"Einer Frau" is dative here, because it's the indirect object of the sentence ("to whom?"), and "einen Hut", as it is the direct object of the sentence, is accusative ("whom or what does he give?". This thing about direct and indirect objects being accusative and dative is true in almost all cases), and therefore, they need the appropriate pronouns.
Basically when you learn the name for something, you should also learn the gender, i.e. remember it as der Hut, not just Hut. There is not always a rule for which gender a word will have, but these tips might help sometimes.
Another way to identify the gender if you already have a German sentence is to look at the inflections of the articles and adjectives (the words in front of the noun). Here you have einen Hut. You only get the -n ending for masculine nouns in accusative case, or plural nouns in dative case. Even if you didn't know that einen Hut is accusative not dative, and you didn't know that Hut was singular not plural, well you can't have ein- with a plural anyway, so that tells you it must be a masculine noun in accusative case.
So, all that inflection stuff is actually useful for something.
No, you've got it the wrong way around. If for example I am giving an [object] to a [person], the [object] is in accusative case and the [person] is in dative case.
In the sentence Ich gebe einer Frau einen Hut the Hut is in accusative case (it is the object I am giving) and the Frau is in dative case (she is who I am giving the hat to).
If the hat were in dative case and the woman were in accusative case, it would mean "I am giving a woman to a hat" which is incorrect. And the sentence doesn't make sense with both of them in dative case. Similar logic applies to your other sentence.
This website gives a pretty good run down of the dative/accusative cases and their gendered variations:
I suggest reading any available Tips Notes at the beginning of a lesson before doing the exercises, and then referring to them again if you're having difficulty. That can often answer your question immediately.
In this lesson, Tips Notes are available which lay out the tables for definite and indefinite article endings for the nominative, dative and accusative cases. Also included is information on how the dative case is used, as well as how the dative case affects the endings of plural nouns.
Which is frustrating because they don't provide them to you on the app (atleast on iOS). People aren't going to "learn naturally", we're not babies with 24/7 exposure to Germans. We're adults (or atleast teenagers usually) and it will speed up the process 100x if they could just give us the grammar rules, especially if they're as simple as this one. A big reason why the site should be used app unless it's just for practicing a certain skill or something. And it sucks when I don't have access to a PC because then I gotta use the clunky (for me atleast) mobile website.
I do not understand still sorry. Why in this one is Frau dative but in 'she gives the men beer' men is accusative? Nominative is the subject so that would be the I or she who is giving. Accusative is the object so the thing receiving the action, in my mind that would be the person that is receiving the object and the object would be the indirect object (dative). This is the case in she gives the men beer but not in this sentence. In this sentence the object is the accusative. I don't understand why it is different.
The article is changing according to the object and the gender. Look at „Mann“ Der Mann trinkt, ein Mann trinkt, (sing.) Die Männer trinken (pl.)- Nominativ Ich sehe den Mann, ich sehe einen Mann (sing.) Ich sehe die Männer (ich sehe Männer) (pl.) - Akkusativ, direct object Ich gebe es dem Mann, ich gebe es einem Mann (sing.), ich gebe es den Männern (pl.) - Dativ, indirect object. This articles are always used in these cases, when the word is masculine. Der Hund. Ich gebe es dem Hund. (Native speaker)
The object depends on the verb. There are not many verbs with genitiv, and a lot of germans don't use it correctly. For example: Ich gedenke des Mannes. I commemorate the man.
Usual you need a form of genitiv to describe the ownership, for example: Die Hose des Kindes ist rot. The pants of the child is red. Des Kindes, Genitivergänzung.
She gives the men beer - translates - Sie gibt den Maennern Bier . If you ask to whom she give the beer? the answer is "the men" (indirect object - dative case). If you ask what does she give? the answer is "beer"(direct object of the action/verb - accusative case). Correct me if I am wrong (Not a native speaker)
Yes, I got this as a "type what you hear" task and I couldn't make out the last word for the life of me. I even went to Google translate and tried typing in all sorts of possible words (vut, fut, but, etc.), but none of them made any sense. Finally I gave up and typed in something just to get it over with. Lost my streak of perfect responses.:(
I'm confused about the word order here, which is dative object followed by accusative object.
