Doesn't dative usually go before accusative? Shouldn't it be "Wir geben einem Mann das Buch"?
Yes. It is typically written as such; however, it makes much more sense when pronouns come into use i.e. the order is always determined by the direct object and not the indirect object e.g. Wir geben es ihm. Wir geben es einem Mann. Wir geben ihm das Buch.
Hope that helps.
Correction: the order is always determined by the pronoun, not the direct object. In your example, "Wir geben ihm das Buch," "ihm" is an indirect object pronoun while "das Buch" is the direct object
I think with German there's a lot more scope for rearranging stuff in sentences; it's why the pronouns and articles are so varied. For example, "The man eats the apple" can be written as "Den Apfel isst der Mann." The den/der articles should tell you that the sentence cannot be read as "the apple eats the man."
Edit: corrected per Rhotias.
Incidentally, den and der are definite articles in this example, not pronouns as you and the preceding comments suggest. They would be pronouns if they were used on their own in lieu of objects, though, such as "Das im Schrank" (the thing in the cupboard)
You're correct though that the German case system allows extra meaning to be carried in the articles, so objects can be switched to different locations in the sentence with no ambiguity
I've seen this also. The pre-lesson demonstrates the flexibility of the sentence structure with even an example of the nominative coming after the verb as long as it remains next to the verb. Which I find interesting. But a different lesson stresses a preferred order where 1) with two nouns or two pronouns the dative should be first after the verb, or 2) with one noun and one pronoun the pronoun should come first regardless of case. These two lessons leave me a little confused. Is the preferred order only applied to sentences with pronouns? With flexibility for sentences with nouns?
Two nouns have a preferred order of Dative first, but the order is flexible and Dative can come last to stress new information which is evident here from the use of “einem” rather than “dem”. Two pronouns actually have Accusative before Dative, but a pronoun always comes before a noun.
@ALLintolearning3 Yes, thank you for pointing out that for 2 pronouns the order is usually Accusative then Dative and not the reverse. After seeing this I did some googling to confirm and indeed you are correct. When I come across the other pre-lesson where I saw that (it was on the phone app) I will try to figure out how to report it if Duo has it incorrect.
I think you are right. I think that the rule is if both objects are nouns first comes the dative case and then accusative, so the example should be: Wir geben einem Mann das Buch. When one of the object is noun and the other is pronoun - first comes the pronoun: Wir geben ihm das Buch. or Wir geben es einem Mann. And finally when both objects are pronouns first is accusative and then dative: Wir geben es ihm.
Yes, however, one can also put the new information last to stress it. “Das Buch” is a specific book that we already know about and “einem Mann” is someone that we have not talked about yet. If it were “dem Mann”, then it would come first, because we are talking about a specific man that had already been known.
But there is no pronoun used here. I wonder if it's the indefinite article, ein, here.
Yes, if the indefinite article is used with the indirect object (dative case) and not with the direct object (accusative case), then you can place the indirect object last if you wish. If the accusative has the indefinite article and the dative does not, then it will always come after the dative. Either pronoun will come before the noun.
I think you give something to someone and not someone to something, right ?
Changing the word order doesn't change the meaning of the sentence. What matters is what case each noun is in. The noun conjugated as accusative is the thing being given, and the noun in dative is the person/thing that it's given to.
'Wir geben einem Mann das Buch' sounds a bit unusually to me about like: "We give a man this (or that) book."
Wouldn't that be "Wir geben einem Mann dieses Buch." ?
Still, I understand that the one with the indefinite article is preferred last since the specific item starting with the definite article must have already been referenced.
I was taught DAN PAD PIN: DAN Dative before Accusative with Nouns PAD Pronouns Accusative before Dative PIN Pronouns In front of Nouns
Not a hard and fast rule, but it'll work in general. For example, a noun that someone particularly wants to emphasize may be placed later, even if those guidelines dictate otherwise. For example, you can say "Ich gebe das Buch ihm" if you want to particularly stress that you're giving the book to him and not someone else.
But, emphasis aside, nouns with "das" will usually come before ones with "ein," at the expense of those other rules. So "Ich gebe das Buch einem Mann" (accusative first) but "Ich gebe dem Mann ein Buch" (dative first).
The rule I learned was: Both nouns, indirect object first. Both pronouns, direct object first. One noun, one pronoun, pronoun first.
I have the idea from the discussion that this isn't hard and fast. I can't imagine Wir geben ihm es.
If you're interested in a more flexible discussion of word order, check this article out: https://yourdailygerman.com/2015/01/15/german-word-order-explained/
Interesting, but I think that discussion is way over the heads of most people at this point in the course. Just adds more confusion, IMHO. At some point, in any language, you are not digesting on a per-word basis but in whole sentences. In which case, word order becomes less important. If you get the word order wrong, yes, it sounds strange to people but only because they rarely hear that order. I know of what I speak because my wife is a non-native English speaker (Russian/Ukr. are her native languages) and she is always, for example, putting the "time" word (e.g. now, tomorrow, etc.) in the "wrong" place because she's borrowing from her native language. There is no confusion in what I understand, but it clearly sounds "foreign." Now her use of unreferenced pronouns, that's another thing ... :D
"Einen" is the masculine accusative form of "ein." It's the direct object, the noun that the verb action is actually happening to.
