"Ich helfe meinen Kindern."

Translation:I am helping my children.

October 21, 2015

58 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kfdaugherty

I thought Kind was child (singular) and Kinder was children (plural)? What is this Kindern?

November 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kewenge

The Dative plural of all nouns ends in "n". Such as Mannern instead of Manner

November 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Of nearly all nouns :)

Those which form their plural in -s don't add -(e)n (die Babys, den Babys).

Also, "Männer(n)", not "Manner(n)".

November 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/layla.sroor

mizinamo, I just want to thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have read many helpful posts of yours :)

Are you a native German speaker?

March 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Pretty much.

My first language was English and I went to school through English but I have been speaking German since I was three years old and I grew up in Germany.

(The fact that my school education was not in German also explains why I'm occasionally hazy about the parts of writing that don't correspond to anything you can hear, such as comma placement, capitalisation, or writing words together versus separately -- I never got taught those explicitly. The fact that some of those conventions got changed in the spelling reform of 1996 onwards doesn't help, either.)

March 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uchronia

Seconded. I've learned so much more from you mizinamo than all of my previous German teachers combined. Your insights into stylistics and precision are a real gift. Thank you so much!

September 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/layla.sroor

Cool, nice to meet you :)

March 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kewenge

I didn't know bout the s-ending words, thanks.

I did know about the umlauts, just didn't bother to look up how to type them

November 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Baconeta

Replace umlauts with 'e' after the letter in writing without them. So "Maennern" for "Männern"

May 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WhiteRabbit442

But why is it dative? I thought that "Kinder" in this case is accusative?

November 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

helfen takes an object in the dative case (not the accusative), for some reason.

November 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FraserLogan

Does anyone know the reason? Is it perhaps that the literal translation of "Ich helfe meinen Müttern" is "I give help to my mothers"?

Könnte mir bitte jemand helfen? ;)

February 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

While that's a possible wording for "give help to someone" (jemandem helfen) or "give thanks to someone" (jemandem danken), perhaps even "give congratulations to someone" (jemandem gratulieren), and "give an answer to someone" (jemandem antworten) and there's a construction involving "to" for "belong to someone" (jemandem gehören) and "appeal to someone" (jemandem gefallen), I'm not sure how to explain "follow someone" (jemandem folgen), and translating "believe someone" as "give credence to someone" (jemandem glauben) would be rather unusual a phrase in English.

It may just be best to learn a group of verbs that take an object in the dative case -- there may be some reason historically but nowadays it's not necessarily "logical" why some do so.

It's perhaps a bit like asking why "listen" requires "to" but "look" does not take "to" but instead takes "at" -- is there a good reason why we don't "listen at the orchestra" or "look to the beautiful sunset"?

helfen, danken, folgen, gefallen, gehören, wie geht es ...?, gratulieren, antworten was the set of "dative verbs" I learned at school, though there are more where those come from, e.g. jemandem dienen "to serve someone" (give service to someone?).

February 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brom807443

In Hebrew we are taught that accusative is the part of the sentence that gives a necessary information about the verb, and dative is considered what gives unnecessary info about the verb. I can't say it always works with the German division of dative and accusative but it does help. You can't just say "i give" and also not "i give you" you need to specify what you give - now in English I'm not sure it works but you can say - at least in Hebrew and i think in German too - "i give a book" without specifying who you give it to. Now in help it's a bit tricky at least in English but i think there's no real problem with "he helps" - it's not very informing - but i think it can stand on its own, therefore the info about whom he helps is unnecessary and therefore dative. So maybe that's the reason in German too - is that right - can you say "er hilft" without adding more info?

March 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brom807443

And about listen and look - i think it has to do with directing your attention - when you listen it's more specific, and when you look it can be just in a general direction. This way you can also find (at least some) reason in saying that it's necessary to specify what/who you look at, but who/what you listen to isn't a necessary info - because you always look somewhere even if it's out of focus or out of your attention so saying that you look doesn't give new info, but you don't necessarily always listen - you can hear without listening - so just saying that you listen does provide some info...

March 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sinekonata

"Ich helfe meinen Muttern" is correct then?

I thought it wasn't all of them though, is that so?

September 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

No, Ich helfe meinen Muttern is not correct for "I help my mothers". (It would work for "I help my bolts/screw-nuts".)

Hint: the nominative plural of Mutter in the sense of "mother" is Mütter.

When you form the dative of that, you still need the bit that marks the plural (here: the umlaut).

And no, not all plural nouns have -n in the dative, but the vast majority do.

The two main groups of exceptions I can think of is nouns that have an -n in the plural already (e.g. der Samen, die Samen; den Samen or die Tanne, die Tannen; den Tannen) or those that form their plural with -s (e.g. das Baby, die Babys; den Babys).

October 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sinekonata

Ok "Ich helfe meinen Müttern" then?

That seems to fit with what you described. If not, I didn't understand it fully.

October 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Yes, that would be the translation of "I help my mothers".

October 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/faridma

can i say Die Tasche gehört dieser Fraun.? i mean i can add N to singular as well or only plural?

