Home German Language The German Dative Case: The Full Fast-and-Simple Information

The German Dative Case: The Full Fast-and-Simple Information

The German Dative Case: The Full Fast-and-Simple Information



If you wish to converse correct German, it’s important to actually know your circumstances.

German has 4 circumstances: nominative, accusative, genitive and dative.

This text goes to give attention to the one most language learners come to worry… the German dative!

Don’t fear, we’re going to make it as straightforward as attainable for you. 


What Is the German Dative?

The dative’s most important function is to level out the “oblique object”. That’s the individual or factor that’s receiving the “direct object”. For instance:

Ich gebe der Frau einen Stift. (I give the lady a pen.)

Within the above sentence, the “pen” is the factor being “given”, the motion of the verb is being completed to it. This makes it the direct object and so it goes within the accusative case.

The “lady” is receiving this direct object, making her the oblique object and placing her within the dative case. 

One motive learners grapple with the German dative a lot greater than some other case is as a result of it modifications each particular and indefinite article.

Within the instance above, you’ll discover how die Frau has modified to der FrauIt is because the dative modifications the female particular article from die to der.

If a sentence or clause is within the dative case, it is advisable be sure to’re utilizing dative articles with nouns. As we don’t change articles in English, this may be tough for learners to get their heads round.

It’s necessary to check these remoted examples, so we will study the principles and perceive how the dative works.

Nevertheless, when you bear in mind the next sample of modifications, you’ll discover your understanding of German improves by leaps and bounds.

German Dative Verbs

Some German verbs all the time require the dative case—whether or not the next noun is the oblique object or not. Some notable ones are:

Right here’s an instance of how these verbs work:

Kannst du mir bitte helfen? (Are you able to please assist me?)

On this occasion, though “me” is the direct object and would often take the accusative, helfen forces it to be within the dative.

German Dative Prepositions

There may be additionally a bunch of German prepositions that have to be adopted by the dative case. Do that useful model of “On the Stunning Blue Danube” for remembering these prepositions:

Sie kommt aus der Turkei. (She comes from Turkey.)

Be aware: In German, Turkey (the nation, not the chook!) interprets as die Turkei—it all the time has a particular article.

Combined German Prepositions

Right here we have now a bunch of prepositions that, simply to confuse issues, can take both the accusative or dative case. If there isn’t a motion or change of state within the sentence, you’ll want to make use of the dative.

So, for instance:

Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch. (The ebook is mendacity on the desk.)

Ich lege das Buch auf den Tisch. (I lay the ebook onto the desk.)

Within the high sentence, the ebook is mendacity nonetheless on the desk. There may be no motion within the sentence, so auf triggers the dative case. Subsequently, der Tisch modifications to dem Tisch

Whereas within the backside sentence, the ebook is being moved onto the desk. Der Tisch wants to alter to den Tisch as a result of the motion together with auf requires the accusative case.

German Dative Particular Articles

Masculine Particular Article

Within the dative case, as an alternative of taking their regular der, masculine nouns want to make use of dem as their particular article.

Ich gebe dem Hund einen Ball.  (I give the canine a ball.)

Ich zeige dem Mann den Ausweg.  (I present the person the exit.) 

Female Particular Article

We additionally want to alter the female particular article. Der is used as an alternative of die.

Er hat der Frau den Tisch verkauft. (He offered the desk to the lady.) 

Germans will typically put the particular article earlier than names to be able to create a pleasant, acquainted really feel. However you continue to have to respect the grammar guidelines: 

Wir backen der Julia einen Kuchen. (We’re baking a cake for Julia.)

Neuter Particular Article

The particular article for impartial nouns, das, modifications to dem. Similar to the masculine one did!

Er gibt dem Pferd das Heu. (He provides the horse the hay.)

Don’t get caught out with the phrase das Mädchen. Regardless of describing a lady, this phrase is grammatically neuter! 

Ich habe dem Mädchen einen Witz erzählt. (I instructed the woman a joke.)

Plural Particular Article

In addition to altering the plural particular article to den, we additionally want so as to add an “-n” or “-en” ending to the plural noun. So, die Schüler (the pupils) goes to den Schülerwithin the dative: 

Der Lehrer gibt den Schülern viele Hausaufgaben.  (The instructor provides the pupils a lot of homework.)