"Einem" is the masculine or neuter form. It's the indirect object, which relates to the verb in some other way, in this case the receiver of the giving.
Here's a useful conjugation chart for "ein" (it conjugates the same as the "mein" chart).
Why do i understand We give the book a man ? I can't seem to understand all the grammatic rules, I read it as i see it in English, why doesn't simple translation work in German it has to always be a like a hard puzzle to put together the grammatic structure.
English uses word order to make it clear, and can't be rearranged without changing the meaning. German uses modified endings on words, and hence can be rearranged without changing the meaning (only the emphasis). They are different languages, you know...
"We give a man the book" = Wir geben das Buch einem Mann or Wir geben einem Mann das Buch
"We give the book a man" = Wir geben dem Buch einen Mann or Wir geben einen Mann dem Buch
If you read the introduction pages of FSI public domain courses for diplomats etc it explains translation is never really exact. I don't think the DL approach works well for German grammar. Use another course to teach, DL to practice
I put that we are giving a man the book and got it wromg. While in a differe t order, the meaning is the same. Why did it mark me wromg?
Try reporting, but keep in mind that the word order places a bit more emphasis on the last one: "einem man" We can do that in English by saying "We are giving the book to a man." The meaning is the same, but there is slightly more emphasis on the indirect object with the prepositional phrase.
Even in English I like to say "We are giving the man a book.", but I prefer to say "We are giving the book to a man." and this is preferred also in German. The definite article flags something as specific, possibly previously talked about and the indefinite article tends to be newer information which German prefers to put later.
I am bit confused. According to my German grammar book, when the both objects are nouns, the dative should precede the accusative. So I think, it should be written: "Wir geben einem Mann das Buch." I am incorrect?
That guideline works a fair amount of the time, but it's not at all a hard-and-fast rule. Other properties can affect which object comes first as well.
Definite objects (with "der," "dieser," etc.) tend to come before indefinite (with "ein," no article, etc.), which is the key here; I would say this tendency tends to trump dative-before-accusative. You'll probably also find that longer objects (with, e.g., more adjectives) tend to come after shorter ones, also despite case.
That could also possibly be correct, but note that the one with the indefinite article is usually after the one with the definite article.
Why the heck is everybody talking about pronouns?? I can't see any pronouns here and the word order contradicts what I've read! Is there something I'm missing?
Usually, the Dative noun comes before the Accusative noun, but “einem Mann” is clearly Dative case and German is flexible for this. You can put the newer information last. You are talking about a specific book that you probably already mentioned “the book” is not new information, but the new information is that we are giving the book to a man, someone new that we have not talked about yet.
People are just saying that the rules are different for pronouns. You are right that it doesn’t apply to this sentence, except to say that Dative does not always come first.
So the accusative can come before the dative as long as there are no pronouns, correct?
It also can if the accusative is a pronoun (in fact, it has to): "Wir geben es einem Mann." Or if both are pronouns: "Wir geben es ihm." But yes, if neither is a pronoun, the accusative might be first.
But how about this?:
As a rule the dative object comes before the accusative object, if none of these objects is a pronoun (things are a little more complicated if pronouns come into play)
As discussed in the thread, this should read "Wir geben einem Mann das Buch". Two nouns = indirect object first. I understand that it can be moved around for the purpose of emphasis, but Duolingo should accept both translations. It is marking me wrong for a text book answer just because it is trying to show that it can be written another way. Fix this thing, it is messing up my Cia...lol
Take a screenshot if you have the correct articles with the correct nouns and report it.
Would someone who knows explain the mystery? Here are the Tips and notes:
As a rule the dative object comes before the accusative object, if none of these objects is a pronoun (things are a little more complicated if pronouns come into play)
So why does this sentence contradict the rules?
As a rule = usually, not always. So when you have “die Buch”, that is something that we probably already talked about, a specific book, but we are talking about “einem Mann” or “a man” someone new that we had not mentioned before — new information which can be put after the older information in German. So make sure that whichever order you put, the indefinite artcle is with “Mann” and the definite article is with “Buch”, but I think we need to report that this should be added to the tips and notes, for it is common to emphasize new information this way.
Aha, okay, thank you. So when this happens, the word order priority goes to the definite nouns rather than to the mentioned rule..
Usually the indirect object noun comes before the direct object noun, but it can come after when it is newer information to emphasize that. A form of ein or a indicates that this has not been talked about before.
The normal speed recording clearly says "sie geben". I didn't feel the need to listen to the slow version so got it wrong. As said before, more care is needed with th recordings. Some even sound double tracked.
