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  5. "Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Ki…

"Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind."

Translation:She shows the lamp to a child.

October 12, 2015



Isn't the correct form of the phrase "Sie zeigt einem Kind die Lampe."? As I learned, normally the dative element comes right after the verb.


Both are possible. German is relatively flexible with those things, even though your version is probably more common. I think they put it that way around to make it easier to translate from German into English because you don't have to change the word order.


You don't have to change the English order of the other way; "She shows a kid the lamp" is grammatically correct.


I think he meant the other order: "She shows the lamp a kid". This doesn't make sense in English without "to" ("to a kid")


In the Tips section for this lesson it notes that, in dative case, the article change to einer/einem is how German includes the preposition "to."

"Ein Kind" is "a child." "Einem Kind" is "to a child."

Going back to the sentence: Sie zeigt einem Kind die Lampe. She shows (to) a child the lamp.

The other way around: Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind. She shows the lamp to a child.


We must just keep on reporting it when Duo gets it wrong. Sometimes the get subtleties of English wrong.


Normally it doesn't make sense. In some stories with a magic talking lamp that would be perfectly correct. :P


Right, the cases, accusative and dative, make the meaning clear with either order.


"She shows a kid the lamp" is correct only because, in English, we presume the indirect object before the direct object - because English does not show case. While neuter and female nouns do not show accusative case, all nouns show dative case, which takes the pressure off of word order in German.

Notice that I didn't say eliminates the need for word order, just that there is room for flexibility that English does not have. (See the other comment, featuring "She shows the lamp a kid")


Or in English "she shows the child a lamp" so as to distinguish a young human from a young goat.


Nein. The challenge concerns "einem Kind" (not "die Kind") and "die Lampe" (not "eine Lampe").


I'm taking a German class in Austria atm and the teacher is very strict about the word order, i.e. dative noun before accusative noun unless the accusative is a pronoun, and perfective verb form always at the end of a sentence. Is this just one of those things that they teach in classrooms but which is not very important in real life? (like 'ne.. pas' instead of just 'pas' in French maybe?


Not really. "Pas" on its own is colloquial, whereas the alternative ways of ordering the nouns (switching the objects or even putting either object in the first position) are all acceptable in standard German and are actually more common in formal language than in colloquial speech, as they generally turn up in longer sentences and need more context.
Switching the two objects around doesn't make a noticable difference in this particular sentence, but that's only because it doesn't contain any extra baggage like prepositions to cause a problem, but by putting it first, you are emphasizing the accusative object more, which can sound unnatural on its own in a lot of cases (e.g.: "sie geht ins Kino mit einem Kind". Even if it's grammatically correct, I would expect the sentence to go on or assume that whoever wrote it wasn't a modern-day native speaker).
This is why your teacher insists on the standard order. It's safer than messing around with all the other possibilites, which don't work in all cases and would only cause confusion. But just for the sake of it, the following sentences are all correct:
"Sie zeigt einem Kind die Lampe" - standard order
"Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind" - highlights "die Lampe"
"Die Lampe zeigt sie einem Kind" - highlights "die Lampe"
"Einem Kind zeigt sie die Lampe" - highlights "einem Kind"
The first two sentences can stand on their own, the latter two have to be part of something longer to work (like "die Lampe zeigt sie einem Kind, den Kulli einem Mann" = "she shows the lamp to a child and the pen to a man").
But don't worry about those. Using only the standard order limits the expressiveness of the language a little bit, but as I said, it's safer and also a lot easier :)


I would say that Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind highlights "einem Kind", by putting it at the end of the sentence.


Perfect explanation, thanks. Shame Duo marks often marks the non-conventional order wrong, as there is no sense of the emphasis normally!


@mizinamo Was there some gedanken about the last word/words in the sentence? The last thought/last spoken and importance. A German idiom... I can't recall..


@TaillessSwing58: I'm assuming that by "a sentence like this" you mean one where there are two nouns that can be either nominative or accusative?

You would decide based on context and word order. When the sentence would be ambiguous like this, the speaker will most likely put the subject at the beginning before the verb and the object after, using the typical word order to specifically avoid the confusion.


