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"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?


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.

  • 1949

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.


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.

  • 1949

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://www.deutschakademie.de/online-deutschkurs/dativ-akkusativ-erklaerung


Thank you for your detailed answer!


Your explanation for me doesn't have any sense, but the links are useful.


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


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


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.


The grammatical rule is simple and easy:

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

einer => for female words only (dativ)


So when do you use 'einen'?


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.


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


Except that the indefinite article "ein" can never be plural, since it means "a", "an" or "one". The negative "kein" and the possessive adjectives do have a plural form in Dative.


Give a man an orange, feed him for day. Teach a man how to orange, feed him for a lifetime.


xhow to orangex It could be "how to grow oranges"


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


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.


this is truly ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ frustrating me


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


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.


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


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


No entiendo porqué no puede ser "gives" en lugar de "is giving"


You can if you do this on a regular basis, but would someone really give an orange to any man that comes along on a regular basis. I mean if it were the same man you would use "dem Mann" since you would know which man you were thinking of after a bit. What was your complete sentence?


I accidentally put "Sie gibt einem Mann einer Orange." and it was accepted.


That should have been "Sie gibt einem Mann eine Orange.", since "Orange" is in Accusative case and "einer" would have been used for Dative case for "Orange" while "Mann" is in Dative case. Please report your answer as not correct.


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


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


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


The dative case is used for the indirect object in a sentence. A direct object receives the action of a verb while the indirect object receives the object itself.

Here, someone is giving an orange to a man. The thing being given is an orange, rather than a man, so the orange is the direct object (accusative case). The man receives the orange, so "man" is the indirect object.

In English, we either say (e.g.) "give a man an orange" (the word order implicitly shows which is the indirect and direct object) or "give an orange to a man" (the "to" marks the indirect object - here, "a man").

In German, the ending of the article (i.e. a/an/the) indicates the direct and indirect object, so that we never confuse giving a man an orange with giving an orange a man!


Give me a lingot!

A man gives a woman an apple. (ein mann gebt einer frau einen Apfel.) A woman gives a man an apple (eine Faru gebt einem mann einen Apfel) A woman gives a man an orange (Eine frau gebt einem mann eine Orange.) The man gives the woman the apple Der mann gebt der frau den Apfel.

The woman gives the man the apple- Die Frau gebt dem mann den Apfel.

The women give the men the apples - Die Frauen geben den Mannern Die Apfel.

Umlat changes ignored*

If you have difficulty with understanding these sentences, make a comment, I will come back and explain.


Shouldn't "die Frauen geben (den) Männern die Äpfel.. Be "die Frauen geben (der) Männern die Äpfel... Can you explain please!


"Der Männern" doesn't exist. The -n only gets tagged on for the dative plural of "Mann":
nom: der Mann - die Männer (who?)
gen: des Mann(e)s - der Männer (whose?)
dat: dem Mann(e) - den Männern (to whom?)
acc: den Mann - die Männer (whom?)
"Geben" always requires the dative, as you're giving something to someone (Lat. "dare" = "to give", so actually, "geben" isn't only a simple verb that is used with the dative, it's the verb that's responsible for the name of the whole case).
The articles don't only change by case, but also for gender and plural, so while MetaCentrik's sentence "der Mann gibt der Frau den Apfel" is correct (except for "gebt" which should be "gibt"), it will change in other combinations:
masculine (der Mann):
"die Frau gibt dem Mann einen Apfel"
"die Frau gibt den Männern..."
feminine (die Frau):
"der Mann gibt der Frau..."
"der Mann gibt den Frauen..."
neuter (das Kind):
"die Frau gibt dem Kind..."
"die Frau gibt den Kindern..."
So as you can see, "der" is actually the outlier in what is otherwise (sg) "dem" - (pl) "den" for the dative :)


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

  • 1949

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.


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.


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


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.


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 ;)


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.


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



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."


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



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.


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?


"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.)


She is giving a man an orange was not accepted


Again, double check the instructions Duolingo gave you, perhaps you were supposed to write in German. Take a screenshot please if not.


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?


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".


Why is it einem and not einer?


Because Mann is masculine, not feminine.

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


Why isn't 'She gives to the man an orange.' also correct?


In English we wouldn't say "She gives to the man X", it would be "She gives the man X".

EDIT: Also, "einem" is an indefinite article (a/an in English), and "the" is a definite article. So "einem Mann" would never mean "(to) the man", only "(to) a man".


We can also say "She gives an orange to a man.", but the preposition "to" is only used when the indirect object comes after the direct object.


Why isn't it einen Orange


< Why isn't it einen Orange

Because Orange is feminine, not masculine.


Seriously?!? "She gives a man an orange" is not correct? I know I've used "gives" instead of "is giving" before and it's been accepted. Come on Duolingo, it together.


"She gives a man an orange" is not correct?

Yes, it is.

Do you have a screenshot of that answer being rejected?


what is wrong with she is giving an orange to a man


what is wrong with she is giving an orange to a man



Hpw to know, when we have to use ein,einen or einem


How do we know when and in which case we have to choose between ein,einen or einem


Word endings of pronouns and nouns and articles do depend on gender and number (masculine, neuter, feminine or plural), as well as case (Nominative, Accusative, Dative or Genitive). Cases are explained at the following link and there is a table for the indefinite article "ein" and its forms, as well as tables for the definite articles and personal pronouns, if you just keep scrolling down, and I recommend that you read it all. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-four-german-noun-cases-4064290

Please delete your two comments above this one as they are basically the same.


She is giving an orange to a man Why is incorrect?


This is correct if Duolingo wanted you to translate to English. Verify Duolingo's instructions to you as some exercises have you practice writing in German.


Play the slow speaker, you will fall on floor laughing :))


Orange is feminine.