You don’t want so as to add something if the plural kind already ends on an -n, nevertheless, like die Eltern (the mother and father).

Ich habe den Eltern die Bilder gezeigt. (I confirmed the pictures to the mother and father.)

German Dative Indefinite Articles

Masculine Indefinite Article

It’s not simply particular articles which might be modified by the dative—indefinite ones get in on the motion too! In relation to masculine nouns, ein turns into einem.

Ich bin mit einem Freund ins Kino gegangen. (I went to the cinema with a pal.)

Bei einem Notfall rufen Sie die Polizei. (In an emergency, name the police.) 

Female Indefinite Article

The sample with indefinite articles follows that of the particular articles. So, die modifications to der. Meaning eine will change to einer.

Sie hat einer Tante das Geld gegeben. (She gave the cash to an aunt.)

Das habe ich in einer Zeitung gelesen. (I learn that in a newspaper.)

Neuter Indefinite Article

Neuter nouns want einem as an alternative of ein.

Ein Esel ist einem Pferd sehr ähnlich. (A donkey is similar to a horse.)

Ich habe nichts außer einem Fenster gebrochen. (I didn’t break something besides a window.)


As in English, there isn’t a indefinite article for plurals. Nevertheless, we do use the article kein to negate plurals. In English, that is often translated as “not a” or “not any.”

Wir arbeiten mit keinen Politikern zusammen. (We work with no politicians. / We don’t work with any politicians.) 

Whereas in English, there are just a few totally different constructions that get throughout the identical concept, in German you’ll all the time be utilizing kein.

Sentence Construction with Dative Nouns and Pronouns 

Now that you simply’ve gotten the low-down on oblique objects, you is perhaps questioning what order they go in if there’s already a direct object within the sentence. 


Usually, in a sentence with two nouns, the dative noun goes earlier than the accusative one: 


Ich gebe der Frau das Geld. (I give the cash to the lady.) 


Nevertheless, when certainly one of these objects turns into a pronoun, the pronoun wants to come back first:


Ich gebe es der Frau.  (I give it to the lady.)
Ich gebe ihr das Geld. (I give the cash to her.)


And lastly, if there are two pronouns within the sentence, the accusative pronoun takes the lead and the dative pronoun goes second: 


Ich gebe es ihr. (I give it to her.)

Der Wemfall: Is That “Who” or “Whom”?

Even Germans discover the dative onerous to grasp! And for one motive particularly—its impact on the phrase wer (who). This facet has even led to Germans coining the nickname der Wemfall  for the dative.

Der Wemfall may very well be translated into English as “the whom-case.” Certainly, English used to have a dative case and “whom” is a remnant of this—however who actually is aware of tips on how to use “whom” accurately?

Germans typically have bother remembering that wer is modified to wem in the dative, and that’s why they’ve provide you with the nickname der Wemfall.

Each time wer (who) is present in a dative clause, it modifications to wem.

Wem hat er das Ticket gegeben? (To whom did he give the ticket?)

If you happen to’re speaking about folks, take a look at our publish on the dative pronouns in German.

How one can Follow the German Dative

Getting publicity to the dative because it’s utilized in pure German speech can be necessary. Now that you simply’re completed studying this publish, chances are you’ll surprise what the following step can be.

Listed here are some assets that you should utilize to check the dative case, or a minimum of to look at it utilized in numerous examples. 

  • Clozemaster: This app focuses on serving to you prepare your grammar abilities by way of repetition. You’ll be able to select the precise grammar rule to give attention to and apply it by typing in your personal reply or selecting one. 
  • FluentU: This language studying program helps you to study by way of genuine German movies. You’ll be able to watch how native audio system use the dative case all through numerous examples and study this case in context. Plus, with every video, you’ll get interactive subtitles that will help you study sooner. 
  • Deutsche Welle: You should use this web site to learn extra in regards to the dative case or to take heed to it being utilized in motion by way of totally different audio and video sequence. The content material is organized by degree, so that you’ll hear this case utilized in conditions which might be simply comprehensible and degree applicable. 


Hopefully, this text has given you all of the weapons wanted to deal with the dastardly dative case! Finally, understanding all of the circumstances will enable you to to raised perceive and converse German.

So time to get cracking on that dative!