"Nein, er wird den Fisch um nichts mehr bitten."
If one is going to talk to fish, should this be the dative case--"dem Fish"--instead of accusative?
'jdn. um etwas bitten' takes the accusative case. Dative doesn't work.
Thank you. So, if I understand correctly, if you say something TO someone, it's dative--sagen dir, ihm, dem, etc.--but if you ask someone for something, it's accusative--frage dich, etc.?
Hmm, I'm not sure whether this is correct for all verbs that have something to do with talking or asking. But as a rule of thumb, it shouldn't be too bad. At the moment, I can't think of a counter example.
Dative verbs! The penny just dropped. Now I understand (not that I won't make more mistakes, of course). Thank you!
Just came up with some counter examples ;-) 'Ich informiere dich, Ich benachrichtige dich' (acc.) - 'I inform you'.
Again, I don't want to claim a universal rule here, but the general usage patterns go in the direction you suggest. Some verbs require the dative, others the accusative and some can take either or both (e.g. 'informieren' and 'benachrichtigen' require the accusative). There is no foolproof rule from which you could infer to which group a given verb belongs. But the tendency is clearly as observed by you above. If a 'speaking verb' takes both objects, the dative object is the person you address and the accusative object is the thing you want to say. It's similar for other verbs that take both kinds of objects. So, my answer is: yes, but take it ('it' being 'asking verbs take the accusative') as a rule of thumb, not a heavenly truth. Maybe you find this useful: http://german.about.com/library/verbs/blverb_dativ.htm
Thanks. OK, so in speaking, the direct object is the thing you are saying (accusative) to someone (dative). But in asking, informing, or notifying, the direct object is the person addressed (accusative). Is that right?
Thank you. That is helpful. I have noticed, I think, that one generally asks "um" or "ûber" something; such a sentence is, in that respect, structured a little differently from a statement that one has said something. And thank you for the link--that too is very helpful.