dative case vs accusative case rule for verbs

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flyingwitch

Senior Member
Czech
Hello.

When should I use the dative case and when the accusative case? I am talking about the use of verbs, not prepositions.

Examples:

1) Ich sehe eine Frau. (accusative)

2) Ich habe dich dort zitiert. (accusative)

I have been learning German for about a year now, and the way I find out which case to use in German is that I think of which case would I use in the same sentence in Czech. It works for about 80% of all times, but here are some examples, when that method doesn't work:

3) Folgen Sie mir bitte! (dative in German, but accusative in Czech)

4) Dieser Deutsche versteht dich auch nicht. (accusative in German, but dative in Czech)

Thank you.
 
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  • Kajjo

    Senior Member
    When should I use the dative case and when the accusative case?
    You have to memorize this together with the verbs. I recommend to learn entire patterns ("jemandem etwas geben"; in dictionaries abbreviated: "jdm etwas geben") rather then naked verbs ("geben").

    Good dictionaries give the case of objects and also information of transitivity. Transitive verbs have at least one accusative object. Example: geben und folgen auf Linguee.de. Compare folgen auf Collins with "jdm" and "intransitive" tag).

    In German there are no strict rules that allow laymen to derive the case of an object. German verbs may govern a genitive, dative, accusative or prepositional object and many German verbs even govern more than one object, e.g. dative and accusative or two accusatives. This simply has to be memorized.
     

    flyingwitch

    Senior Member
    Czech
    @DonHolgo
    In the Czech language it is very easy for a native speaker to recognize which of the seven cases is used in a sentence. There is a limited list of questions to ask, by finding the answers to them you find, which case is used. I am not a Czech language as a foreign language teacher, so I don't know how this thing would be explained to a foreigner though.

    I have conducted a research online, what should it be like in German. I am thinking of this sentence:

    5) I am giving a book to the girl.

    I - subject (who is doing the action)
    the girl - indirect object (a person or thing that "gets" the direct object), used with dative case
    a book - direct object (who receives the action), used with accusative case


    That should be the rule. Now let's have a look at the four sentences from the first post:

    1) Ich sehe eine Frau. (accusative), ok, "die Frau" is the direct object - she receives the action

    2) Ich habe dich dort zitiert. (accusative), ok "du" ist the direct object - receives the action

    3) Folgen Sie mir bitte! (dative in German, but accusative in Czech), according to the mentioned rule, "ich" should be the indirect object - therefore the dative should be used. But I don't understand what is the direct object here. What am I getting? (if they follow me)

    4) Dieser Deutsche versteht dich auch nicht. (accusative), "du" should be the direct object, that receives the action. Although I don't understand it, I think that the mentioned rule is applied here.

    The only issue now is with the application of the mentioned rule in the 3) sentence...

    EDIT: It will probably be a little more difficult... Another sentences:

    6) "Ich glaube dir." (dative)

    7) "Ich glaube die Geschichte." (accusative)

    So "glauben" can be used both with dative and accusative case...
     
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    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    3) Folgen Sie mir bitte! (dative in German, but accusative in Czech), according to the mentioned rule, "ich" should be the indirect object - therefore the dative should be used. But I don't understand what is the direct object here. What am I getting? (if they follow me)
    Well, your "rule" doesn't work with "folgen". (in French "suivre" (=folgen) is used with accusative case, too - which seems more logical)

    My advice:
    Just learn by heart that it is "jemandem folgen", don't try to find an explanation.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    I wouldn't learn by heart all of the verbs with their corresponding object because it's mostly intuitive if you have a similar distinction in your native language.

    For example out of this list most of the verbs which are counterintuitive to me are some of the ones where it says only "+D":

    jdm ausweichen, jdm begegnen, jdm drohen, jdm folgen, jdm gehorchen, jdm glauben, jdm gratulieren, jdm helfen, jdm vertrauen, jdm widersprechen, jdm zuhören, jdm zuschauen, jdm zusehen, jdm zustimmen

    Also there's a reduced (closed?) list of verbs which can take two direct objects:

    jdn etw abfragen, jdn etw angehen, jdn etw fragen, jdn etw kosten, jdn etw lehren, jdn etw nennen
     

    Demiurg

    Senior Member
    German
    3) Folgen Sie mir bitte! (dative in German, but accusative in Czech), according to the mentioned rule, "ich" should be the indirect object - therefore the dative should be used. But I don't understand what is the direct object here. What am I getting? (if they follow me)
    That one is strange indeed:

    Er folgt mir. (dative)
    Er verfolgt mich. (accusative)

    6) "Ich glaube dir." (dative)
    7) "Ich glaube die Geschichte." (accusative)

    So "glauben" can be used both with dative and accusative case...
    And even in the same sentence. ;)

    Ich glaube dir die Geschichte.
    Ich glaube es dir.

    It's analogous to "geben":

    Ich gebe dir das Buch.
    Ich gebe es dir.
     
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