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  5. "Ich gebe meinen Katzen Wasse…

"Ich gebe meinen Katzen Wasser."

Translation:I am giving water to my cats.

February 12, 2016



For anyone wondering:

subject - verb - direct object - "to*" - indirect object

or subject - verb - indirect object - direct object

I - am giving - water to my cats

or I - am giving - my cats - water

The "my cats" part is the indirect object in both cases, we can tell this because the verb isn't directly being applied to it, but rather to the water.

*any other preposition really


It's the dative plural. I had to google it, though.


What if you were sacrificing a cat to a delta would you say ich geben die katzen zu die wasser?


If you consider the water to be a sort of sentient being which can be the recipient of giving, then it would be Ich gebe die Katzen dem Wasser, with neuter dative dem Wasser.


Why not "Ich gebe dem Wasser die Katzen"? Shouldn't it be the dative nouns followed by the accusative noun?


As a rule, yes.

The dative noun can sometimes come at the end of a sentence for emphasis or focus, though. I'm not sure of the rules for when this is possible, so putting the dative noun first is always safer.


That would mean "I give the cats to the water."


Are you teaching English here? :)


A question.

The sentence: "I am giving water to the flour." means something like I am prepairing the basics to bake a bread.

Is it possible by grammar that the cats are washed by water?


I wash my cats with water = Ich wasche meine Katzen mit Wasser.

I pour water on my cats = Ich gieße Wasser über meine Katzen.

I water my cats. = Ich wässere/begieße meine Katzen/ Ich tränke meine Katzen. (First means to pour water over them, the second: to give them water for drinking purposes. I am not sure about this one in English.)

I give my cats water to drink. = Ich gebe meinen Katzen Wasser zu trinken.

I let my cats drink water. = Ich lasse meine Katzen Wasser trinken.

If you "gibst" somebody something, it is implied that he has it afterwords. So in this phrase the cats are not washed. Your sentence would be: Ich gebe/füge den Katzen Wasser hinzu. = I add water to the cats.

I hope I could be of help.


Excuse, I have not mentioned that I thought about the english sentence. I speak German fluently.

Changing the verb is one possibility to avoid missunderstandings, but please let us talk about the given, english sentence.

If we replace "cats" by "chicken" ...

how can a person know only by hearing the sentence "I give water to my chicken." that the chicken won't be cocked in water? Is it possible to know without context that this sentence is not a cocking instruction?


While cooking I would always use "to add". But if you say something like: I give water to my chicken masala, it is also correct. I find English a language that solely functions by context. If you put a sentence in another context it mostly changes its meaning completely. That is one reason why there are so many jokes with words in English, that you could never translate.

Says the spider to another:

Do you know my man? He has such a bad taste. Yesterday, I gave some tomato to him. Do you want to know what happend? He still tasted like an old bag of socks.

Please correct me, if I am wrong.


I would also use "add" when cooking, not "give".


I've heard of watering a horse -- not of cats, though I suppose it would make sense. (In the sense of "give water to them for drinking purposes". Another, fairly uncommon word, for this is "drench", the causative of "drink", as "tränken" from "trinken".)


Watering a horse is rather idiomatic. "I give the cats some water/a drink" is better. "Drench" usually means "to make something completely wet" - I've never heard it used in terms of drinking. If I drench my cat it would be very unhappy with me, not thankful that I quenched its thirst.


Well this is a surreal conversation thread :)

My 2¢ is that "I am giving water to the flour" sounds kind of cute in English - like there is a bag of flour with a face on it, holding a little cup of water (in its hands?). Is this the direct translation of how you'd describe making bread in German?

As mentioned elsewhere in this thread "I am adding water to the flour" sounds much better. But you wouldn't "add" water to cats... you give it to them. You also "give" water to plants (or, you "water" them).


In German nobody "addiert" flour to milk. "addieren" is a verb for the mathematics area.

There are a lot of verbs possible as in english, too.

"geben"(=to give) is one. "to give to" is similar to "Ich gebe Milch zur Butter.". This sentence is not the modernest sentence but quiet often in a cooking book. Another similar sentence is: Ich gebe dem Jungen das Brot. A sentence formed without "zu" but with dative, one of the German cases. The sentence with dative is normally used for giving things to people, while the first sentence with "zu" is normally used without people.

other verbs for cooking: Fügen Sie alles in eine Schüssel, geben Sie Milch dazu (Verb: zugeben), verrühren Sie alles gut. Rühren/Heben Sie nun das Mehl unter den Teig.


