Direct and Indirect Object – Akkusativ and Dativ Cases

Week 1 was about easily identifying the gender of German nouns in the Nominative Case – der, die and das. In English, this simply refers to ‘the’. What I left out was the Plural form, which in the Nominative case is ‘die’.  The Nominative Case refers to the subject of a sentence.

This week I thought I would build from last week and the Nominative Case and focus on two additional Cases: The Akkusativ and Dativ Case forms.

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In the simplest of terms;

The Akkusativ Case in a sentence marks the direct object of a transitive verb. To determine if this Case is used, just ask: who or what is the verb referring to. Only the male gender changes in the Akkusativ Case. The rest remain the same. Simple! 🙂

eg: Wir sehen den Film. (We are watching the film.)

The Dativ Case refers to the indirect object of a sentence. To determine if this Case is used, just ask: TO whom or FOR whom is the verb being done. It is a little more complicated as all the genders have changes. But there is a simple way to remember them. If you look at the endings (in red) in the image above for the dative case, think of it as MR MAN, without the ‘A’. deM,deR,deM,deN. You won’t ever forget it then.

eg: Ich gebe der Frau ein Buch./Ich gebe dem Mann ein Buch. (I am giving the lady/the Man a book.)

In addition, there are two things to know when using the Dativ Case (1) Nouns in the Dativ plural add an -n, unless the noun ends with an -n or an -s. For example: den Kindern,  den Autos; (2) Some verbs specifically use the Dativ Case. Commonly used verbs are seen below:

Next, I will be building up on these Cases to include pronouns, indefinite articles and prepositions.

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