My German teachers both native speakers emphasized that the dative noun normally is placed between the conjugated verb and a diect object noun, but it could come in first position followed by the conjugated verb then the subject and then a direct object noun. If the dative noun followed the accusative noun, it is wrong.


"Dative noun before accusative unless accusative is a pronoun." I did not know that was a rule, and I thank you for sharing. That helps sort out some things in my head.


It is not really important the kind of sentences in real life convertation, but in case, in university you just have to do, especially when you write a book. I'm not an german native speaker but living in Germany


Could you tell that to DL in some of the other sentences? I've been marked wrong several times for this!


But in the previous sentence I put Das Kind zeigt ein Kleid einer Frau And Duolingo said it should be Das Kind zeigt einer Frau ein kleid. Sooooo, I am confused.


But in s previous lesson of duolingo it was reported as wrong to put the direct object before the indirect object, unless the direct object was a pronoun! And people in the comments confirmed that was the rule, although getting it wrong would still result in native being able to understand


I thought of :"She shows the lamp a child".


That would be Sie zeigt der Lampe ein Kind. The cases matter!


I guess so. That makes three times you've corrected me!


It's a good way of helping with my own learning :) I'm going to double-check things before I write them! And when that fails to spot the mistake, someone else gets some practice to correct me and I learn from it too :P


az_p, I need help with German grammar


why is it der Lampe? Google translate shows 'lamp' as 'die Lampe.' does der refer to Kind in your case?


The feminine dative form of the article is "der." It happens to also look like the masculine form, but in this case it's feminine dative.


I have struggled with this for a while until I came across the correct explanation : If the dative noun has an indefinite article and the akkusative noun doesn't, than the dative noun CAN be placed after the akkusative one.


Duo is (imo) very confusing on this. I'm pretty sure that if we were asked to translate "She shows the lamp to a child," into German we'd be marked wrong for ""Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind," because it violates the Dative before Accusative rule. But then we get something like this as an example which supposedly we're to imitate. If they're going to make people learn the Dative before Accusative rule to get the answer right, then they should follow it in example sentences.


Your concern is understandable, but please have a look at the other comments here, as it has been addressed several times, by igelchen, ilyes_ferchiou, and mizinamo.

Edit That is, the explanation for the correctness of the word order given here. As to whether the same word order might or might not be correct in other sentences, I would be cautious. German is subtle.


When I first learned German, 1981, I was taught that, among other things, dative case allowed for flexibility in word order since the dative case made it clear which was the direct and indirect objects. (I may be wrong, but I note that Duo doesn't seem to care about word order, either)

This is as opposed to English and Spanish. Neither shows case, therefore, word order becomes crucial since there is no way to tell which is which.


Could be because of the definite article ("die" Lampe)? There is a tendency (not an iron-clad rule) to put definite nouns (which is often given/old information) before indefinite nouns (which is usually new information).


ja ich stimme dir zu, wenn es Nomen von Akkusativ und Dativ im satz gibt, steht erst Dativ.


Similarly to English, there are different ways to organize the words, with a basic form that tends to be more common.

She shows the child a lamp. / She shows a lamp to the child. / To the child, she shows a lamp


Is there a reason why it would reject the English translation "She shows a child the lamp," or is it just an oversight?


I, too, was dinged for "She is showing a child the lamp," which seems a more natural translation.


Ditto. This should be accepted. "She is showing a child the lamp" and "She is showing the lamp to a child" are exactly the same meaning in English.


This sentence makes it seem like she is showing a child to the lamp. Is the child a sacrifice to the lamp?


No, fortunately not. :) You can tell what's going on here by looking at the articles. "Einem" indicates the Dative case, which tells us that the child is an indirect object (i.e. not the thing being shown, but rather the one to whom it is shown). "Die Lampe" tells us that lamp is in the Accusative case. If we wanted to say "She shows a child to the lamp", we would say "Sie zeigt der Lampe ein Kind" (or "Sie zeigt ein Kind der Lampe"). The beauty of German is that its grammatical precision allows us to mix up the word order without changing the meaning.


