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Verbs with Dative Objects

If you're studying German, you're learning about the accusative and dative cases. You've likely looked at many sentences with a direct and indirect object that look similar to this one:

 

Also: Ich schenke ihm ein Ticket fürs Theater.

So, I give him a ticket to the theater.

Caption 15, Nicos Weg: Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

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In the sentence above, the ticket is the direct object and the pronoun "him" is the indirect object in the dative case, which is why it is ihm and not ihn. Generally in German, the direct object is associated with the accusative case. Here's a classic example, with the accusative personal pronoun dich as the direct object:

 

Weil ich dich liebe, noch immer und mehr.

Because I love you, still and more.

Caption 9, Marius Müller-Westernhagen Weil Ich Dich Liebe

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However, there are a number of common verbs that normally take an object in the dative case, even when there is no object with the accusative case in the sentence. You may already be familiar with this sort of structure from these common phrases:

 

Wir lassen jetzt die Sabine unser Gericht probieren und hoffen, dass es ihr schmeckt.

We'll now let Sabine taste our dish and hope that she likes it.

Captions 74-75, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte Rheinland-Pfalz

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Ich habe den ersten Teil schon gesehen und der hat mir sehr gut gefallen.

I saw the first part already and I liked it a lot.

Caption 43, Diane erklärt: Fragewörter

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Das braune Portemonnaie gehört dir, oder?

The brown wallet belongs to you, right?

Caption 18, Nicos Weg: Meine Familie

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Here are some other verbs that follow this pattern, each with a dative personal pronoun:

 

Du kannst mir vertrauen. Ich will dir helfen.

You can trust me. I want to help you.

Caption 7, Die Pfefferkörner: Cybermobbing

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Und ich hätte wirklich stundenlang dir zuhören können.

And I really could have listened to you for hours.

Caption 42, The Voice of German: Isabel Nolte singt „Als ich fortging“

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Lisa, ich gratuliere dir.

Lisa, I congratulate you.

Caption 7, Nicos Weg: Das ist mir wichtig!

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Bleib bei mir, verzeih mir.

Stay with me, forgive me.

Caption 16, Clueso: Weil ich dich liebe

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Further Learning
Try to create sentences with other common verbs that follow this pattern: danken, dienen, einfallen, fehlen, folgengelingenpassieren, schwer fallenwehtun, and widersprechen. You can find an extensive list on this website and will also find examples with these verbs on Yabla German.

German Verbs and their Prepositions, Part II

In a previous lesson, we looked at the topic of verbs that require a different preposition than might be expected if you are familiar with the English language. Let's continue with some common verb-preposition pairings that you should memorize.

In English we ask about something, but in German you will hear nach etwas fragen. There is also sich nach etwas erkundigen — "to inquire about something." The preposition nach is generally translated as "after," but not in this context.

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Mit dem Fragewort "wo" fragt man nach dem Ort.

With the interrogative word "wo" one asks about the place.

Caption 8, Diane erklärt - Fragewörter

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Take a look below at the preposition used with the reflexive verb sich entscheiden.

 

Ich hab mich für ein Entrecôte entschieden.

I decided on an entrecôte.

Caption 5, Kochrezepte - Steak richtig braten

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Although you might hear the verb sich bewerben followed by the preposition für, this is actually incorrect. It is correct to use the preposition um, which is also used with the phrases konkurrieren um ("to compete for") and kämpfen um ("to fight for"). 

 

Eine Frau, die ein zweijähriges Kind hat,

A woman who has a two-year-old child

bewirbt sich in Deutschland um eine Stelle.

applies for a job in Germany.

Caption 37, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest

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The preposition an is only sometimes translated as "on" in English. Take a look at this example with the verb "to believe."

 

Es wär schön blöd, nicht an Wunder zu glauben.

It would be pretty stupid not to believe in miracles.

Caption 11, Wincent Weiss - An Wunder

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Further Learning
How would you translate the following phrases? Sich erinnern anan jemanden schreiben, an etwas leidenan jemanden vermieten, sich an etwas gewöhnen. If you are not sure, search for examples on Yabla German. For more prepositions, check out our recent lessons on sentences with identical prefixes and prepositions if you missed them.  

