Reasons why these parts of the sentences are accusative

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jaehee0113

New Member
Korean
Hi, I am studying the four different changes (acc, dat, gen, nom) and I have encountered the following sentences that are accusative but I do not understand why these are accusative. Any helps would be great..!

Masculine: Wir stellen die Leiter neben den Mülleimer.
Feminine: Ich habe den Schlüssel neben die Kerze gelegt.
Neutral: Die Katze hat neben das Katzenklo gepinkelt.
Plural: Er wird seinen Sohn neben die anderen Kinder setzen.

For example, the first sentence is saying that the rubbish bin (MUlleimer) is a accusative noun but I think this is a dative noun because the verb stellen is not directly pointing it to a rubbish bin (i.e. We put the ladder next to the rubbish bin which means that put's direct object is rather the ladder). ..Am I correct? or Am I incorrect?

please let me know !!! I am really desperate right now!
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    There are a number of prepositions, neben being one of them, that govern the dative case, if location (spacial or temporal) or environment are described and accusative when target, aim or goal are described.

    All four sentences talk about the target of an action and not of its location. That's why you need accusative. Wir stellen die Leiter neben den Mülleimer means that the ladder isn't yet next to the rubbish bin but as a result of the action it will be.

    If you know English well, it is easiest to understand, when you think of the preposition in: German in+dative is equivalent to English in and German in+accusative is equivalent to English into. More precisely: where in and into are both possible in English, in+accusative is used in German; where only in is possible in English, in+dative is used in German.
     

    Dan2

    Senior Member
    US
    English (US)
    Crossed with berndf, but perhaps this post will be of some further help, so I'll leave it.
    Hi, I am studying the four different changes cases (acc, dat, gen, nom) and I have encountered the following sentences with noun phrases that are accusative but I do not understand why these are accusative. Any helps help would be great..!
    "neben" is a preposition. Some prepositions can be followed by only one case, but several, like "neben", take the accusative when the object of the preposition is a goal reached by the action of the verb (usually, but not always involving, involving physical motion), and the dative when the object of the preposition represents the location when the verb action takes place.
    Wir stellen die Leiter neben den Mülleimer.
    ...
    For example, the first sentence is saying that the rubbish bin (MUlleimer) is a accusative noun but I think this is a dative noun because the verb stellen is not directly pointing it to a rubbish bin
    Here we move the ladder from some other place TO a position near the trash can; this is exactly what is required for an accusative with a preposition like "neben". On the other hand, if we said, "The ladder is near the trash can", then "the trash can" would be dative.
    We put the ladder next to the rubbish bin which means that put's direct object is rather the ladder).
    Yes, "put"'s direct object is "Leiter", and yes, "Leiter" is accusative, but that's not relevant to the choice of case for the object of the preposition.
    NeutralNeuter: Die Katze hat neben das Katzenklo gepinkelt.
    I would expect that both "neben das Klo" and "neben dem Klo" would be possible here, but I see two different images corresponding to these two cases.:)
     

    jaehee0113

    New Member
    Korean
    There are a number of prepositions, neben being one of them, that govern the dative case, if location (spacial or temporal) or environment are described and accusative when target, aim or goal are described.

    All four sentences talk about the target of an action and not of its location. That's why you need accusative. Wir stellen die Leiter neben den Mülleimer means that the ladder isn't yet next to the rubbish bin but as a result of the action it will be.

    If you know English well, it is easiest to understand, when you think of the preposition in: German in+dative is equivalent to English in and German in+accusative is equivalent to English into. More precisely: where in and into are both possible in English, in+accusative is used in German; where only in is possible in English, in+dative is used in German.

    Thanks for your prompt reply! I really appreciate it. I can understand what you are trying to say but this differentiation was not in my book. Thanks for the clarification. I might need some to digest a bit but I still think that the rubbish bin is the location where the ladder is going to be situated :(
     

    jaehee0113

    New Member
    Korean
    Here we move the ladder from some other place TO a position near the trash can; this is exactly what is required for an accusative with a preposition like "neben". On the other hand, if we said, "The ladder is near the trash can", then "the trash can" would be dative.

    .
    This is a very precise and lucid definition! Thanks!
     

    jaehee0113

    New Member
    Korean
    Exactly, where it is going to be situated as a result of the action of putting it there but where it isn't now.

    Yup yup! I fully understand now ! I set the target (the rubbish) and place the ladder next to it hence it is accusative!
     

    jaehee0113

    New Member
    Korean
    and it seems that next to SOMETHING will always be dative when the DO has already happened as a result of the verb (such as the dog sleeps next to the sofa such as Der Hund liegt neben dem Sofa).
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    and it seems that next to SOMETHING will always be dative when the DO has already happened as a result of the verb (such as the dog sleeps next to the sofa such as Der Hund liegt neben dem Sofa).
    Precisely.

    EDIT: Actually not quite: Dative means that this is the location, the environment of condition where the action happens (if you call lying an "action":D). There is no relation to a result of any action. The dog may always have been lying next to the sofa, it might have been born there. The sentence says nothing about how the dog came to lying there.
     
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    jaehee0113

    New Member
    Korean
    Hi people, I am learning auf right now and I sort of cannot apply the above principle to these examples:

    Martin legt sich auf das Sofa


    Ich sitze auf der Mauer.

    The verbs have already finished (Martin laying down on the sofa and I sit on the wall), I cannot see why one is accusative and one is dative any helps would be greatly appreciated.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Be careful not to confuse the verbs lay (German legen) and lie (German liegen). The verb lay (legen) always expresses a change of location. The auf/in/neben...+accusative is always concerned with changes in/of the described location or condition. Auf/in/neben...+dative is concerned with the location or condition itself.
     

    jaehee0113

    New Member
    Korean
    Be careful not to confuse the verbs lay (German legen) and lie (German liegen). The verb lay (legen) always expresses a change of location. The auf/in/neben...+accusative is always concerned with changes in/of the described location or condition. Auf/in/neben...+dative is concerned with the location or condition itself.
    hmm. how does the change work in the above example? I don't quite get it nothing has changed though...
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    hmm. how does the change work in the above example? I don't quite get it nothing has changed though...
    That's what the verb legen (lay) means. It means that you cause something to lie. This implies that he/she/it wasn't lying before or that if was lying at a different location before. The verb legen always implies change. It describes the action and the moment of change.

    Martin legt sich auf das Sofa means that he wasn't lying there before. If you don't want to imply change you have to say Martin liegt auf dem Sofa. I can only once again warn you not to confuse the verbs liegen and legen. It is a very common mistake, especially by people who leaned German after English because even native speakers of English have sometimes trouble getting the distinction between lie and lay right.
     
    Last edited:

    jaehee0113

    New Member
    Korean
    I have found a very interesting example for those of you who might also want to find out about the difference between accusative and dative. Consider the following example:

    Er geht auf die Straße.

    Er gehf auf der Straße.

    The first one means He walks into the street and the second one is 'He is walking in the street' so the first one indicates the changes (not in the street -> the street) and the second one is already in the street so in terms of the location, he is static.

    expanding this example to add the starting point:

    Er geht aus dem Laden auf die Straße. (He walks out of the store and is going to the street)

    Er geht aus dem Laden auf der Straße. (He went out of the store and now is on the street walking)
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Er geht aus dem Laden auf der Straße. (He went out of the store and now is on the street walking)
    He went out of the store which is located in the street. What you want to say requires two separate clauses:
    Er geht aus dem Laden und ist jetzt auf der Straße.
     
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