German Grammar: Dativ
Dative

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German Grammar: Dativ
Dative

What do the verbs "help", "give", "write", and "send" have in common?
They are things we do in our jobs?
Well, yes... and this can be a hint. Things we do in our jobs, usually involve other people apart from ourselves.
Oh, I know, things that have a recipient!
Exactly, you are good at this!
To "help", "give", "write", or "send", we need a person on the other side to receive our help, our present, our email, our package, etc. In grammar terms, those recipients are called indirect objects.
I sent you an email.
So what?
Well, remember declensions?
How could I forget them...
For indirect objects, we have a new declension type called dative.
We are not going to pretend this is an easy and beautiful piece of grammar knowledge. It actually really sucks because every article changes to something else. Bear with us.
Let's remember the good old accusative first. We like the accusative :)
  • We use it with direct objects
  • It only changes in masculine singular
  • We use it with verbs like "to see", "to take", "to order", "to eat" , etc.
der/ein Mannden/einen Mann
die/eine Fraudie/eine Frau
das/ein Kinddas/ein Kind
die Kinder/ - Kinderdie Kinder/ - Kinder
Okay, now the dative where it's a little more tricky:
DativeAccusative
Ich zeige I show dem Mann der Frau dem Kind den Kindern den Supermarkt. die Buchhandlung. das Kino. die Museen.
Remember: we use the dative for indirect objects, mostly other people playing an indirect role in our actions, usually receiving something.
Don't panic, it may seem a little complicated at first, but you'll get the hang of it over time :)