German Preposition Cases, Part II

This week we're going to continue to go through cases used with German prepositions. If you are an advanced German speaker, this will be nothing new for you, but will hopefully be helpful for beginners as a learning tool and for intermediate German speakers as a refresher. Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that are modified by prepositions take either the accusative, dative, or genitive case, but to make things slightly confusing, some prepositions require either the accusative or dative case, depending upon the context. In Part II today, let's examine the prepositions that always require the dative case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 

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Let's start out by taking a look at the dative case for nouns as follows for the definite article "the," with the nominative case followed by the dative case: 

 

der => dem
die => der
das => dem

 

And for the indefinite article

 

ein (masculine) => einem
eine => einer
ein (neuter) => einem

 

And for the singular and plural personal pronouns "I," "you," "he," "she," , "it," "we," and "they":

 

ich => mir
du => dir
Sie
(formal "you") => Ihnen
er 
=> ihm
sie 
=> ihr
es
=> ihm
ihr => euch

wir => uns
sie
=> ihnen
Sie (formal "you" plural) => Ihnen

 

Remember too that if there is no definite or indefinite article, the adjective must still take the case appropriate for its gender with the preposition.

 

The common German prepositions that require the dative case of nouns and pronouns are aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, and zu. Here are some examples from Yabla German. The article in the feminine noun die Mode becomes der in the dative case.

 

Die gute alte Kaffeemaschine

The good old coffee machine

ist dabei etwas aus der Mode geraten.

has to some extent gone out of style in the process.

Caption 12, Eva zeigt uns - wie man Kaffee kocht

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Here, the nominative pronoun ich becomes mir in the dative case:

 

In diesem Haus wohnen außer mir

In this house live, other than me,

noch mehrere Familien in Mietwohnungen.

several other families in rental apartments.

Captions 5-6, Zu Besuch bei Jenny - Am Hauseingang

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Here, the indefinite feminine article eine (for die Flasche) becomes einer in the dative case, and the neuter ein (for das Glas) becomes the dative einem:

 

Ob es sich bei einer Flasche oder einem Glas um eine Mehrweg- oder Pfandflasche handelt...

With a bottle or a jar, whether it happens to be returnable or a bottle with a deposit...

Caption 48, Eva erklärt - Mülltrennung

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The dative preposition gegenüber is a bit unusual, in that when it is used on its own, it falls after the item it modifies:

 

Dem Clubhaus gegenüber liegt ein feiner Sandstrand.

Across from the clubhouse lies a fine sandy beach.

Caption 31, Golf - in Wien

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You can see this above in the correct word order dem Clubhaus gegenüber (not gegenüber dem Clubhaus!). If you wanted to place gegenüber before das Clubhaus, however, you must add the dative preposition von to the mix. So it would also be acceptable to formulate the sentence above as Gegenüber von dem Clubhaus liegt ein feiner Sandstrand. This would be translated exactly the same into English.

 

Here, the nominative pronoun ihr becomes euch in the dative case:

 

Jasmin und ich werden heute mit euch üben.

Jasmin and I will practice with you today.

Caption 2, Diane erklärt - Fragewörter

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And here, the masculine indefinite article ein (for der Monat) becomes the dative einem:

 

Erst nach einem Monat bleibt das Küken fast den ganzen Tag alleine.

Only after a month, the chick stays alone almost all day.

Caption 30, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten

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The feminine definite article die (for die Römerzeit) becomes the dative der:

 

... seit der Römerzeit ein befestigter Alpenübergang.

... since Roman times a fortified Alpine crossing.

Caption 23, Die letzten Paradiese - Die Schönheit der Alpen 2

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With the preposition von, the nominative pronoun er becomes the dative pronoun ihm:

 

Es ist genau das, was seine Anhänger von ihm hören wollen.

It is exactly what his supporters want to hear from him.

Caption 25, Tagesschau - Amtseinführung von Donald Trump 

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And finishing up our A to Z of dative pronouns, the nominative pronoun du becomes dir in the dative:

 

Sorry, das läuft auf meinem alten Laptop nicht. Da müssen wir zu dir.

Sorry, this doesn't run on my old laptop. We'll have to go to your place.

Caption 35, Die Pfefferkörner - Gerüchteküche

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Further Learning
To recap, the common German prepositions that require the dative case of nouns and pronouns are aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, and zu. Go to Yabla German to look for more examples of prepositions whose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives take only the dative case. Also review Part I in this series about prepositions that require the accusative case.

Listen up!

Have you noticed that there is not only the verb hören in German, but also anhören and zuhören? Unfortunately, the difference between these three can’t exactly be equated with the difference between “to listen” and “to hear” in English. Let’s try to get to the bottom of how each one is used.  

Hören without any prefixes can actually be translated as both “to hear” and “to listen,” depending on the context.

 

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Hört ihr es? Mein Wasser fängt gerade an zu kochen.

Do you hear it? My water is just starting to boil.

Caption 35, Cannelloni - mit Jenny - Part 1

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Das haben wohl schon so einige Kinder von ihren Eltern zu hören bekommen.

Quite a few children have gotten to hear that from their parents.

Caption 2, Kochhaus Berlin - Kochen mit Kindern

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OK, ich höre. Wer beginnt?