Just curious, how would the line be if it had been the genitive case (i.e. the child's lamp)?


Sie zeigt die Lampe eines Kinds = "She shows the/a child's lamp" ("She shows the lamp of a child")

(Source: Canoo.net)


Why did it reject 'she is demonstrating the lamp to a child'


"Demonstrating" is a bit more involved and detailed than "zeigen." The best translation is just "showing." (Really, "demonstrating" is a kind of "showing/zeigen"-- too specific here.)

[deactivated user]

    Why "einem" ??


    "Kind" is neuter, and it's used in the dative here (since it's an indirect object). The neuter dative form for "ein" is "einem." (Conjugation chart here)


    igelchen's comment below is the most correct. The dative object (DO) should always precede the accusative object (AO) in standard german sentence construction. However, the order is flexible, but only to place emphasis on different parts of speech when deviating from the standard. Generally the later in the V2 portion of the sentence (following the first inflected verb) a speech part is, when outside of standard construction, the more emphasis is placed on that part. So in this case the speaker is emphasizing that she showed the lamp to a child, specifically. For even more emphasis the dative object can be placed in the V1 portion of the sentence, prior to the inflected verb (so; Einem Kind zeigt Sie die lampe). Remember this is all for emphasis, and something that german has that english doesn't, this flexibility in word order due to the differing cases. The key is to recognize which words take which parts of speech by the identifying the definite or indefinite article (der artikel oder ein artikel). And of course context. Hope this helps.


    She shows to a child the lamp. not accepted. Is it wrong translation or bad English?


    In this course, it's considered incorrect English to put the indirect object (the child, who is the "recipient" of the showing) first with "to".

    You can have either "She shows the lamp to a child" (indirect object second, with "to") or "She shows a child the lamp" (indirect object first, no "to"), but not "She shows to a child the lamp" (indirect object first with "to").


    She shows a child the lamp would be perfectly right as well


    True, and that's one of the accepted translations for a translation exercise.


    I wrote kid instead of child and got it wrong. Does it matter? Should I report it?


    I think a kid is a young goat.


    As a noun, "kid" has many meanings, including "young goat" and "human child".


    I think so too but unfortunately it seems to have become the default English word, especially in relation to members of a family. Still makes me cringe though but I think that just makes me old


    would the translation be "Sie zeigt (eine) Lampe (einem) Kind" for "She shows a lamp to the child"? ;i'm especially confused with what to put in the parentheses


    "She shows a lamp to the child" would be Sie zeigt dem Kind eine Lampe.

    The order Sie zeigt eine Lampe dem Kind sounds very strange to me -- the dative object usually comes before the accusative object if both are nouns. The dative object can be put at the end instead when it's new information, to emphasise it, but while "a child" (with the indefinite article) is new information, "the child" (with the definite article) implies that it's a known child and thus cannot be new information.


    That would be "She shows a lamp to a child."

    "dem Kind" would mean "to the child".


    Is "einem Kind zeigt sie die lampe" correct?


    Nearly. The noun Lampe has to be capitalised.

    Other than that, it is a grammatically correct sentence.


    In all the previous exercises Duo wanted "she is showing ...." Now its wrong. Duo wants " she shows ...." What is the difference?


    In German? None.

    Without context (as with most Duolingo sentences), sie zeigt could translate to either "she shows" (habiturally, regularly, repeatedly) or "she is showing" (right now).


    Duo accepts both forms. What was your entire answer?


    In English, the word order usually depends on what (the dative noun or the accusative noun) is the main focus of the sentence. Does it work that way in German?

    For example, if I worked in a jewelry store, the jewelry (accusative noun) would be the focus, not the 1 out of 50 customers I helped that day, so you would say "I showed the jewelry to the customer." If, on the other hand, the dative noun was the focus (the CEO came to the store that day ), in English, we'd put that first. As an example, I showed the CEO the jewelry.


    Genau. Although German sentences are usually structured [Nominativ] [Verb] [Dativ][Akkusativ] the positions of the nouns can be modified to provide emphasis (the verb remains in second position).

