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Word order?

Duolingo asks me to translate: The dog gives the apple to a man.

I realize that a word-for-word translation would be: Der Hund gibt den Apfel einem Mann. However, just for fun I decided to try the word order: Der Hund den Apfel einem Mann gibt. Duolingo tells me this is wrong. Is my (possibly awkward) word order correct, or have I been studying too much Latin?

June 13, 2012



"Der Hund den Apfel einem Mann gibt" is an awkward word order and the only occassion I can imagine it would be used by a German is in poetry were its awkwardness may be put to some intentional use. But you definitely shouldn't use it. 'Der Hund gibt dem Mann einen Apfel' is the most natural. 'Dem Mann gibt der Hund einen Apfel' would also be ok, 'Einen Apfel gibt der Hund dem Mann' would also be fine. EDIT: I originally had the man as subject in my answer because I misread the original post. Thanks to homunkoloss for pointing that out!


@wataya: it's the dog that gives an apple, so it should be "Der Hund gibt dem Mann einen Apfel", "Dem Mann gibt der Hund einen Apfel" and "Einen Apfel gibt der Hund dem Mann". Otherwise you are of course correct.


@homunkoloss: Oh, you're perfectly right. I misread the original post! Thanks a lot, I'll change my answer, so that nobody gets confused.

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