It's the definite object in this sentence (it's the thing that "undergoes" or "suffers" the giving), so it's in the accusative case.

Thus you need feminine accusative eine before it.


Sie gibt einem Mann einer Orange!!! Is it correct ?


Sie gibt einem Mann einer Orange!!! Is it correct ?

No, it is not correct.

You have two objects in the dative case and none in the accusative case.

It's like "She is giving to a man to an orange."

Instead, you need one object in the dative case (the recipient) and one in the accusative case (the thing which is given).


Warum wir Schreiben "einem? Und nicht einen für der Mann?


Warum wir Schreiben "einem? Und nicht einen für der Mann?

The man is the recipient of the giving -- the indirect object of the verb. So it stands in the dative case.

Thus we need masculine dative einem here, not masculine accusative einen.

The direct object is the thing which is being given -- here, the orange. Thus we have feminine accusative eine Orange.


Vielen danke


i wrote She is giving an orange a man it should be accepted but duo didnt accept it why? i read the tip it said i should translate and write like this in english :She is giving an orange 'to' a man


i wrote She is giving an orange a man […] duo didnt accept it why?

Because that means that you are taking a man and giving him to an orange.

But the German sentence Sie gibt einem Mann eine Orange. says that you are taking an orange and giving it to a man.

The meanings are quite different -- you have switched the recipient and the gift.

i read the tip it said i should translate and write like this in english :She is giving an orange 'to' a man

That is indeed a correct translation.

Another possible translation is: She is giving a man an orange.


yeah tnx here its about translation and i think im not good at in English yet and it makes me confused sorry


Why einem? Is that the dative form?



Specifically, masculine dative -- dative because it's for the indirect object (the recipient of geben) and masculine to match the gender of the word Mann.


Thank you dear


Why is 'she is giving an orange to a man' not acceptable?


It should be accepted when translating to English, but somet8mes the instructions are to put it in German.


she gives to a man an orange. this is not correct. why?


Incorrect English word order


Correct word order is "She gives an orange to a man." or put the indirect object first and then you do not need the preposition at all for "She gives a man an orange."


I think this is correct English, as a native speaker (college freshman English)

The only thing I would add, is that you would need a comma-

She gives, to a man, an orange.

And yes it seems a little bit pretentious. I imagine it would sound even more so out loud or poetic maybe.

But they seem to accept all other things with no punctuation so..


Those commas would not be optional though. A lot of things are allowed for poetry that would not ordinarily be correct, so...


It is saying that i made the wrong choice, and gives an answer that wasnt available


We cannot see your page, so we do not know what you put or which choices you had.


She gave a man an orange Duo thinks is wrong She gives a man an orange Duo thinks is right so not very much use of the past tense in German


I don't understand this comment. "Gibt" is present tense, not past. Why would you expect past tense to be accepted as a correct answer?


This is probably a person who is impatient to learn another tense. We should say “Don’t worry, Duolingo will teach the past tenses later.”


so not very much use of the past tense in German

German uses the past tense about as much as English does.

But this sentence uses the verb form gibt, which is present tense, not the verb forms gab or hat gegeben, which are past tense.


"She is giving an orange to the man" was rejected: I've reported it.


Your answer was incorrect. "Einem" is the indefinite article. "To the man" would be "dem Mann".


Good point. Sometimes it doesn't matter how many times you look at something, you still can't see the obvious!

[deactivated user]

    dictionary hints suggest she gives an man an orange. Use of an before a word is for words beginning with a vowel


    The hints are per word not per sentence and are for all sentences. When I click on "einem" at the top of this page before "Mann" using the web version of Duolingo, I get this page. https://www.duolingo.com/dictionary/German/einem/70c9196231179c9a9b0fc6ab2bb550e3

    When I click on "eine" in front of "Orange", I get this page, so this seems to work a bit better. https://www.duolingo.com/dictionary/German/eine/1efa36dd929a856a46828fe3872566eb

    [deactivated user]

      einem man - the dictionary hints auggest an man!! Incorrect as an is used before words beginning with a vowel. Do you not know this???????


      Dictionary hints are per word so they may suggest "a", "an", "one", or even "to a", or "to an" for the Dative case version. You have to pick the best fit for the sentence.


      This is terrible writing.


      "She gives a orange to a man" why is that wrong??


      "She gives an orange to a man" is correct.


      The thing is they corrected my sentence as: "She gives 1 orange to a man"


      That's wrong, then. The German sentence can mean both: one orange and an orange. Report it!


      I also keep getting "flagged" for using "an" instead of "one"


      Both are correct and Duolingo considers 1 = one.


      I get a feeling that many of the times the computer does not know why it has not accepted your answer and tends to give the wrong solution to fix it.


      Why is wrong " She is giving a orange to a man"? Duo said that I should use 1 instead a (in front of orange)


      A confusing correction; a better one would be that you should have used an instead of a -- because orange starts with a vowel sound.


      the is is superfluous and the english is actually incorrect sorry


      The English is actually correct. Scroll up and down for more information.


      Nonsense an orange is also fine. Nonsense..


      I think the translation isn't correct. Makes no sense at all.


      It is correct and it makes sense too.


      Doesn't "Einem" go with the neuter not the masculine?


      You need to review the cases. Plenty of sources online. Nom/acc/dat


      "A" is the same thing of 1


      "A" is correct in front of "man", but "orange" starts with a vowel sound and requires "an".


      Would "they give a man a an Orange" be a correct translation? They marked it as wrong.


      No, because "geben" is conjugated for "sie"="she". If it were "Sie geben eine Orange einem Mann" then it could mean they, or even you formal.


      Yes because it's Sie gibt so She gives. They give would be Sie geben.


      Thank you, this is a very nice orange! :)

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