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  5. "Who are you writing to?"

"Who are you writing to?"

Translation:Wem schreibst du?

September 25, 2017

93 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
Mod

    The German word for "who" has its ending modified depending on whether it is nominative/accusative/dative/genitive case. It follows the pattern for the definite article der.

    nominative: wer
    e.g. Wer kommt? = "Who is coming?"
    (wer is the subject)

    accusative: wen
    e.g. Wen siehst du? = "Who do you see?"
    (wen is the direct object, du is the subject)

    dative: wem
    e.g. Wem hat sie das gegeben? = "Who did she give that to?" (lit. "To whom did she give that?") (wem is the indirect object, das is the direct object, sie is the subject)

    genitive: wessen
    e.g. Wessen erinnert er sich noch? = "Who does he still remember?" (lit. "Of whom does he still remember?")
    (wessen is the genitive object - not very common)

    More information on Canoo.net.


    In this example, you use the dative case to say who you're writing to: Ich schreibe dir or Du schreibst dem Professor. The question-word "who?" also needs dative case for this question as a result.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ian.Yoder

    It also doesn't help that the English sentence is incorrect; it should be "Whom are you writing to?" It's much easier to remember wen/wem that way.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benton.1

    To be perfectly correct, it would be: "To whom are you writing?" But, you know, most of us just say "Who you writing to?" these days.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wayne____

    "Whom are you writing to" is just fine unless ending sentences with prepositions is something up with which you shall not put.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dave168907

    Is this Churchill?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gtg061r

    Indeed, that is the correct English sentence. I have reported it, so everyone please help report it too.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will709432

    You mean: to whom are you writing. I find it easier to think of it this way.

    I am writing a letter to my friend...to my friend is the indirect prepositional phrase. Wem is for indirect, whom. As in, whom are you writing to, or to whom are you writing.

    So when I see woher, wofür, wem, I think from where, for what, to whom etc.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susan_Skelly

    In English, both are accepted. "Who" is more common, esp. in speech. "Whom" is typically used more often in academic and formal settings today, in speech or in writing. Many people still believe the myth that "whom" is the only correct choice, but that's .... well, a myth.

    And for the record, Duolingo accepts both.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sebastian752519

    Quite correct. In modern English "whom" is obligatory only after prepositions.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregoryEva8

    It's areas like this that Duolingo is really poor at teaching. I feel they need to restructure this set of lessons so they teach all of these on building blocks rather than throwing them at you all at once.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ashwin1985

    This is such a great answer, yet i feel so discouraged after realizing this additional complexity for a basic word.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Bonavoglio-

    Don't let it take you down. There are hardships everywhere. Endure, and you shall thrive.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhillipCY

    Thank you SO much.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/noekiii

    When do we use dative? It keeps coming up without any explenations


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tia472591

    But there is no direct object in this task.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

    The direct object is implied. It is whatever is being written (a letter, an email z.b)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dr2BigM

    that's why we use wem her wem (person - indirect object) wer (person - subject) wen (person - direct object)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jaime836972

    This is a great and illustrative explanation of the most difficult subject of the German grammar I have encounter so far. I don't even dare to think about what is waiting for me further on.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wolven69

    That was wonderfully helpful thank you!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DefZeppelin72

    You should be a teacher if you're not already


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salgsalg

    In this example, the subject is you the indirect object is the professor the direct object = ??


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

    The direct object is implied. It is whatever is being written (a letter, an email z.b)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KarlSultana

    So who's writing (you) is the subject, the thing that's being written (not mentioned) would be in the accusative. And the person (who) that is receiving the written thing would be in the dativ.

    Correct?

    Therefore one has to understand the actual meaning of the sentence in order to decipher which words are in which cases.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/judea95

    What is the difference between wen and wem? I keep getting them wrong


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mglbrg

    "Wem schreiben Sie?" has to be accepted too.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/apgeraint

    'To whom are you writing?' is the correct English. 'Who are you writing to?' is bad English for two reasons. 1, Because the object is 'whom' and 2, "It is not good to end a sentence with a preposition .