    Auf Deutsch the reordering without losing meaning is easier than in English because the inflection of the articles identifies the case (der Fall oder Kasus). For example, "I gave the child the dog" means the child wound up possessing the dog. I could make it clearer by saying "I gave the dog to the child." Auf Deutsch, "Ich gebe dem Kind den Hund" would be the normal, expected order, but one could say, "Ich gebe den Hund dem Kind" to emphasize that it was a dog (and not, perhaps, eine Katze) that was given. The article makes it unambiguous. To be more emphatic, "Den Hund gebe ich dem Kind" could be used.


    I am sure zengator is correct about the German, but I have to say that I am entirely unaware of the distinction lingeben makes in the English. I would not notice in the slightest if either of those English sentences were constructed the other way around, and, of the 4 people I have asked so far, none of them would, either.

    Edit - also, English doesn't have dative case. You may be thinking of direct object vs. indirect object.


    Why isn't the lamp to the child correct?


    The German sentence uses "einem Kind," so you should translate to "a child."


    I don't see a preposition in this sentence. Why does it not need one? Is this a special feature of "zeigen" or is it common?


    It's quite common in dative case that the preposition 'zu' (to) is implied by, or already included in, the dative pronoun/article. eg. Zeig es mir! Gib es mir! However I have no idea on the particular rules when/why the 'zu' is or is not required......


    Zu is absolutely not required in the dative, it is implied.


    It's not implied or omitted; it's simply not used. Using "zu mir" for an indirect object would be incorrect. German does not use a preposition to indicate indirect object; the dative case by itself indicates that.


    then why would German use "MIT mir"? "zu" must be implied?


    You're trying to make this into a word-for-word translation, and you just can't do that. German's structure for an indirect object is just "mir eine Lampe zeigen." There's not a "zu" implied because "Sie zeigt zu mir eine Lampe" is completely wrong. If it were implied, it could go there, but it can't, so it's not. "Zu mir" is simply not correct and not how German makes an indirect object.

    "Mit mir" is just a completely different situation. German does use a preposition to express "with someone." It doesn't use a preposition for an indirect object.


    -Copernicus- is absolutely right. You could consider that the English concept of the preposition "to" is inherent to the German Dativ pronouns and articles, but that is not at all the same as "implied".


    I translated it to: She shows a kid the lamp.

    My translation wasn't accepted.. I wonder why?!!


    According the TU Chemnitz dictionary, "die Lampe" can be translated to "the light". Why is the translation "She shows the light to a child" rejected?


    I suppose it's th other way around, with "the light" sometimes referring to a luminous-on-demand piece of furniture, rather than the flux of luminous energy itself. If that's the case, "the lamp" would be much less confusing translation.


    Yes: why?

    Light: "A source of light, especially a lamp, a lantern, or an electric lighting fixture." (The Free Dictionary) Ist das nicht eine Lampe also??

    I have reported it.


    Yes, "light" is a secondary meaning for die Lampe, but it the primary, most-common meaning is "lamp" in the sense of a light fixture:

    die Lampe


    Is Lampe the usual translation for light in the sense of the sort you would switch on with a switch? That is what I understood from an exercise earlier in the course but I'm now beginning to doubt it. Also is Lampe the usual translation for lightbulb? Not for this context perhaps, but in general?

    Thank you for your help.


    is Lampe the usual translation for lightbulb?

    The most common word for "lightbulb" is Glühbirne ("glow-pear").

    Technically, it should be Glühlampe ("glow-lamp") but that's the sort of thing only electricians care about. (Similarly to how a screw-driver is supposed to be a Schraubendreher "screw-turner" but just about everyone calls it a Schraubenzieher "screw-puller".)


    When is "sie" they, not she? and vise versa.

    • sie zeigt = she shows
    • sie zeigen = they show

    The verb forms will be different depending on the subject.

    In general, sie "she" has a -t ending in the present tense, sie "they" an -en ending.


    "She shows the child a lamp" is not correct? I put that but it didn't accept it.


    That's because the German sentence uses "einem Kind" and "die Lampe." Your translation should be "She shows a child the lamp."


