Du musst mir etwas versprechen (transitive verb, accusative, dative?)

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venkatkk

Senior Member
Tamil
If a verb is transitive does that mean it will always take akkusativ? And if a verb is intransitive does it always take the dative?

“Wir lesen es nachts oder im Keller, genau wie die anderen - aber du musst mir etwas versprechen.”

in the sentence above versprechen is used with the dativ, but the Oxford german dictionary lists it as a transitive verb and the entry below says jmdm. etw. versprechen which suggests that versprechen takes dativ here. I am just a bit confused cause I thought transitive verbs necessarily have a direct object and that the akkusativ is used for the direct object. According to my understanding if a verb is transitive, I thought the akkusativ would automatically be applied. This does not seem to hold up in many cases. Could someone please clarify this point?
 
  • Kajjo

    Senior Member
    In German, transitive verbs can govern an accusative object; sometimes the accusative object is obligatory, sometimes it is facultative (optional). Transitive verbs can in addition also govern dative, genitive, or prepositional objects.

    Ich verspreche dir etwas.
    <etwas = accusative object>
    <dir = additional dative object>

    Ich verspreche es.
    <es = accusative object>


    Ich esse. <no obligatory object>
    Ich esse gerade/noch/später/nachher. <some possible adverbs>


    Ich esse ein Schnitzel. <with optional accusative object>
    Ich esse gerade ein Schnitzel. <additional adverb>
    <ein Schnitzel = accusative object>


    canoonet - Verb: Transitive und intransitive Verben

    Please note that the terms "direct object" (to mean "accusative object") and "indirect object (to mean "dative object) are not part of the German grammar and should not be used. Please always refer to the objects by the case, i.e. accusative, dative, genitive objects, and of course prepositional objects.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    And if a verb is intransitive does it always take the dative?
    Duden defines it as: Duden | intransitiv | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Synonyme, Herkunft
    kein Akkusativobjekt nach sich ziehend und kein persönliches Passiv bildend; nicht zielend
    It has no accusative object and cannot build a personal passive sentence. It does not point to a destination.

    Usually it has a dative object. Some verbs require a dative object. It can have no object; and it can even have a genitive object. But genitive objects are seldom used.
    If the verb has an accussative and a dative object it is not intransitiv but transitive.

    An example is "blühen". It has no accussative object.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    “Wir lesen es nachts oder im Keller, genau wie die anderen - aber du musst mir etwas versprechen.”

    [...] I am just a bit confused cause I thought transitive verbs necessarily have a direct object and that the akkusativ is used for the direct object.
    "versprechen" has an accusative (direct) object, which is "etwas". A transitive verb can also have a second object (here this is "mir").

    According to my understanding if a verb is transitive, I thought the akkusativ would automatically be applied.
    Correct. For example: "Ich trinke einen Apfesaft": The verb "trinken" is transitive.

    But sometimes transitive verbs are used as intransitive. For example: "Ich trinke.". The verb "trinke" is used here as intransitive. (The examples are taken from canoo.net).
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    if a verb is intransitive does it always take the dative?
    Darauf gibt canoonet - Kajjo's Link - eine klare Antwort:
    Intransitive verbs
    Intransitive verbs are verbs that cannot be used with an accusative object. It is not relevant whether they have no complements (absolute verbs) or whether they are used with other complements. For example:
    Sie schlafen. absolute verb
    Sie half dem Kind. with dative object
    Ich bedarf deiner Hilfe. with genitive object
    Wir warten auf den Bus. with prepositional object
    Die Sitzung dauert lange. with adverbial
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Please note that the terms "direct object" (to mean "accusative object") and "indirect object (to mean "dative object) are not part of the German grammar and should not be used.
    I wouldn't know why.
    Transitive verbs can in addition also govern dative, genitive, or prepositional objects.
    You could describe (comparatively rare) cases like essen vs. etwas essen like that. But I think it makes more sense to understand intransitive, transitive and reflexive variants of the same base verb always as distinct lexical objects, like lagern and etwas belagern; only that etwas essen has a null-prefix.
     
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