What is the difference between the accusative and dative case?

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bwezijl4
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#1
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#1
I know the differences between the way that der die and das change but why do they change and how do I know when I need to use the accusative and when I need to use the dative?

Danke!
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Professor L
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#2
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Accusative: direct object.
"The man throws the ball": "The man" is the subject, so it's in the nominative case. "The ball" is in the accusative case because it's the direct object, i.e. it's the thing that's being verb-ed (it's the thing that's being thrown).
This would be "Der Mann werft den Ball" in German. You know man is der, ball is also der, but der changes to den in the accusative.

Dative: indirect object. A bit trickier, my tip is look for the word "to".
"The man gives the ball to the dog": "The ball" is in the accusative case (it's the thing that's being given). "The dog" is in the dative case here (I think people say because the dog's the "beneficiary", but basically it's the "to" that makes it the dative case).
This would be "Der Mann gibt dem Hund den Ball" because der changes to dem in the dative case. (Also I put dem Hund before den Ball as you normally put the dative object before the accusative one in German).

Most verbs take an accusative object normally, some verbs can have both an accusative and a dative object, like geben (to give). Some verbs just take a dative object and you basically just have to learn these. Examples are danken (to thank), widersprechen (to contradict) and raten (to advise).
E.g. The woman thanks the man = Die Frau dankt dem Mann (not den Mann, even though it looks like the man is the thing that's being thanked. I like to think of this like she's giving thanks to the man to make the reason why it's dative clear.)

Lastly, prepositions. Some take the accusative case, some take dative, some can take accusative or dative depending on the situation, and some take genitive. You have to learn these.
E.g. I'm going with the man = Ich gehe mit dem Mann. (mit takes dative)
I'm going without the man = Ich gehe ohne den Mann. (ohne take accusative for some bizarre reason)

This chart below should help. der words are der, die, das etc. and other determiners like every (jeder), this/these (dieser) and some (mancher). The endings for these determiners are shown in the brackets.

Attachment 784414

Why do they change?
To screw with learners :lol: A plus is that you can change the order of the things in the sentence and it'll still make perfect sense.
E.g. Den Hund beißt der Mann = The man bites the dog (The den Hund shows you that whatever follows, the dog's the object (accusative because den) and der Mann shows that this is the subject (der for nominative), so it's man who's biting the dog. Changing the order like this can be done for emphasis.)
Last edited by Professor L; 3 years ago
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Spanx
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#3
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Ah takes me back to Latin classes at school or was that watching 'the life of Brian'...anyway who you calling big nose, big nose?

....Nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative...
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AngelStarfire
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#4
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Ich gehe ins Kino.

Yea the guy explained it well above above above me.
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bwezijl4
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#5
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(Original post by Professor L)
Accusative: direct object.
"The man throws the ball": "The man" is the subject, so it's in the nominative case. "The ball" is in the accusative case because it's the direct object, i.e. it's the thing that's being verb-ed (it's the thing that's being thrown).
This would be "Der Mann werft den Ball" in German. You know man is der, ball is also der, but der changes to den in the accusative.

Dative: indirect object. A bit trickier, my tip is look for the word "to".
"The man gives the ball to the dog": "The ball" is in the accusative case (it's the thing that's being given). "The dog" is in the dative case here (I think people say because the dog's the "beneficiary", but basically it's the "to" that makes it the dative case).
This would be "Der Mann gibt dem Hund den Ball" because der changes to dem in the dative case. (Also I put dem Hund before den Ball as you normally put the dative object before the accusative one in German).

Most verbs take an accusative object normally, some verbs can have both an accusative and a dative object, like geben (to give). Some verbs just take a dative object and you basically just have to learn these. Examples are danken (to thank), widersprechen (to contradict) and raten (to advise).
E.g. The woman thanks the man = Die Frau dankt dem Mann (not den Mann, even though it looks like the man is the thing that's being thanked. I like to think of this like she's giving thanks to the man to make the reason why it's dative clear.)

Lastly, prepositions. Some take the accusative case, some take dative, some can take accusative or dative depending on the situation, and some take genitive. You have to learn these.
E.g. I'm going with the man = Ich gehe mit dem Mann. (mit takes dative)
I'm going without the man = Ich gehe ohne den Mann. (ohne take accusative for some bizarre reason)

This chart below should help. der words are der, die, das etc. and other determiners like every (jeder), this/these (dieser) and some (mancher). The endings for these determiners are shown in the brackets.

Attachment 784414



To screw with learners :lol: A plus is that you can change the order of the things in the sentence and it'll still make perfect sense.
E.g. Den Hund beißt der Mann = The man bites the dog (The den Hund shows you that whatever follows, the dog's the object (accusative because den) and der Mann shows that this is the subject (der for nominative), so it's man who's biting the dog. Changing the order like this can be done for emphasis.)
Danke! You've really helped me!
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Professor L
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#6
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#6
(Original post by bwezijl4)
Danke! You've really helped me!
No problem!
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sophia5892
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#7
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#7
We learnt the accusative prepositions as...
DOGWUFE
durch ohne gegen wider um für entlang

No fun acronym for dative prepositions but I learnt them by chanting... hence why I still remember this 8 years later!!

Aus außer bei mit nach seit von zu gegenüber

In addition to the great explanation above, some prepositions can take either accusative or dative depending on the function.
Accusative = movement/motion
Dative = position/location

So with “in”.
Ich gehe in die Schule. Ich bin in der Schule.
I go to school. I’m in school.

Or “auf”
Die Katze springt auf den Stuhl. Die Katze sitzt auf dem Stuhl.
The cat jumps onto the chair. The cat sits on the chair.

Be careful with this... for example you’d say
Er schwimmt im Wasser (im = in dem)
Because even though swimming is movement, „in water“ is the location where swimming is taking place.
Eg.
Er laüft im Park. (He runs in the park - location)
Er läuft in den Park. (He runs into the park - motion)
You could maybe think of the accusative here showing the direction or trajectory of an action if motion is confusing
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