    I made a mistske in the previous similar translation, bacause I put the "to" into it. Now Ileft it out, and this is the error...


    Whether to use "to" or not depends on whether the indirect object is before or after the direct object:

    • She shows a child the lamp. - OK
    • She shows the lamp to a child. - OK (though in my opinion not as good as the first one)
    • She shows to a child the lamp. - not OK
    • She shows the lamp a child. - not OK


    so are dative articles kind of like 'to a' or 'to the' instead of just a and the?


    Those are often good translations, but the dative case is not only used where English would use "to".


    I've read that this word order is used for emphasis. Which would be emphasized, the accusative or dative object? And would the emphasized word be given vocal emphasis when speaking?


    The dative object is emphasised because it has been moved from its usual location before the accusative object to the end of the sentence.

    And yes, in speech I would also put a bit more emphasis on the word Kind.


    This is what I thought, thanks for confirming!

    • 1129

    "hmm.. the pieces in this puzzle are starting to come together" says Colombo


    Tge dative should be before the accusative, bylat!


    Normally, yes. Unless one wants to emphasize that it is the lamp which is being shown. This sentence serves to illustrate that the inflection of articles allows components of the sentence to be shifted around.


    Ah man, this language drives me mad. I've been learning it for a while. And I just always find myself again and again stuck to the wall by its grammar.

    My teacher said it's a "stiff structure", and now here you are saying it isn't. Im confused. Could you tell me where did you learn german?


    There are certain aspects that are "stiff". The one that seems most invariable to me is that in a declarative statement, the verb takes the second position and auxiliary verbs (if any) go to the end. After that, there are "rules"--and here we must remember that "the exception proves the rule"--that are flexible, unless they are not.

    I've tried to learn and study German for many years using various courses and speaking with friends who know German. None really seemed to work except DuoLingo (I started in August 2013). I think the consistency is the key: I've missed no more than 30 days total during that time. (Boy, oh boy, was I aggravated when I realized I mis-remembered things and dropped a 1,000+ day streak.)


    If i say "She showed the child a lamp" how is this different from "She shows the lamp to a child?"


    One has “the child” and “a lamp”, one has “a child” and “the lamp”.


    'Showed' is in the past tense, 'shows' is in the present.


    Why is She is showing marked as incorrect when she shows and she is showing are valid forms of the English present tense - one being the continuous form


    Please copy/paste your entire answer. I'm pretty sure I've used both and had both accepted.


    Should 'She shows the child the lamp' be ok?


    No. The German sentence uses "einem Kind" -> "a child."


    Here is another example that differs from everything that I have learned. If you have two nouns, usually the indirect object comes before the direct one. In this case, To Whom is it being shown...to a child. This is the indirect object of the sentence and should come second, not last as the translation has it. Very hard to learn a language when the rules keep changing for no apparent reason.


    The rules aren't really changing. As you said, "usually the indirect object comes before the direct object", not always.

    Because the objects are switched from their normal, expected ordering, it emphasizes the d.o.. In a sense, "She didn't show the child a chair; she showed him a lamp."


    Thanks for the response!
    I would agree with that; however, we both know that there is flexibility with the sentence. As such, Duolingo should accept both translations. I entered it correctly from a grammatical standpoint, but Duolingo marked it wrong because it is trying to show an alternate way of writing it. Unless I am missing something, it should accept both translations, but provide an alternate means of writing it.


    It very much depends on what you wrote as your answer.

    • "She shows a child the lamp." <= should be correct
    • "She shows the lamp to a child." <= should be correct
    • "She shows the child a lamp." <= should be wrong
    • "She shows the lamp a child." <= should be wrong

    The key is, we're speaking about a specific lamp (the) and a non-specific child (a).


    I do not remember now, but I do remember it had to do with the word order. Normally the indirect object would come before the direct object. In this case, I likely would have written "She shows a child the lamp". The answer provided I believe was "She shows the lamp to a child". This is what caused the confusion because of the noun rule. It should have accepted both answers, but it technically chose the incorrect sentence based on the noun rule. Thanks for taking the time to answer!