I see that http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/drench marks the sense "to cause to drink" as archaic.


I suppose you mean "flour" rather than "flavour"?


well some people might not be bothered to Google the meanings of Accusative and Dative objects


Guys, Why it's not "meinem" ?


Because meinem is neuter dative singular or masculine dative singular -- but here, the cats are plural and so a singular form is wrong. (And cats are feminine anyway, not neuter or masculine.)


what is neuter dativ singular and masculine dative singular ?


"masculine" and "neuter" are two of the three genders (noun classes) in German -- the third is "feminine". All nouns belong to one of those three genders, and you should learn the gender of each noun when you learn the noun.

"dative" is one of the four grammatical cases of German. One of its uses is to show the recipient of giving ("indirect object").

"singular" is one of the two grammatical numbers of German, used when talking about exactly one of something or when talking about things that are not countable such as "milk"; the other grammatical number is "plural", used when talking about more than one of something.


Is there a list, specifically in the tips section, of when to use Meiner, meinem etc on the Duolingo website?


How does one PM?


PM me, I will send you my notes in .doc ;)


It's the dative plural. I had to google it, though


Wait so... If it is singular masculine its Meinem, then if its singular feminine its Meiner but if its plural it becomes Meinen?


That's right. Singular neuter is also meinem. (All those for the dative case.)

For example, Ich gebe meinem Vater / meiner Mutter / meinem Kind / meinen Eltern Wasser.


Ahhh thank you so muchhh Ive never understood that until now :)


hello why meinen and not a meinem? please somebody explain it to mo


meinem is dative singular for masculine or neuter words (e.g. der Hund: meinem Hund and das Pferd: meinem Pferd).

Katze is feminine (die Katze), so in the singular it would get meiner Katze.

But here, we have plural Katzen, so you need dative plural meinen -- as always in German, the plural form is the same for all genders, so meinen Hunden, meinen Katzen, meinen Pferden all have meinen.

The ending here (-m, -r, -n) is the same as the ending on the definite article (dative definite article is dem for masculine and neuter, der for feminine, and den for plural).


I thought " Katzen" in this case is 1 Katze in dative . Why doesnt change ending of the object in singular dative?


Nouns in general do not take a lot of endings in (modern) German, especially in the singular -- this means that case is marked nearly only on the determiner (e.g. definite article) and/or adjective, not on the noun.

The main endings are -n in the dative plural, as well as various endings such as -e, -er, -en for the other cases in the plural (though there are also nouns which have no ending in the plural).

In the singular, the main endings are -(e)s for genitive of masculine or neuter nouns (e.g. des Hundes, des Manes), and the -en for oblique cases (everything except nominative singular) of masculine weak nouns (e.g. der Name versus des Namen, dem Namen, den Namen).

Feminine nouns generally take no endings in the singular, so for example die Katze for nominative/accusative and der Katze for genitive/dative.

In the dative singular, there used to be an ending -e for masculine or neuter nouns, but this is mostly only found in fixed expressions nowadays such as zu Hause and nach Hause -- you wouldn't say mit meinem Hunde, for example.


Does anyone know a good synthesizing blog or page about plurals? Why is it Katzen? Is this regular?


There are more than 4 regular plural endings in German. (Sorry, I do not remember how many exactly.) "-en" is one of them. "-e" is one. "-s" is one. "-er" is one.

  • en: die Katze, die Katzen; das Essen, die Essen; das Mädchen, die Mädchen; der Junge, die Jungen
  • e: der Hund, die Hunde; die Maus, die Mäuse; das Pferd, die Pferde
  • s: die Mama, die Mamas; der Papa, die Papas; die Kiwi, die Kiwis; das Auto, die Autos
  • er: der Lehrer, die Lehrer; die Leiter, die Leiter; der Schüler, die Schüler; das Kind, die Kinder; das Haus, die Häuser


"die Leiter, die Leiter" ? Sorry, nein.

"die Leiter, die Leitern" Ja.

Es gibt aber auch: der Leiter, die Leiter.

Person, die etwas leitet beziehungsweise als verantwortlicher Vorgesetzter in leitender Position steht (aus Wiktionary)

Es ist wirklich verwirrend für uns Deutschlernende, nicht wahr?


Why not "Meiner"?


Because that's the wrong ending for dative plural.

It would be correct for feminine dative singular (meiner Katze "to my cat"), but here you have many cats so it's meinen Katzen "to my cats".


