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Dative vs. Accusative

I have always had difficulty knowing when to use the dative or the accusative case. Can someone explain it to me better than textbooks can?

January 2, 2013



Subject gives the indirect object(dative) a direct object (accusative).

The man gives the girl a dog.

Der Mann gibt dem Maedchen(dative) einen Hund(accusative).

So the dative tense is used for the recipient, accusative for the object itself.

Other prepositions use dative and accusative depending on whether you are moving.

Wir gehen in das Kino. (accus)

We're going to the movies. (motion towards)

Wir sind in dem Kino. (dative)

We're in the theater. (location)

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