    I like your answer, especially the “usually,” since word order ought to be flexible. One thing I really enjoyed when I learned German the first time was the dative case, in that it forces clarity between objects even if there’s an unusual word order.

    Another issue would be, what was Duo trying to teach here? (It’s been a few weeks, so I don’t exactly remember) If it was simply dative case, I can see many of these suggested answers being accepted. If it was strict word order (with no context demanding alternate emphasis), then I can see how these other answers might not be acceptable.


    German teachers say that Dative elements must be before Acusative elemens. This is important and there are many exercises to this topic.


    German teachers are unfortunately not always experts on the German language (as goes for any language teachers). Dative nouns most certainly don't come before accusative pronouns, for instance. ("Sie zeigt einem Kind es" is very wrong.) German direct and indirect objects can often be switched around to switch emphasis, and definite nouns (using "der/die/das") often go before indefinite nouns (using "ein") regardless of each one's case. Another common ordering is that long objects (using lots of modifiers, or just extra-long words) often are placed after shorter objects regardless of case.

    Dative before accusative is a commonly-cited rule, but it just doesn't hold in all situations. It can be a decent guideline sometimes, but don't expect it to always be true.


    In this, and many, instances of audio playback of the word, "Kind," by itself, is pronounced the same as "kind" in English. In an entire sentence, the playback is usually correct, but as a single word, "Kind" is almost always pronounced incorrect for German.


    I noticed that the male voice has on occasion said "Kind" with a long "i" like it would be spelled "Keind". He can be inconsistent. So, I agree with you... he messes up quite a few words like that; either that or maybe he's from some part of Germany with a thick, hardly ever heard accent that only Germans get to hear, except now us! lol Or maybe he's actually American, and just forgets, or that's how most Americans say it! :-o


    What I really think is going on is that there is a "bank" of audio recordings for each of the words, as well as composed sentences. This is most noticeable in those "type what you hear" exercises, where the words in the sentence don't always sound like the words from the "word bank." (Lacking a keyboard with the appropriate accent marks and special characters, I find myself using the "word bank" a lot)

    At any rate, in the sentences to be typed, "Kind" is pronounced correctly; from the "word bank," "Kind" is pronounced incorrectly.

    And what I think is happening is that the editor happens to be picking the wrong "kind" for the "word bank"! (As in, it's picking the "kind" for the English exercise)


    I don't think these are recordings. I seem to recall a moderator or someone with more insight into the inner workings of DuoLingo than a standard user commenting that the voices are computer-generated. This fits in with the occasional wholesale changes in female/male voices. If recordings of actual people or voice actors were in use, one would expect that if a new set of female recordings were added, the old ones would not be discarded in their entirety.

    That said, your observation about the perceived mispronunciation of "kind" in isolation could be due to mistakenly applying the rules for English speech synthesis when German rules need to be used.


    "She shows a child the lamp" was accepted.



    Worst aspect of Duolingo is the female speaker. Yes I've read all the business about the audio compression etc, still, roughly half of my mistakes are because I miss hear what she says; here she clearly says "einen" - and even though I know damn well it should be "einem" - at the speed I work the exercises I've submitted the wrong answer before my brain says "Whoa! Wrong!" Saumensch!


    Yes dative should come first.


    Why’s it “Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind” instead of “Sie zeigt einem Kind die Lampe”? I heard the dative, indirect object comes before the accusative, direct object?


    I heard the dative, indirect object comes before the accusative, direct object?

    That's the basic, unmarked word order.

    Here, the indefinite einem Kind is moved to the end to show that it's new information -- perhaps the answer to the question "Whom is she showing the lamp to? -- Oh, a child; I didn't know that!"

    Such movement is not always possible, so it's best to recognise it but not attempt to do it yourself until you have a firm grasp (from reading and hearing many, many correct sentences) on when it works and when it doesn't.


    In this specific example, are the accusative and dative cases able to move around? Is my example wrong?


    In this specific example, are the accusative and dative cases able to move around?

    Yes. The direct object is definite and the indirect object is indefinite in this sentence -- there, you can often move the indefinite indirect object to the end if you want to emphasise it, because indefinite nouns are likely to be new information, while definite nouns are almost always something you have spoken about already.


