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  5. "The family is sleeping in a …

"The family is sleeping in a bed."

Translation:Die Familie schläft in einem Bett.

February 4, 2013



I thought dative was something being shown or given to someone or something. I don't get it's being used here in this context


There are a few prepositions in German that take either accusative or dative depending on the context. These are called "Wechselpräpositionen".

Wechselpräpositionen: auf, über, an, zwischen, neben, hinter, unter, vor, in

When a sentence with one of these prepositions answers the question "Wo?" or "Wann?", you have to use the dative case. Ex: "Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch." ("Wo liegt das Buch?") "Ich habe im Juni Geburtstag." ("im" = "in" + "dem") ("Wann hast du Geburtstag?")

When it answers the question "Wohin?" (there is movement involved), you have to use the accusative case). Ex: "Ich gehe in den Park." ("Wohin gehst du?")


Can 'in einem' be contrracted into 'im'?


No, that only works with the definite article:

in einem (in a)

in dem/im (in the)


German is very preposition-rich, so I don't think anyone would say "sleep in the bed" (im Bett) in german, but rather "sleep on the bed" (auf dem Bett). But I might be wrong.


It would be great to have feedback here.


"Die Familie schlaeft in einem Bett" sounds normal and natural; "Die Familie schlaeft auf einem Bett" would sound very odd.


Danke schön, Katherle. Sie sind sehr hilfreich.


I don't understand why 'die Familie' is not plural ie Schlafen (we/they) rather than schläft (he/she/it) Mind you I am starting to get very muddled as it gets more and more complicated and my 63 brain can't retain :-(


Die familie = accusative - direct object, and only changes in the masculine. For example, ' der = dem, etc.. Einem Bett = dative - indirect object and in the dative case, ein = einem, eine = einer. Also, note that ' in ' can take the accusative case if there is motion towards, direction, etc., and ' in ' can take the dative case, if there is location, being inside, etc..

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