German grammar is getting out of hand now.


Try this website, it is a very useful grammar stuff collection: https://deutsch.lingolia.com/en/grammar/nouns-and-articles


So when it's plural it becomes meinen but when it's feminine it becomes meiner?


In the dative case, yes.

Before a masculine or a neuter noun, it would be meinem, e.g. meinem Hund (masculine), meinem Pferd (neuter).


I don't get it. "to my cats" is dative, so shouldn't it be "meinem Katzen"?


meinem is masculine or neuter dative, Katzen is neither of those: it’s plural.

Thus you need dative plural meinen.

  • 1885

Is "I give my cat water?" too idiomatic?


No; it's simply wrong as a translation, since meinen Katzen is dative plural, but "my cat" is singular.


The statement is Dative. So meiner katze should be right.


katze is never correct; nouns are capitalised in German.

meiner Katze is "(to) my cat" -- singular

meinen Katzen is "(to) my cats" -- plural

You cannot interchange them.


If it is available where you live, i have found that using the book called "collins easy learning, complete german" to be very helpful in understanding Dative/masculine/feminine etc. I had a very hard time with knowing when to use words like meinem/meinen. Hope this is helpful!!


Thanks mmkay. Very helpful and saves me having to go look it up. Appreciated


I have seen examples within Duolingo where "Ich gebe" is translated both as "I give" and "I am giving". What is the hard rule on knowing which translation to use. In the example above, I entered, "I give my cat water" and it was marked wrong.


In the example above, I entered, "I give my cat water" and it was marked wrong.

Because meinen Katzen is plural (my cats) but you wrote "my cat" -- singular.


Yes you are correct, I entered singular and not plural. I need another cup of coffee! Thank you!


And thank you for quoting the entire sentence that you wrote and not just the verb part!

Two lingots for you!


Im curious, would "Ich gebe wasser meinen katzen" be acceptable?


Im curious, would "Ich gebe wasser meinen katzen" be acceptable?


Wasser and Katzen are nouns and should be capitalised.

The indirect object meinen Katzen should come before the direct object Wasser.

[deactivated user]

    we can say this both ways: I give water to my cat, OR i give my cat water!!!! Both are acceptable in english speaking countries!!


    we can say this both ways: I give water to my cat, OR i give my cat water!

    Both of those translations are incorrect, since meinen Katzen is plural.

    If you had said "I give water to my cats" OR "I give my cats water" with plural "cats", either would have been accepted.


    So what's wrong with my answer?!?


    So what's wrong with my answer?

    None of us here can read minds, so nobody can answer that question, since you didn't show us your answer.

    Next time, please take a screenshot that shows the exercise and your answer, upload it to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur), and include the URL of the image together with your question.


    It is not grammatical


    It is not grammatical

    Could you be more specific, please?

    What is the entire sentence you are referring to with "it"?

    Which part of it is not grammatical, in your opinion? Why? What should it have been instead?


    Thank you for the great explanations


    Here is the simple rules:

    Dative + maskulin "em" Dative + feminin "er" Dative + neutral "em" Dative + plural "en"

    Ich gebe dem Mann... Ich gebe der Frau... Ich gebe dem Mädchen Ich gebe den Männern... Ich gebe den Frauen... Ich gebe die Mädchen....


    Ich gebe die Mädchen....

    That should be ich gebe den Mädchen.


    When I give water to my cat, then, my German translation should be:

    Ich gebe meiner Katze Wasser. Right?


    When I give water to my cat, then, my German translation should be:

    Ich gebe meiner Katze Wasser. Right?

    That is a good translation, yes. (But it's not the only possible word order - just the default one.)


    Yes, I think you are right. Thank you. I should or could have written "could be" instead of should be. "Ich gebe Wasser meiner Katze." might be also correct. Right?


    "Ich gebe Wasser meiner Katze." might be also correct. Right?

    It doesn't sound completely wrong to me but I'm not sure when that word order would be natural.

    Wasser gebe ich meiner Katze. and Meiner Katze gebe ich Wasser. would be two more likely word orders.


    Well, thank you very much for the comment. Yes, I had an inkling that my German above somehow did not sound naturally. I just wanted to confirm my feeling. The answers were to convert the sentence structure, thanks to you.


    I still think the cats are the indirect object, and I don't understand why this doesn't mean that I throw my cats into water.


    Because geben means "give" and not "throw", and there is no preposition to indicate "into" water.

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