accusative or a dative preposition? If so, this should be easy, since the preposition determines the case. Just make sure you know which prepositions take the accusative (dogfu) and which take the dative (Blue Danube Waltz). Once you have the accusative and dative prepositions memorized, these are your friends when it comes to case -- they tell you exactly what to do. (Next semester you will learn some other prepositions which aren't quite so easy.)
3.Is the verb a dative verb? If so, the object will be in the dative. We’ll be discussing these tomorrow.
4.If none of the other conditions apply, then you need to determine which noun in the sentence is the subject, and put that in nominative. Then look for a direct object (put in accusative) and indirect object (put in dative). Remember that not every sentence necessarily has a direct object and an indirect object: some have only one or the other, or none at all.


If you need reference to these, here's a table of the different endings and pronouns in the three cases:

   Nom  Akk  Dat  (Poss)
1 sg  ich  mich  mir  (mein_)
2 sg  du  dich  dir  (dein_)
3 sg  er  ihn  ihm  (sein_)
3 sg  sie  sie  ihr  (ihr_)
3 sg  es  es  ihm  (sein_)
1 pl  wir  uns  uns  (unser_)
2 pl  ihr  euch  euch  (euer_)
3 pl  sie  sie  ihnen  (ihr_)
form  Sie  Sie  Ihnen  (Ihr_)

masc  der  den  dem   
fem  die  die  der   
neut  das  das  dem   
plur  die  die  den (+ _n)   

masc  ein  einen  einem   
fem  eine  eine  einer   
neut  ein  ein  einem   
plur  keine  keine  keinen (+ _n)   

masc  unser  unseren  unserem   
fem  unsere  unsere  unserer   
neut  unser  unser  unserem   
plur  unsere  unsere  unseren (+ _n)   

masc  dieser  diesen  diesem   
fem  diese  diese  dieser   
neut  dieses  dieses  diesem   
plur  diese  diese  diesen (+ _n)   


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