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  5. "Der Lehrer liest dem Mädchen…

"Der Lehrer liest dem Mädchen eine Zeitung vor."

Translation:The teacher reads a newspaper to the girl.

February 2, 2013



Could anyone explain what the function of "vor" is in this sentence?


It's part of the verb: "vorlesen" (to read to sb., to read out to sb, to read out loud to sb.) is a separable verb. "Lesen" just means "to read", but "vorlesen" implies that you're reading to somebody else.

For more information on separable verbs, see: http://www.deutschseite.de/grammatik/trennbare_verben/trennbare_verben.html


"Den" should be accepted. It is unclear in the audio as to whether "dem" or "den" is said, and both are grammatically correct—the only difference is whether the teacher reads to one girl or many girls.


You're right that both sentences would be grammatically correct. However, I listened to the sentence several times and I clearly hear "dem".


I listened to the sentence said slowly, I had the same doubt. ;)


I wrote "the teacher reads a newspaper in the front of the girl"


Thanks, I found these comments useful as I was confused


why is it "dem Madchen" and not "das Madchen?


Because you change the article based on case. Here, the girls are the indirect object of the verb "to read," so you have to use the dative case. The dative case of "das" is "dem."

Similarly, "die Zeitung" needs to replace "die" with the German indefinite article (ein). But you have to make "ein" into feminine. That makes it "eine Zeitung." Then you need to make it the accusative case. Fortunately, the accusative case of "eine" (feminine) is "eine." So "eine Zeitung."


Could i also say "Der Lehrer liest eine Zeitung vor dem Mädchen."?


Not without changing the meaning of the sentence. With separable verbs (see the second comment from the top), the preposition that separates from the verb is put at the end of the sentence. If you put the "vor" in the spot where your sentence has it, the meaning becomes "The teacher reads a newspaper in front of the girl."


reads out should also be accepted


How do you know when Mädchen is singular or plural? I know "das" and "die," but what about this particular case?


In this sentence Mädchen is dative;"The" as neuter dative is "dem" and as plural dative "den".

Notice that for each case the plural articles are always different from the Masculine and Neuter articles. Which is handy because many masculine and neuter plural nouns are the same in singular and plural. Feminine nouns almost always change in the plural which is handy because The feminine articles are usually the same as the plural articles. I' sure that is not a coincidence.


Ja, sehr klar jetzt! Vielen dank!


Like all nouns ending in the suffix -chen, "Mädchen" is neuter.

The forms of the definite article for neuter nouns are:


nominative: das (for the subject, e.g. The girl is interesting. And after the verbs "to be" (sein) and "to become" (werden), e.g. This is the girl)

accusative: das (for most direct objects, e.g. I see the girl)

dative: dem (for indirect objects, e.g. I write a letter to the girl)

genitive: des (to indicate possessions, e.g. This is the girl's book)

PLURAL (identical for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns)

nominative: die (usage: see above)

accusative: die (usage: see above)

dative: den (usage: see above)

genitive: der (usage: see above)

As you can see, the only case that fits here is the dative singular: "Der Lehrer liest dem Mädchen eine Zeitung vor." This makes sense, because we're dealing with an indirect object here: The teacher reads a newspaper to the girl.

(Note that the above is a simplified and not a comprehensive description of how the cases are used).

See also this table:



Ausgezeichnete Erklärung! Danke Katherle!

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