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicLiam

    Maybe so, but it the way most English speakers today would frame the question.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carla744071

    (American) English speakers today don't understand when to use "whom". Most don't even understand when to use first person pronouns when they're paired with another (pro)noun. E.g. "mom and I made the cake for him and me" -- you'll always see people messing up either the subject or the object. You'll hear, "me and him went to the movies" or "she bought a present for my husband and I" with full seriousness.

    Just because bad grammar is common doesn't mean Duo should embrace it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KarlEisenhofer

    Common usage defines grammar, not the other way around.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wayne____

    I agree except for the American part. People in England make mistakes that are different to ours.

    I hope I didn't confuse too many Americans with a sentence that seems nonsensical. I equally hope that those from England recognize that it was meant as good natured ribbing and I sincerely hope that you know what's wrong with the above statement.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susan_Skelly

    And many "Grammar Nazis" overcorrect and use "whom" incorrectly. And let's not make this about Americans. All speakers of English use "who" as a less formal variant and the world needs to get over it - we have.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mOehlschlager

    Why not "Wem schreibt ihr?"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

    I tried that earlier and got marked incorrect, so I have reported it, as I believe it should be accepted as an alternative answer.

    7th Feb 2019 ... I have been informed that this has now been added as an accepted alternative answer.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/suku391652

    What's wrong with "An wen schreiben Sie?" ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grandtricia

    Nothing! Report it as being a correct answer


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnastasiaM803585

    Why is it not 'Wer schreibst du an?'


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/extnull

    These require knowledge of dative and genitive cases, yet the desktop-exclusive notes don't explain them. They only say they will be explained in the future.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HammadS.

    You = subject; Letter being written = direct object; Who = indirect object (receiver of object).

    Correct?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

    Yes, though the direct object in this instance is assumed to be a letter - it could be an email or a tweet, etc.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rabberish

    Still not accepting "Wem schreiben Sie".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dilynn18

    The sentence should read in English, "To whom are you writing?" That is correct English. Period. So sad so many people speak English incorrectly.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elwyn3607

    I get why the recipient of the writing is not the subject of the sentence but I'm not understanding why that person is an indirect object, rather than the direct object. Can anyone explain?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benton.1

    The direct object is the recipient of the action, the indirect object is the recipient of the direct object. Also, the direct object answers the question "what". The indirect object answers the question "to whom or for whom". I hit the ball to John. "Ball" is the recipient of the action "hit". It answers the question "what". What did I hit? I hit the ball. Who received the direct object? John did. It answers the question "to whom" did I hit the ball. In the example sentence, there is no "person" stated. It is just the question "to whom". "I am writing (a letter) to whom?"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elwyn3607

    Thanks, it's a good explanation and I understand what you're saying, but I'm still struggling specifically with 'Wem schreibst du?'. In this sentence who or what is the direct object, the recipient of the action?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benton.1

    There is no direct object.

    I am writing a letter. Letter = d.o.

    I am writing a letter to John. John = i.o.

    I am writing a letter to whom? / To whom am I writing a letter? letter = d.o.

    I am writing to whom? / To whom am I writing? The d.o. is no longer in the sentence.

    "Whom" is also the object of the preposition "to".

    Please also look at az_p's comment at the top of the page.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elwyn3607

    So the letter (or whatever it is) that's implicitly being written is the d.o. of the action of writing and its recipient (the whom) is the i.o. as a result. Thank you very much; that's helpful and now makes sense.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Catasprache

    But I thought we will use accusative since the 'to whom' is actually the direct object. Help me please.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhillipCY

    I had a lot of trouble with this when I was starting out. Whenever „wem“ is used, it implies the dative case. Although it’s not physically there, it’s the same as zu wem, as zu triggers the dative case. You get more accustomed to it as you listen to and read more German. Hope this helps.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

    The 'to whom' is the recipient of the direct object. The 'direct object' is the implied 'thing being written' i.e. the letter/the email


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PoppyBarn

    Thanks for asking that!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicholas412156

    I have this exact doubt. Someone please help!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dave168907

    Education systems of today do not emphasize the teaching of correct grammar. They are only concerned with producing factory workers and slaves. Most adults of today are not interested in correct grammar. We are products of those systems.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MamOOfkica

    I typed Wem schreibst du and it didn't accept the answer


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BergLowe

    Wem/wen is literally "whom" in english. It would not translate as "who" (wer).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jfnewell

    We have not reached dative at this point


    [deactivated user]

      No love for ihr.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LenirD

      or for Sie... Keep reporting it.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/K1llj0y214

      I'm pretty sure it should be "whom are you writing to" as in "to whom are you writing"


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SeraphGamingYT

      "Wem schreiben Sie" still isn't accepted as of December 5, 2018


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiamI.

