"Sie gibt einem Mann eine Orange."

Translation:She is giving a man an orange.

October 24, 2015



Could one say "Sie gibt eine Orange einem Mann" and let the dativ case take care of expressing who/what is given who/what?

November 7, 2015



December 1, 2015


Is there a preference or it comes down to emphasis (as usual)? If I always use this suggested structure, first accusative then dative (the most natural for a native Spanish speaker) will I lose any subtlety of the German sense(s)? Thanks.

February 28, 2016

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Are you asking if it is possible to invert the two objects in the German sentence? In this case it’s not possible because an accusative with an indefinite article is always behind the dative. So „Sie gibt eine Orange einem Mann.“ is not correct German.
Speaking of full objects (not objects in the form of pronouns) you can take as a rule of thumb (regla de oro): Dativ vor Akkusativ.

February 29, 2016


It comes down to emphasis. If you were just making a general statement you would probably just say "Sie gibt einem Mann eine Orange," but if you wanted to emphasize that it's an orange that she's giving him (as opposed to an apple, a gun, or whatever) you would but 'eine Orange' before 'einem Mann". You could even write it, "Eine Orange gibt sie einem Mann." While technically, that could mean that the orange is giving her to the man (since 'sie' is used in both the nominative and the accusative), through the context of the sentence you would be able to determine what is meant.

March 11, 2016

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Sometimes the position of the objects can be changed, but always respecting the rules. One rule is: An accusative object with an indefinite article is always behind the dative. “Sie (nominative) gibt dem Mann (dative masculine) eine Orange (accusative with an indefinite article)." = She gives an orange TO the man.
If you change the places then it will be against the rule but thanks to “dem Mann” the sentence can be understood even though it sounds very strange.

Exactly the same happens when you replace “dem Mann" (dative masculine) for “dem Kind" (dative neuter). Again against the rule but can be understood.

But what happens if you replace “dem Mann” for a feminine dative? “Sie gibt der Frau (dative feminine) eine Orange." = She gives an orange TO the woman.
Changing the objects would be “Sie gibt eine Orange der Frau (genitive feminine)" = She gives an orange OF the woman.
The result of this change: The former dative object “der Frau” has now changed to be the genitive object “der Frau” because of its position in the sentence. The dative object is missing, and the whole thing isn’t understandable any more.

A general rule has to work for the three genders and here this is not the case, when the position of the objects is changed. So the only way to have a correct sentence is following the rule: Dativ vor Akkusativ, first dative and then accusative.

How then emphasize an object?
1.- By writing it at the beginning of the sentence. You won’t find this kind of structure very often because it sounds too elaborated and heavy. But notice that in this case subject and verb change their positions as well:
"Eine Orange gibt sie dem Mann." "Eine Orange gibt sie der Frau."
2.- By writing the emphasized object in italic (kursiv). (not in DL!?!)

I found links about some rules. Even though it’s in German, it’s not very difficult to understand: http://www.deutschegrammatik20.de/wortposition/wortposition-dativ-akkusativ/

This one is tougher, but more complete, with charts which could be helpful: http://ww.deutschakademie.de/online-deutschkurs/dativ-akkusativ-erklaerung

March 16, 2016


Thank you for your detailed answer!

March 16, 2016


You are missing a 'w' in that last link so it doesn't go there unless you change that to "www."

June 27, 2018


Duolingo says, "As a rule, the dative object comes before the accusative object, if none of these objects is a pronoun."

March 6, 2019


And that, my grandkids, is how I proposed to your grandpa´...

March 9, 2017


Okay, I understand that dative case is for indirect objects: in this sentence, the man is the INdirect object, because the orange is given to him, and the orange is the direct object, because it is the thing being given.

My question is: is there any "rule" or "pattern" for dative articles? Is it ALWAYS "einer" for "die" words and "einem" for "der" words?

We had to memorize a chart in my second semester of German, which taught me nothing. I cannot learn by rote memorization. I hope DuoLingo's more "organic" learning process will help me with Dative case, so it's no longer something I dread.

February 12, 2016


The grammatical rule is simple and easy:

einem => for both masculine and neuter words (dativ)

einer => for female words only (dativ)

August 19, 2016



March 26, 2018


So when do you use 'einen'?

February 6, 2019


For a masculine noun in the accusative case -- e.g. a direct object of a verb.

(Here, Mann is in the dative case, as the indirect object of the verb.)

For example, Ich gebe einer Frau einen Apfel.

February 6, 2019


A good way I was able to memorize it was by thinking of the word "merman!" (Since it really sticks to my head.) Basically MRMN (eineM- masculine, eineR- feminine, eineM- neutral, eineN- plural). I don't know if this helps but the visual worked for me

August 6, 2019


I type intentionally: She is giving a man an orange. It was accepted as correct but how it sounds for english native speakers?

March 5, 2017


It's fine.

July 27, 2017


That would be totally fine, just like in German, the English language allows you to say the same thing in different ways sometimes (though not always, which can be confusing), and in the case of this sentence your word order works well.

March 6, 2018


How do i know whether the sentences must use einem or einen? Help me please

July 17, 2017

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depends on whether it is Dativ or Akkusativ. Please read the notes on these chapters.

