Translation:We are putting the plates on the table.
why is it 'den' in this instance, and not 'dem'...all the other occasions it is 'dem'...?
It's in the accusative because motion is implied.
i would say, grammatically yes, but realistically not so much...i have a German friend (who lives in Germany, native speaker) and she says it doesn't matter to her in conversation because she can still understand what i mean.
BUT, i think it would be best practice to say it correctly! this is what i will always attempt to do.
I know it's just idiomatic, but does anybody know why plates are construed as standing while bowls and other eating surfaces are laid?
Is motion necessarily implied? Could it not be "We put [keep] the plates on the table." ?
Obviously, using dem would make it so but it's hard to hear the difference between den and dem sometimes.
With "stellen", motion is always implied. It always takes the accusative.