The dative case in German is an indirect object in the sentence and forms the answer to the questions:
wem? - whom?
A dative can be
Here are some examples.
|Ich gebe meiner Schwester den Schüssel. - I give the key to my sister.||Wem gebe ich den Schlüssel? - To whom do I give the key.||meiner Schwester - to my sister|
|Peter schenkt seiner Frau eine Uhr. - Peter gives his wife a watch.||Wem schenkt Peter eine Uhr? - To whom does Peter give a watch.||seiner Frau - his wife|
The nouns in the dative case remain unchanged except in the plural, where most of the nouns take the ending -n / -en.
In dative, weak and mixed masculine nouns always take the suffix -n / -en both in the singular and in the plural, as well as in the accusative. Let's have a look into the course about the N-declension and verbs/adjectives as nouns.
The nouns that use -s in plural do not take the -n / -en suffix in the plural.
In this table you can find several examples for the declension of noun and their articles in the different genders. In addition, there are some examples of adjectives that accompany a noun in the dative case.
|With a definite article||dem Mann||der Frau||dem Kind||den Leuten|
|With an indefinite article||einem Mann||einer Frau||einem Kind||Leuten|
|With a definite article + adjective||dem guten Mann||der schönen Frau||dem jungen Kind||den alten Leuten|
|With an indefinite article + article||einem guten Mann||einer schönen Frau||einem jungen Kind||alten Leuten|
Remember: there is no indefinite article in Plural.
The table shows the declination of pronouns in the dative case.
|Type of person||Pronoun|
|First person singular||mir - me|
|Second person singular||dir - you|
|Third person singular (masculine, feminine, neuter)||ihm/ihr/ihm - him/her/it|
|First person plural||uns - us|
|Second person plural||euch - you|
|Third person plural||ihnen / Ihnen - them|
There are three different situations when to use the dative case.
In English the indirect object (dative) is often expressed by the preposition to and for. In addition, there are some verbs in German, that use the dative case as an indirect object of the verb and the accusative case as the direct object of the verb.
This table shows verbs that are frequently used with direct and indirect objects. Here the dative cases are highlighted.
|Verb + Translation||Example|
|zeigen - to show||Lukas zeigt Laura das Bild. - Lukas shows Laura the picture.|
|sagen - to say, to tell||Meine Tochter sagt mir immer die Wahrheit. - My daughter always tells me the truth.|
|schicken - to send||Du schickst mir einen Brief. - You send me a letter.|
|kaufen - to buy||Sie kauft ihrer Schwester ein Auto. - She buys a car for her mother.|
|holen - to get||Ich hole meinen Bruder das Glas. - I am getting the glas for my brother.|
|geben - to give||Ich gebe dir einen Ratschlag. - I'll give you a piece of advice.|
|bringen - to bring, take||Er bringt seiner Freundin Blumen. - He brings flowers to his girlfriend.|
There are some German verbs that only take the dative object. Let's have a look into this table.
|Verb + Translation||Example|
|folgen - to follow||Der Hund folgt seinem Herrchen. - The dog follows his master.|
|gefallen - to like, be pleasing||Das gefällt mir. - I like that.|
|gehören - to belong||Dieses Buch gehört meiner Mutter. - This book belongs to my mother.|
|helfen - to help||Der Lehrer hilft den Studenten. - The teacher helps the students.|
|danken - to thank (for)||Ich danke Ihnen. - Thank you (formal).|
|antworten - to answer/respond||Der Schüler antwortet dem Lehrer. - The student answers the teacher.|
This table shows preposition that usually use the dative case.
|aus - from||Ich komme aus der Türkei. - I am from turkey.|
|zu - to||Von Montag bis Freitag muss Lisa zur Schule gehen. - From Monday to Friday Lisa has to go to school.|
|nach - after||Nach dem Sport esse ich. - After sports I eat.|
|mit - with||Morgen gehe ich mit meinen Freunden ins Schwimmbad. - Tomorrow I will go to the pool with my friends.|
|bei - at||Mein Vater arbeitet bei der Polizei. - My father works at the police.|
|von - from/by||Das Geschenk ist von meiner Mutter. - The present is from my mother.|
|seit - since/for||Ich wohne seit einem Jahr in Paris. - I have been living in Paris for a year.|
|außer - but||Außer mir mögen alle Kichererbsen. - Everyone likes chickpeas but me.|
There are contracted prepositions (prepositions + article) that are used in the dative case and additionally expresses a position, location or a motion within a fixed location. These prepositions can answer the question wo? - in what place?/where?
Be careful: Verbs of movement + contracted prepositions always require the accusative case.
Here is a list of verbs that express position, location or a motion within a fixed location.
This table shows you examples of prepositions + dative case. Keep in mind: a contracted prepositions is not always required, only if the dative definite article dem or das is used.
|an - at||Die Mutter steht am (an + dem) Herd. - The mother is at the stove.|
|auf - on, in||Der Affe sitzt auf dem Baum. - The monkey is on the tree.|
|hinter - behind||Wir wohnem hinterm (hinter + dem) Berg. - We live behind the mountain.|
|in - in||Ich stehe im (in + dem) Garten. - I stand in the garden.|
|neben - beside/ next to||Ich sitze neben meinem besten Freund. - I am sitting next to my best friend.|
|über - over, above||Das Hufeisen hängt über der Tür. - The horsehoe hangs over the door.|
|unter - under, below||Der Hund liegt unterm (unter + dem) Bett. - The dog is lying under the bed.|
|vor - in front of, before||Die Zeitung liegt vor der Tür. - The newspaper is in front of the door.|
|zwischen - between||Das Buch liegt zwischen mir und dir. - The book is lying between you and me.|
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