Easy Learning German

Verbs followed by the dative case - Easy Learning Grammar German

1 Verbs with a direct and indirect object

  • Some verbs are generally used with a direct object and an indirect object. For example, in the English sentence, She gave me a book, the direct object of gave is a book and would be in the accusative case in German, and me (= to me) is the indirect object and would be in the dative case in German.
Sie gab mir ein Buch.She gave me a book.
direct object = ein Buch
indirect object = mir
  • In German, as in English, this type of verb is usually concerned with giving or telling someone something, or with doing something for someone else.
Sie erzählte ihm eine Geschichte.She told him a story.
direct object = eine Geschichte
indirect object = ihm
  • Note that the normal word order after such verbs is for the direct object to follow the indirect, EXCEPT where the direct object is a personal pronoun.
Kaufst du mir das Buch?Will you buy me the book?
Kaufst du es mir?Will you buy it for me?
  • Here are some of the most common examples of verbs which are used with both a direct and an indirect object:
anbietento offer
Sie bot ihr die Arbeitsstelle an.She offered her the job.
bringento bring
Bringst du mir eins?Will you bring me one?
beweisento prove
Können Sie es mir beweisen?Can you prove it to me?
fehlento be absent or missing
Mir fehlt das nötige Geld.I don’t have enough money.
gebento give
Gib mir das sofort!Give me that now!
schenkento give (as a present)
Ich schenke ihr einen Computer zum Geburtstag.I’m giving her a computer for her birthday.
schreibento write
Schreib ihm mal einen Brief.Write him a letter sometime.
zeigento show
Zeig es mir!Show me it!

2 Verbs with their object in the dative

  • Certain verbs in German, such as helfen (meaning to help) can ONLY be followed by an object in the dative case. In many cases, their English equivalents have a direct object, and you need to learn the most common verbs which are different in this way.
  • Here are some of the most common ones.
begegnento bump into, meet
Er ist seinem Freund in der Stadt begegnet.He bumped into his friend in town.
gehörento belong to
Wem gehört dieses Buch?Whose book is this?
helfento help
Er wollte ihr nicht helfen.He refused to help her.
dankento thank
Ich danke dir!Thank you!
schadento damage
Rauchen schadet der GesundheitSmoking is bad for your health.
schmeckento taste
Das Essen hat ihnen gut geschmeckt.They enjoyed the meal.
trauento trust
Ich traue dir nicht.I don’t trust you.
Key points
  • Some German verbs are usually used with a direct AND an indirect object.
  • The indirect object is ALWAYS in the dative case.
  • The normal word order after such verbs is for the direct object to follow the indirect, EXCEPT where the direct object is a personal pronoun.
  • Certain German verbs can only be followed by an object in the dative case.

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