OK, I am listening. Who will begin?

Caption 26, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Der Relativsatz - Part 16

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Zuhören is used to describe listening intently or paying attention. 

 

Du musst genau zuhören, was gesprochen wird,

You have to listen carefully to what is said,

Caption 39, German Intro - Cettina

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„Und nun hör zu:" "Der Sommer ist warm und kurz."

"And now listen up. "Summer is warm and short."

Captions 29-30, Piggeldy und Frederick - Sommer

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Sich etwas anhören describes listening to something specific that requires some time, for example, a song or an album. This is a bit confusing as hören is also used to talk about listening to music. If you understand the difference between sehen and sich etwas ansehen, this may help you with the distinction between hören and sich etwas anhören. Perhaps it is not unlike "to have a good look" or "to have a listen."

 

Wir möchten uns ein bisschen von seiner Lebensgeschichte anhören.

We would like to hear a bit about his life story.

Caption 4, Dieter Kränzlein - Bildhauer - Part 1

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Und was erwartet uns, wenn wir uns das Album anhören?

And what awaits us [can we expect] when we listen to the album?

Caption 13, Sons of Sounds - Open-Air in Karlsruhe

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At the same time, sich anhören is also used to talk about something (for example, an idea or suggestion) that “sounds good” or “sounds bad.” Take a look at the structures below: 

 

OK, das hört sich gut an. Ich komme gerne mit.

OK, that sounds good. I'll gladly come along.

Caption 44, Diane erklärt - Fragewörter

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Im Präteritum würde sich das so anhören.

In the preterite [narrative past in German], it would sound like this.

Caption 31, Konjugation - Das Verb „mögen“

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Now for a false friend alert: The verb überhören does not mean "to overhear" in the English sense. It actually means to ignore or miss something one has heard. 

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Further Learning
Search Yabla German for more examples of these verbs to develop your understanding of how they are used. Next week, we’ll look at a few words that contain the word hören, but have little to do with listening or hearing.  

Wann/Wenn/Als

In English there is only one word for “when,” but in German there are three words: wann, wenn, and als. In German, it’s very important to use the correct word, otherwise the whole meaning of the sentence can change.

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Wann is a question word used to ask “at what time” directly as a question, as Diane demonstrates:

 

Und wann läuft der?

And when does it start [run]?

Caption 40, Diane erklärt - Fragewörter

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When you ask a question about the past, you also need to use wann:

 

Wann hast du Wiener Kurti zuletzt gesehen?

When did you last see "Wiener Kurti" [a nickname]?

Caption 67, Alexander Hauff - Showreel - Part 2

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Or when you ask indirectly, as Piggeldy does to Frederick when talking about the arrival of summer:

 

Dann wollen wir mal den Frühling fragen, wann der Sommer kommt.

Then we want to ask spring when summer is coming.

Caption 17, Piggeldy und Frederick - Sommer

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Wenn is the most common form of “when,” referring to time in the following examples:

 

Wenn er hinter der Bar steht, gibt er alles, wie viele seiner Kollegen.

When he is standing behind the bar, he gives it everything, like many of his colleagues.

Caption 34, Cocktails mixen - So „shaken“ die Besten

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When planning a journey, you would use wenn as shown here:

 

OK, und wenn ich im Europapark bin, wo kann ich dann übernachten?

OK, and when I arrive at Europapark, where can I spend the night [stay]?

Caption 21, Reiseplanung - Anruf bei einem Reisebüro

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Wenn doesn’t just mean “when”; in German it is also used to express “if”:

 

Wir würden uns freuen, wenn alle Menschen auf PETA de [www.peta.de] unsere Onlinepetition unterstützen.

We would be happy, if all people would support our online petition on PETA de [www.peta.de].

Caption 13, PETA-Aktion - Gegen das Wal-Massaker

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

And the third word for “when” is als, which is always used to describe an event that has already happened or a single point in time. Wann or wenn just wouldn’t be correct here. Remember this and you’re halfway there!

 

Und haben Sie schon mal gedacht irgendwann, als Sie Ihre Fotos gesehen haben...

And did you ever think, at some point, when you saw your photos...

Caption 30, Bambi-Verleihung - No-Gos auf dem Roten Teppich

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It's also shown here as Angela Merkel talks about a past atrocity:

 

Als im Herbst eine rechtsextremistische Terror- und Mörderbande aufgedeckt wurde.

When in the fall a right-wing extremist terrorist [organization] was uncovered.

Caption 58, Angela Merkel - Neujahrsansprache - Part 1

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So as you see, distinguishing between wann, wenn, and als is not so difficult if you remember the basics outlined above!

 

Vocabulary

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