Then he would probably have slept under the table: Er schlief unter dem Tisch. :o)
Is "Er hat auf dem Tisch geschlafen" acceptable? And if so, is there a difference in usage between the two?
It's correct in German but it's not the exercise. The difference is the same in English: He slept on the table, He has slept on the table.
In spoken German perhaps, however in written German, in my experience, it's the other way around. Er sah, Ich dachte, Sie bekam etc etc...
It depends on the register on the written German. Informal written German will use the perfect just as widely as in spoken.
I really beg to differ. I've got at least 50 children's books in German that are not at all using the perfect tense. Is that all the German books, no. It's a pretty good amount though and I feel it would be representative of "informal written".
"He slept on the table." / "He slept upon the table." --Thoughts on why the latter is not accepted?
I wouldn't be so quick to add it.
Whatever upon means literally in English, it is most commonly used with some degree of a time element.
Once upon a time.
I came upon a snake on the table
You might use upon when describing something. ....Upon the table there was a snake, five sets of dishes ... But even here, there is a time element because this is the first time you are confronted with the image. If you were familiar with the setting you would use.....on that table, (that you already know about) there is a snake .....
It is mostly a matter of stylistic usage for a word which is rapidly becoming antiquated. Non English speakers should know that using upon is a distraction for the listener especially if it isn't connected to time in some way. Using a word which is outdated for normal conversation sets up an expectation of the kind of speech which is going to follow.
I'm sure many would disagree with me so they should feel free to use upon as much as they wish. But it is at least slightly distracting in ordinary conversation no matter how heartfelt the conviction that the speaker has as to its provenance.
Why is Tisch in the genetive case and not accusative case? The door is the one who "receives" or is "acted upon"... No?
Tisch is not in the genitive case.
It's in the dative case, because the preposition auf requires the dative case when indicating a location.
The door is not a core argument of the verb -- it's not the subject, and "sleep" doesn't have a direct object (you can't "sleep the table"). The door is not receiving anything, not acted on (it's not "the thing which is slept").
It's just part of a prepositional phrase.
I'm confused here too. Another exercise puts Tisch in the accusative when it's an indirect object: Er stellte die Tassen auf den Tisch. What makes it acc. there and dat. here?
Tisch is not the indirect object in either of those sentences -- it's not directly connected to the verb as an object at all.
Instead, it's part of a prepositional phrase headed by the preposition auf.
auf is one of those two-way locative prepositions that takes the dative case when indicating the location of an item or an action, and the accusative case when indicating the destination of motion.
In Er stellte die Tassen auf den Tisch, the cups started somewhere else and moved onto the table when he put them there: the table is the destination of the movement "putting". Thus the sentence uses the accusative case after auf. auf + accusative is often translated by "onto".
In Er schlief auf dem Tisch, the sleeping took place on the table. His body did not start somewhere else and then "sleep onto the table": there is no motion involved, and "onto the table" doesn't make sense here. The table is just a location, and so the sentence uses the dative case after auf. auf + dative is often translated by "on".
I think you confuse Tür (door) and Tisch (table). Also, the table is not in the genitive case, but in the dative case. This is because when preceded by a location preposition, the article is accusative when the action implies moving (eg. towards the table) and dative when the action doesn't imply movement (eg. already on the table).
For example: He went on the table. -> Er ging auf den Tisch. The subject was moving towards the table, thus accusative is used.
He slept on the table. -> Er schlief auf dem Tisch. The subject was not moving, he was already on the table. Hence dative is used.