February 6, 2018


Because "einem" ends in m and Mann begins with m, the male voice speaking this sentence sounds like it is saying "eine Mann". Is this just a poorly-enunciated example, or is it typical (because enunciating both m sounds feels unnatural)?

Spanish will do something like this, for example "una amiga" sounds like "un amiga", so I would not be surprised to see other languages do this.

August 4, 2018


Does it even matter, though? As far as I'm aware, „eine Mann” (like un amiga) is not correct in any circumstance, so feel free to elide or not to heart's content without fear of confusion.

March 18, 2019


Who said it matters? I obviously wasn't tripped up by it. It was just something that interested me.

March 18, 2019


Absolutely, I'm not a native sleaker but watching a lot of German TV and listening to German music (both of which I recommend) i started noticing that Germans can sometimes blur their words together- especially in cases like this. If you want to get used to how native speakers say these phrases, appart from normal exposure, I'd also recommend the app 'Memrise' since it has a feature which allows you to watch video clips of locals saying vocab words and phrases. The app goes great with Duolingo and I use both quite a bit.

August 6, 2019


Please- someone help me! I really do not understand this. Can someone explain this concept?

November 4, 2015


einem Mann = dative (the one who receive the orange) eine Orange = accusative ( the one that is being given)

November 8, 2015


I'd love to help, but I don't want to look inferior to the English Majors on this website.

November 6, 2015


Regarding pronunciation: In high school my German teacher pronounced the "g" in Orange with a "hard g" (like the "g" in "gift"). Duolingo pronounces it with a "soft g," like the letter "j." Which is correct? Is it a matter of dialect or regional differences

January 13, 2016

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Duolingo is correct. "Orange" is not a German, but a French word and we adopted it with the French pronunciation, the “g” like a soft English “j”. The old/first German word for this fruit is or was “die Apfelsine”. Maybe “die Apfelsine” is still used in North Germany, but in South Germany and in Switzerland this word is not known at all.

February 29, 2016


this is truly ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ frustrating me

July 13, 2017


Why isn't "eine" "einen" here? Danke!

July 27, 2017


Because Orange is feminine.

einen would be masculine accusative.

So you might say, for example, Sie gibt einem Mann einen Apfel. since Apfel is masculine.

July 27, 2017


Translates to "She is giving a man an orange" or "She gives a man an orange" (which since German doesn't have a present continuous tense the latter is more literal).

Dissecting the sentence helps:

Sie/she = subject = nominative

Orange/orange = object = accusative

Mann/man = indirect object = dative

Gibt/give = verb

Einem/a = dative article belongs to dative noun

Eine/a = accusative article belongs to accusative noun

Also, dative case answers the question "to whom?" or "from whom?"


He gives her the book. To whom does he give the book? To her.

He buys me flowers. For whom does he buy the flowers? For me.

August 16, 2017


How am I supposed to learn about cases? I'm not taking any German formal classes!

September 6, 2017


Are you reading the tips and notes before each new unit of lessons?

Those are only available on the website, not in any of the mobile apps.

Trying to learn German just with the app and without any outside help must be an exercise in frustration.

September 6, 2017


Omg! I didn't know there are notes. I been using the mobile app all this time. Thanks for pointing that out! Would definitely look into that :) I managed to reach 41% until my first frustration encounter, so fret not! I'll find my way ;)

September 6, 2017


Phew! I'm not the only one. I reached 19% and started getting quiet disheartened at the amount of research I was having to do, until I finally opened duolingo on my laptop to discover a wealth of tips and notes. I might have had a musical hallucination but I swear I heard a fanfare erupt in the room. Good luck Paula.

September 28, 2017


She gives to a man an orange. Would this be an acceptable translation?

September 14, 2017



If you put the indirect object (the man) first, then don't use "to" -- "She gives a man an orange."

Only use "to" if the indirect object is put second: "She gives an orange to a man."

September 14, 2017


She is giving an orange a man should be correct, right?

January 13, 2018



When the indirect object (recipient) comes second, you need "to".

If you leave out "to", then the first noun phrase (an orange) would be interpreted as the recipient and the second one (a man) as the direct object, the thing which is given. It would mean that you give a man to an orange.

January 13, 2018


I do not understand why "she gives a man an orange" is not correct. If it isn't, how would you say my translation in German?

January 18, 2018


"she gives a man an orange" is correct and is one of the accepted translations.

If you type that and it gets marked wrong, can you create a screenshot and upload it somewhere, then link to it here, please?

(First check, though, that you are being asked to translate into English and that it's not a "type what you hear" exercise where you have to type in German what you heard in German.)

January 18, 2018


I know when to change ein to einen when it comes to subjects and objects but when does it change to einen? Does it involve the indirect object?

February 11, 2018


einem is the masculine dative or neuter dative form of ein.

It's used (among other things) for an indirect object, e.g. einem Mann = "(to) a man".

February 11, 2018


Why is it einem and not einer?

March 20, 2018


Because Mann is masculine, not feminine.

einer would be used before a feminine noun, e.g. einer Frau.

March 21, 2018


She gives the man an orange is more succinct than she is giving an orange to a man

August 6, 2019


You cannot arbitrarily change “a man” into “the man”. “She gives the man an orange.” would have been “Sie gibt dem Mann eine Orange.”

August 6, 2019
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