"Who are you writing to?"
Translation:Wem schreibst du?
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.
e.g. Wer kommt? = "Who is coming?"
(wer is the subject)
e.g. Wen siehst du? = "Who do you see?"
(wen is the direct object, du is the subject)
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)
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.
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.
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.
Archive of the canoo.net link, since it seems to be gone now: https://web.archive.org/web/20170907115627/http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/InflectionRules/FRegeln-P/Pron-wer-was.html?lang=en
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.
Therefore one has to understand the actual meaning of the sentence in order to decipher which words are in which cases.
(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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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
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))
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