In the sentence 'Ich gebe das Buch einem Mann', the order becomes accusative followed by dative.
Does the word order change because the direct object (accusative) in the second sentence uses the definite article? Or is there some other reason?
In Dutch, by contrast, both sentences would use the order dative then accusative, so the German sentence with the order reversed sounds quite unnatural to me.
I can get used to that, of course, but I need to know what it is that causes the reversal of direct and indirect object.
A good rule of thumb for German is to put the main point of the sentence toward the end--i.e., whatever you're trying to emphasize, because it's new info that the other person doesn't know, it's the most interesting part, or you just want to emphasize it. For "einer Frau einen Hut," I'd say that the most important part of the sentence is that "Ich" is giving away a hat--not that it's being given to a woman.
When we use a definite article ("das Buch"), we're changing from some hat in general to a specific hat--probably one that we've already referred to (otherwise we wouldn't have used "das"). Now "Buch" is no longer "new" information, so we put it before "einem Mann."
Even in English, I would tend to change the word order based on "a" or "the." "I'm giving a woman a hat" sounds better (to me, at least) than "I'm giving a hat to a woman," and "I'm giving the hat to a woman" sounds better than "I'm giving a woman the hat."
Thanks for the response.
You make an interesting point in saying that the most relevant or interesting object in the sentence could be deemed to determine the word order, but it seems rather arbitrary to me whether the thing being given is more relevant than the person to whom it is being given. In practice, it strikes me that it would work out to be about 50% of one and 50% of the other, depending on what the speaker or writer deemed to be most relevant.
I agree with you about the English word order, but here you're comparing dative-then-accusative word order with a prepositional object, rather than accusative-then-dative word order.
"I'm giving the hat a woman" is a nonsensical (or at least somewhat surreal) sentence in English, as is "Ik geef de hoed een vrouw" in Dutch. I don't expect one Germanic language to necessarily conform to another, of course, but what's confusing about German is that sometimes it follows Dutch in dative-then-accusative word order, and sometimes uses the reverse order.
I do agree that use of the definite article with an object renders it more interesting than an indefinite object, but is it possible to state categorically that this always reverses the order of objects in a German sentence?
I'm just trying to isolate a rule I can reliably call on when I need to construct this kind of sentence. If there are exceptions to the rule, that's fine, too. It's much harder when something is entirely based on linguistic feeling, since mine is not yet well-developed in the case of German.
Just to be clear, is "Ich gebe einen Hut einer Frau" a valid sentence in German? I mean, grammatically it is, because of the proper case declensions, but does it sound natural?
Exactly: the word order will depend on what the speaker sees as important in that particular sentence. But if there is no particular emphasis on either the direct or indirect object (e.g., both with "ein" and neither is especially surprising/interesting), the indirect object usually comes first.
But I'm no native speaker, and I'm basing a lot of what I'm saying off of this series of articles. As the article says, there are a lot of different factors in word order that all need to balance out to make a sentence that sounds okay. I'd say that the definite article will not always need to come first; it's just one of those many factors that tends to make it earlier in the sentence. If I were giving "the most expensive book in the world" to "a man," that book might well go to the end of the German sentence even though it uses the definite article.
So "Ich gebe einen Hut einer Frau" would sound unnatural unless there's some special reason you want to emphasize "einer Frau." Maybe you're clarifying that you're giving it to a woman, not a man, or one woman, not two. Otherwise, I believe, it would sound weird.
Because that's how ein- declines (changes its ending) for feminine objects in dative case. The first comment on this page basically asks the same thing so the answer might be helpful to you.
The dative case lesson has very useful introductory notes, so read them and the comments as you're practising. You can also do some self-research around the internet for other explanations.
[EDIT: Some mistakes corrected. Sorry!]
Yes, that's right! My answer was originally a little bit wrong, but I've corrected it and you got the right idea anyway.
To decline an article (find the ending for ein-) you need to know the gender and case of the objects, and then use this declension pattern table. Eventually you can remember the pattern (by repetition or mnemonics).