    I wrote "She shows the kid a lamp" – I think this should be accepted!


    It is "she shows A kid THE lamp".


    Yeahhh... the next time it came up, I noticed that. My mistake!


    is not the meaning correct ??


    is not the meaning correct ?

    The meaning of what?

    Please quote the entire sentence that you are commenting on.


    Why is the dative after the accusative? In another question, "Sie geben Wasser den Frauen" is marked wrong and requires "Sie geben den Frauen Wasser." When are the dative and accusative allowed to have a flexible order?


    When are the dative and accusative allowed to have a flexible order?

    As a learner, I would recommend that you always go with the rule of thumb "dative before accusative" and merely be aware of the fact that native speakers may something use other orders.

    New information can be "showcased" by moving it to the end of a sentence, after old information.

    In general, nouns with the indefinite article ein, eine, einen, einem (etc.) are new information and nouns with the definite article der, die, das (etc.) are old information.

    So die Lampe (definite) + einem Kind (indefinite) sounds more acceptable to me than Wasser (indefinite) + den Frauen (definite).

    But rather than being black-and-white rules, it's more of a continuum of acceptability -- some sentences are more acceptable than others when rearranged.

    To be safe, just keep the dative before the accusative except when the accusative is a personal pronoun.


    Why isn't "she shows the kid a lamp" accepted?


    Because the German sentence talks about a child and the lamp.


    "She shows a child the lamp." accpeted.



    What's up with showing things to kinds in this lesson First a man shows his shoes now a lamp, what's next?

    [deactivated user]

      what I wrote is THE SAME PRINCIPLE as you wrote. What is wrong with yr vocab??


      what I wrote

      When you have a question about a sentence that was not accepted, please always quote your entire answer.

      Ideally by copying and pasting (do not re-type the answer, as this might introduce new typos or correct ones you made the first time) or by taking a screenshot, uploading it to a website somewhere, and including the URL of the image in your comment.


      I read that it is common to use the definite article before the indefinite article but I also know that dative comes before accusative. So I can't seem to figure out whether this sentence implies "to a child" or not?


      I'm not quite sure what you mean. "Einem Kind" is going to have the same meaning no matter where you put it in the sentence. In English we can phrase this sentence as "She shows a child the lamp" or (better I would say) "She shows the lamp to a child."

      The German sentence can be ordered as "Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind" or "Sie zeigt einem Kind die Lampe," but that doesn't affect the translation to English.


      I know both sentences are correct. But I believe there is a little nuance between them. The focus of the sentence can change by how we order the sentence.

      Like, there is this magical, special Lamp, say the Lamp of Aladdin. And no one is allowed to see it. "She shows a child THE LAMP" focuses on the importance of the lamp. "She shows the lamp TO A CHILD" focuses on 'to a child'. As everyone else allowed to see the lamp except children. I know this is a very odd example but I hope you understand me now :)))

      I read this focus thing from one of the moderators on some other topic the other day but I can't seem to find the comment.


      Yes, in general putting something later in the sentence gives it more emphasis or stresses it as the main point of what you're saying. So "Sie zeigt die Lampe einem Kind" is more like "She shows the lamp to a child" and "Sie zeigt einem Kind die Lampe" is more like "She shows the lamp to a child."


      The whole point of the endings is that the meaning is clear no matter what the word order is.


      This is only partially true. Case endings are not the only factor. You may find this article educational: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/WordOrder/WordOrder.html


      "she shows to a kid the lamp" is incorrect?


      That's a rather odd phrasing. The best wording is "She shows the lamp to a kid."


      English is odd that way. You can say "She shows a kid the lamp", or "She shows the lamp to a kid". The indirect object is indicated either by position before the direct object, or by the use of the word "to", but not both at the same time.


      Why isn't "She shows the kid a lamp" not accepted?


      Because it's wrong; the German sentence has "einem Kind" and "die Lampe": "She shows the lamp to a kid."


      Ah yeah. Don't know how I missed that. Thanks


      I was marked wrong saying "sie geben bier den Männern"

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