I'm glad to read that someone else has the same problem I do with "sie" and "wir" at the beginning of a recording. I don't think that it is "clearly sie" but it is surely more like "sie" than "wir."
I feel like this should be clarified in the lesson which says "As a rule the dative object comes before the accusative object, if none of these objects is a pronoun" I understand the role of pronouns with the Dat/Akk but this example does not use pronouns.
“As a rule” does not mean “always”. It means “usually.” They should add that indefinite articles such as “einem” are used with newer information which may be put last to stress the newer information.
In the German version, it's "a man" and "the book." That's what's wrong with "the man" and "a book" in an English translation.
Why is this sentence correct but when I translated "They are giving beer to the men" as "Sie geben Bier den Männern" , it was marked as incorrect. Should I have reported the earlier one?
"Sie geben den Männern Bier" would be a much better word order. Whenever you have a definite object (using "den," "das," etc.) and an indefinite object (with "ein-" or no article), the definite object will go first.
Why does it mark "we give" wrong? It is the same as "we are giving" in English.
"We give the book to a man" or "We give a man the book" should be fine. If you wrote one of those, you should report this as an error (but I'm pretty sure that Duo accepts these).
If you wrote something else, there's probably another mistake in your sentence. Duo isn't good at giving sensible corrections, so if your sentence was wrong for some reason, the correction may have just had "are giving" instead of "give" for no good reason.
“Amy” ? No, but “We give the book to a man.” should be accepted as correct and it can be reported if it is not accepted. Was that a victim of auto-correct?
Yes, what -Copernicus- said is right. You would be giving a man to a book.
It's confusing to wrap your head around these translations because:
1) We English speakers never really understood our own grammar and sentence structures.
2) German grammar and sentence structures are similar but different, and everything is called something else.
"We give a book to the man.":
Subject (Nominative) = We
Verb (Verb) = give
Direct Object (Accusative [-en]) (What is being "verbed") = the book
Indirect Object (Dative [-em]) = the man
HERE IS A GREAT LINK THAT HELPS EXPLAIN ALL OF THAT:
That would be "We are giving a man to the book" (i.e., the book is receiving a man). It matters which way you conjugate the nouns/articles.
The accusative ending ("-en" in this case) is for the thing that's actually being given-- i.e., this would make the man the thing that we're giving. The dative ending ("-em" here) is for who's receiving the thing-- so in your translation, the book is receiving the man.
Once again Duo teaches bad grammar. Unless there is a pronoun the dative object comes before the accusative
That may be what your German textbook says, but it's not entirely correct. Often if one object is definite (using "der" or "dieser" or the like) and the other is indefinite (using "ein" or no article), the definite object will come first, regardless of each one's case. Here "das Buch" is definite and "einem Mann" indefinite, so "das Buch" goes first.
Also a longer object (with lots of adjectives or other modifiers) might come after a shorter one, regardless of case. The reality is not really as simple as the textbook rule of dative before accusative all the time.
Let's see who I find more authoritative here - every grammar book I have seen, every textbook I have used, my German teacher or on the other hand Duolingo and you. I think that I will stick with majority opinion.
Beginner textbooks and classes won’t cover everything. http://canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/Satz/Wortstellung/index.html
I often find that language textbooks and teachers tend to oversimplify rules, often just to make it easier on the students. Word order is tricky and nuanced, so it's convenient for a book to just teach a simple rule that generally (but maybe not always) works so the learner can move on to more important things like vocabulary.
German word order is pretty flexible, so sticking to dative first for nouns probably won't sound jarringly wrong to a listener and will almost certainly be understandable; it's just not always the best wording. So that word order is very convenient to teach, especially at a beginner level, and it works more often than not.
If you read the comments on other sentences like this one, you'll find natives agreeing with sentences that aren't dative first, and if you read other stuff written in German, you'll find that it doesn't always follow dative first either.
If, in the world of duolingo, green bears can be transparent, why can't we give a book a man? Where'd the "to" come from?
The English structure requires it. If the man is receiving the book, you can either say "give a man the book" or "give the book to a man" (the latter sounds better for this particular combination of "a/the").
"Give the book a man" would mean that the book was receiving a man, which is not what the German sentence says.
A literal translation, the dative exercises are trying to teach what the case means. So to a man is einem mann. If you drop the preposition, relying on knowledge, gives a man bread, then you won't understand the point of dativ case.
Duo doesn't mind the wording without "to." A slightly different exercise would actually accept "give the man a book" as well as "give a book to the man" (though "give a man the book," as in this exercise, sounds a bit odd).
"Give a book a man" is simply incorrect; it's giving the man to the book instead of giving the book to the man (and uses "a book" instead of "the book").
One way I've seen it (on here, in fact) is that you can think of "einem" as being "to a" not just "a"
The Dative case shows on “einem Mann”, so we know a man is receiving the book.
If you wanted to say “We give a book a man.” That would be a different sentence in German which would include the Accusative “einen Mann” and since you put “a book” as the receiver, that would be in Dative case “einem Buch”.