Let's look at this sentence:
Ich is the subject
gebe is the verb
einen Hut is the direct object (what is being given)
einer Frau is the indirect object (to whom the object is being given)
The subject (Ich) gets nominative case.
The direct object (einen Hut) gets accusative case.
The indirect object (einer Frau) gets dative case.
At this point you're still probably screaming "It should be eine Frau!". Well, yes, in nominative or accusative. But we just identified that it's in dative case so look up feminine objects (i.e. Frau) in dative case in that table... einer! You can also look up masculine objects (i.e. Hut) in that table for accusative case and find einen.
So just as you probably managed to eventually remember that "masculine nouns in accusative case change to einen instead of ein", well now you have another row of the indefinite article declension pattern table to learn for dative case :) Then there's genitive...
As a test of your understanding of my explanation, can you tell me what the sentence would be if we were giving the woman to the hat?
This is mostly a tense problem. "I gave the woman a hat" is past tense, which would use a different word than "give" or "is giving". A lot of examples don't sound super great in English alone, but can be used with additional context. For example, "I give a woman a hat" isn't something you'd normally say on it's own, but with more context, such as "Everyday, I give a woman a hat in order to spread joy to the world" it makes more sense.
Okay, parts of speech. I am giving a woman a hat. I is the noun. am giving is the verb. What are you giving? a hat is the direct object. To whom are you giving it? a woman is the indirect object. The word ein gets a different ending if the word is direct vs. indirect. That is why, in German, you can say: Ich gebe einen Hut einer Frau. and it still means i am giving a woman a hat even though the hat came first in the sentence. The endings on ein tell us who is being given what. So, basically you need to learn which endings get changed and when. der becomes den, die becomes der, etc. when the noun changes to a direct or indirect object. There are tables online which you can look up.
Who give a hat? - Ich / I , so Ich is subject. I give what? - Hut. So, Hut is direct object. (Direct connection with subject). for it is nominative case, the article it takes will change to einen from ein (for singular masculine.)
now, I give a hat to whom? - A Frau. This is he indirect object. You can detect Indirect object if you ask, To WHOM? with Whom? this case is called Dative case. As it is feminine singular: it takes Eine to einer form.
I'm finding all this complex grammar daunting as I'm simply trying to learn enough German to get by on holiday. Would I be right in saying that if I use the wrong case for die/der/das, at the supermarket checkout for example, it will sound a bit wrong but the meaning would be clear enough?
The meaning may not be clear immediately, but depending on the context you may still be understood.
Supermarket checkouts require very little verbal interaction, except to answer "Kassenbeleg?" ("(Would you like the) receipt?") with ja or nein and to reply "Danke, ebenso" when they wish you a good day as you depart.
Duolingo puts in Responses Manually, Its not like there is megacomputer that knows all ways to say one Idea. They probably thought that there is no point in putting that as an acceptable answer choice, as nobody would say it like that. If you report it to duolingo, I´m sure they would accept it, but next time you should try to sound more natural.
I am giving a hat to a woman should also be right. I notice that sometimes the dative comes before the acusative and sometimes after. Does it come before with some verbs and not others. With the verb zeigen the dative seems to be after the verb and Duo asks for 'to the' in the English translation . For geben, to isnt't accepted in the english translation. Is there a rule I've missed? Thanks
It's not testing only your grammar; it's testing your entire translation of the sentence. At the (intentionally) extreme end, Duo obviously shouldn't accept an answer like "The man is showing a child a dog" even though that sentence precisely exhibits the correct grammar from the exercise. You do need to translate the sentence correctly and show Duo that you know "Hut" means "hat," not "hut."
There's no reason for Duo to accept a wrong answer as right, especially since "hut" is a real English word and fits in the sentence, and so wasn't obviously just an accidental typo.
The sentence discussions are only read by other users, not the people who can fix problems.
It is. But "einem" is for masculine and neuter nouns; since "Frau" is feminine, we need the feminine dative form, which is "einer."
You can use this declension chart to help you out (look at the "mein" chart-- "ein" conjugates exactly the same; just ignore the "m-" at the beginning).