December 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mz147

(Replying to VIJAYESH) No, "meiner" is dative feminine singular. But die Mütter is plural. "der Mutter" - dative singular "den Müttern" - dative plural

October 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YvettePaulusz

Thanks a lot, mizinamo. Your posts are very helpful!

February 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/theotree

So "helfen" is a verb that always takes dative?

October 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Yes, exactly.

There are a dozen or so verbs like that, including "helfen, danken, folgen, gefallen, gehören, antworten, dienen".

October 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ricardoreul

Dude you awesome

February 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/theotree

Hey great thanks, I've been looking for some more info about that for a while :)

October 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmramna

But why? Is it because "I am helping (to) my children." or "I thank (to) her."?

July 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I'm not sure there's a good reason except "that's the way it's done in German".

Literally, yes, we "help to someone" or "thank to someone" or "follow to someone" etc. but I'm not sure whether thinking of it literally will help or hinder.

July 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Saharat

Why is it "meinen" and not meinem Kindern when it's dative? Isn't meinen Akkusativ?

December 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

meinen is accusative for masculine singular, and also dative plural.

accusative plural would have been "meine".

"meinem" is dative singular (for masculine and neuter).

December 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cristina_6_8

what about meiner? when should i use it? or does it exist?

January 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

"meiner" is dative or genitive singular for feminine nouns:

  • Ich gebe den Ball meiner Mutter (dative singular)
  • Das ist der Ball meiner Mutter (genitive singular)

It can also be genitive plural:

  • Das ist der Ball meiner Eltern

And if it is not in front of a noun but stands by itself ("mine" rather than "my"), it can be masculine nominative singular as well:

  • Das ist meiner. (That is mine. -- referring to a masculine object)
January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariadelCa703168

Thanks a lot!!!

March 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/electriclinda

This really helps. Herzlichen Dank!

April 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmedShible

This just cleared up a lot of confusion. Thanks!

June 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/topresh

Remember guys :- NOMINATIV--------DATIV Das----------------Dem/einem/meinem... Der----------------Dem/einem/meinem... Die-----------------Der/einer/meiner... Die(plural)----------Den+n / einen+n / meinen+n...

Beispielweise (For Example):- Ich bin mit meiner Frau. (Aus, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu - immer mit dem Dativ) Ich helfe einem Kind. (Certain verbs always have dativ) Wie geht es dir? And of course, the example here.

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaryEyre

Why not "I give help to my children?"

May 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pouriya0

Why dative?? Doesn't helping take accusative nouns?

October 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

The German verb helfen takes an object in the dative case, for some reason.

October 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rid113

Meinen dative or accisative. I know dative to be meinem so if its dative why the n instead of the m? Thanks.

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

meinen is dative plural.

meinem is dative neuter or masculine.

meiner is dative feminine.

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angiexxx

Why isn't good this: 'I help to my kids"?

March 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Because in English, "help" is transitive and takes a direct object without a preposition "to".

(Also, I think that "children" is better on a site such as this, with "kids" being rather colloquial/informal.)

March 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angiexxx

ok, thanks.

March 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvvyne

does this literally mean "I give help to my children?"

August 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

No, it literally means "I help my children".

helfen means "to help", not "to give help" (which would be Hilfe leisten or Hilfe gewähren).

helfen takes an object in the dative case.

August 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael843717

Why does "helfen" take the dative case? This is messing with my understanding of the cases. Unless it's in the sense that help is given to the children... but it seems to me that when you help someone you are directly acting upon them, so it should take the accusative. Please enlighten me.

December 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Why does "helfen" take the dative case?

I don't think there's an answer for that beyond "that's just how it is".

Why do we "listen to" a bird but "look at" a bird? Why don't we "look to a bird" or "listen at a bird"? In fact, why use a preposition at all? We don't "see at a bird" or "hear to a bird", so why can't we say that I'm "listening the bird and looking the bird"? Just like we can "watch the bird", we could "look the bird"? Aren't they both kind of directly acting on the bird?

Who decides that "look" takes "at" or that "helfen" takes the dative case? Nobody -- it's just how we learned the language from our ancestors.

December 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CapnDoug

Great answer. I salute you.

January 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gorji3

I write the word CHILDREN but Duolingo writes to me it's wrong What is the problem????

January 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

The word CHILDREN does not mean the same thing as "I am helping my children".

You have to add those other words as well. Just typing CHILDREN by itself is not enough as an answer to this question.

January 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yuval882196

Hello, can someone please explain why is "meinen" before the kindern? Thanks

August 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

helfen takes an object in the dative case. Thus you need the dative plural form meinen and the dative plural form Kindern. (And Kindern has to be capitalised -- it's a noun.)

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DominikVuo

S + helfen+ Dativ = help someone, am i correct?

October 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Right.

October 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GailWalker9

As a native English speaker, here is my issue. DuoLingo marked as incorrect my phrase I help my children. I help my children versus I am helping my children. Please.

June 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

DuoLingo marked as incorrect my phrase I help my children.

It shouldn't have.

Do you have a screenshot to help us understand what might have gone wrong?

June 20, 2019
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