Learn German A1: Intro to German Cases (Dative Case)

Learn German A1: Intro to German Cases (Dative Case)

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Learn German A1: Intro to German Cases (Dative Case). A couple of lessons ago, we learned that words can have different functions within a sentence. We call these functions cases.

We also looked at the nominative and the accusative as the first two of the four German cases.

Learn German A1: Intro to German Cases (Nominative case)

This lesson will now focus on the third case, the dative case: der Dativ.

What we’ve already learned:

The person or thing affected by the action in a sentence is called the direct object. It is always in the accusative case.

Have a look at the examples of words (direct objects) in the accusative case, highlighted in bold.

Wir lesen ein Buch. (We’re reading a book).
Ich habe einen Sohn. (I have a son.)
Learn German A1: Intro to German Cases (Accusative Case)

In contrast to a direct object, the person or thing that “receives” the result of the action is called the indirect object. It is only indirectly affected by the action.

Have a look at the examples below where you can see the indirect object in bold and the direct object underlined.

Er kauft dem Kind ein Eis. (He’s buying some ice cream for the child.)
Ich gebe meiner Freundin eine Blume. (I’m giving a flower to my girlfriend.)
Dative Case Examples

Here are a few more examples of indirect objects, highlighted in bold.

Wir kochen unserem Vater ein leckeres Essen. (We’re cooking a delicious meal for our father.)
Sie geben den Schülern Hausaufgaben. (They’re giving the students homework.)
Dative Case Examples

The dative case shows us the indirect object of a sentence.

The spelling of the articles changes in the dative case. Look at the table below to see the changes in both the accusative and the dative case.

das das dem
Articles in German for three cases

The plural “die” changes to “den” in the dative case.

So try to memorise: dem (m) – der (f) – dem (n) – den (pl).

Nominative form??dative form?
der Mann (the man)dem Mann (the man)
die Frau (the woman)der Frau (the woman)
das Kind (the child)dem Kind (the child)
die Katzen (the cats)den Katzen (the cats)
Nominative vs Dative Articles

Wir kaufen den Kindern ein Eis. (We’re buying the children ice cream.)

Most of the time, the indirect object in the dative case comes right after the verb:

Ich (subject) + kaufe (verb) + dem Mädchen (indirect object) + ein Eis (direct object).

Ich gebe dem Jungen einen Ball .I give the boy a ball.

Susanne kocht ihrem Vater Abendessen. Susanne cooks dinner for her father.

Sie hilft dem Mann einzukaufen. She helps the man shop.

Sie gibt der Frau ein Buch. She gives the woman a book.

Sie kauft einer Frau einen Apfel. She buys an apple for a woman.

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