Akkusativ vs Dativ

This is one of the things that I struggle with the most. I find myself guessing when to use Akkusativ and when to use Dativ. Are there any tricks or tips that can help me??


I agree! I feel like I’ve read about the difference 100 times but none of it has stuck. I’m curious if there’s a way to have it stick in my mind, or if it’s just a matter of repeated exposure until it just “feels right” for each use case.

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I feel you. I remember having such a hard time learning this, I still get it wrong sometimes. The most helpful thing that worked for me was to not try and translate it. That rarely ever made sense. I never found it particularly useful to know if it’s for an indirect or direct object, because it was too abstract to grasp…?

In the end, I decided to just learn which verbs and prepositions needed which case. For example, I learned that anrufen always needs accusative, because it’s “Ich rufe dich an.” The preposition mit always needs dative, because it’s “Ich spiele mit dem Ball.” and so on. I still use this technique when I come across a new word I didn’t know.

We use direct and indirect objects, accusative and dative, in English as well (like the use of whom). English just doesn’t make such a big deal out of it like German does :smile:

Maybe someone has a trick they could share?


Super helpful response, Antonia!

I agree with Antonia, what helped me learn them was simply memorizing structures that are super common. When those sound right or wrong in your mind, you can then, by analogy, work your way through the rest without having to really understand why. For example, “mit dir” and not “mit dich”, ergo: mit + dative, ergo: mit ihm, mit ihr, mit ihnen, …

Here are a few of those:

  • Ohne dich
  • Mir ist warm
  • Ich helfe dir
  • Zu mir oder zu dir? :wink:

I wouldn’t worry too much about declensions, though. There are many other more useful and enjoyable things to learn about German! :slight_smile:


Please don’t laugh: Speaking Spanish and Quichua 90% of my time, I also start to struggle with it… :wink:


Phew, I’m glad it’s not just me! I speak more English in my daily life now than a few years ago and was afraid I was losing my touch :laughing:

There are two catchy songs that might help you remember the cases for each one of them :blush:



lol @Jimmy_Edmonds - these are amazing :joy:

the second video is really funny and it reminded me of this video below :joy: It is always the case with me that if I repeat something in my head again and again, so that I do not forget it, I definitely forget it :sweat_smile:


I would definitely focus on the prepositions at first so you sound correctly speaking it and then the logic will come as you use them more often. Unfortunately, some prepositions can be dative or accustative so those won’t be as easy and I am trying to learn them. There are venndiagrams in the internet on which prepositions are what case

Dativ: ab, aus, bei, nach, aus, seit, von, mit, zu

Akkusativ: bis, für, durch, gegen, um

and then others that are both. I think that is the easiest approach and I spoke with another American (i am from the US) and he had said he had also focused on the prepositions to get the cases right.