      Hi does anyone have a link to an explination of dative, accusative, ...etc? I'm not savvy on these terms. Danke


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ashwin1985

      Weird I just posted some external links to your post and Duo didn't let me post. Instead I'll tell you where to look. If you're an English speaker, check out "German with Jenny" on Youtube and type just Nominativ and Akusativ to start with. She's a good free compliment to Duo, which lacks theory. Dativ/Genitiv comes after and I suggest you don't confuse yourself. with it.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/numerodeux0

      wem, wer, wessen!! I will never get this stuff. It is so confusing


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

      I think that the explanation given by the moderator az_p at the top of this discussion is the most helpful. Please do not feel defeated. You will master it.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnastasiaM803585

      Why is it only for informal you


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/extnull

      Where did these options come from? Why ia Wem rewritable like this and for what circumstance?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnuyaTendu1

      I have lost all my previous lessons which I did and earned more than 4000 ling lots. How can I go to my previous lessons


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amaralporrinha

      Why can't it be "Wofür schreibst du?"


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

      Wofür does not ask the question about who the recipient of the written communication is.

      Wofür = what for - so your question is seeking to find the reason for writing


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisMee86

      Haven't gotten to the dative module yet, so how am I supposed to know this?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/g_io_vanni

      perchè è sbagliata la seguente traduzione an wem schreibst du ? perché non tradurre "to" ?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrakeOlson5

      Straight from the tips

      "You will soon learn about the Dative case. You have to use web then."

      Nice Duolingo....


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GlassWindows

      why is wem schreibst du zu wrong, doesnt it basically mean the same thing


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

      Referencing PONS and dict.cc, zuschreiben does not serve the same purpose. It appears only to be used in the sense of 'attributing/ascribing/blaming somebody/something', not 'writing to somebody'.

      I also believe, and I am not a native German speaker, that were you to use 'zuschreiben' you would need the direct object (the thing you are atributing/blaming the 'somebody' for) in the sentence, rather than it being implied.
      z.b. 'Wem schreibst du <d. object> zu?' ... den Fehler


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Charliebailey03

      So whom = wem??? I wish they taught us dative before they rammed it into sentances.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rock_The_Casbah

      It would be nice if Duo taught us the Dative case before asking us about it!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NRMcLaughl

      I don't understand wer, wen wem ?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shintsunoryodan

      Could someone enlighten me on why "wem schreibst dir" is not accepted? I understand that this is a dative form, but isn't this where dir should be used instead of du where it's the nominative form instead?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/enigmajf

      It should be "wem schreibst du?"(to whom are you writing ). the person that receives something (example ; a message) is in the Dative case. and the person who writes the message is in the nominative case. And the message that's being written is in the Accusative case. And the answer for the question above would be ; Ich schreibe es(The message) dir/ihr/ihm/Ihnen - ( I write it to you/her/him/you (formal))


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew885189

      The English translation should be "Whom are you writing to?" or "To whom are you writing?".


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/derFroschblau

      Criticize "Wem du Dchreibst" but can't learn enough English to ask the question correctly: "To whom do you write." Hump!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

      Unfortunately, the impact of your retort is weakened by your 'typos' - 'schreibst' and the missing 'h' from your 'Hump'. Humph!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OscarPevan

      English is not totally accurated for this case then...


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicholas594347

      shouldn't "an web" be accepted?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GerhardtHo3

      Earlier it asked me to translate just the word "who". I was given three choices and I picked Wem, and was told no, they were wanting werren. Now they want me to translate "who" again, but now Wem is okay. Can someone please explain why sometimes Wen means who and sometimes not? Thanks


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WirreGedanken

      Wohin = Where (to) It has nothing to do with this question.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MiraKrm

      Why can't German be easier...

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