"The lion is behind the elephant."
Translation:Der Löwe ist hinter dem Elefanten.
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I thought only plural dative nouns take the en- as ending? I thought Elefant is just one of those weak nouns?
I thought Elefant is just one of those weak nouns?
That's right -- which is why it takes -en everywhere except in the nominative singular. Including, among other forms, the dative singular.
I thought 'elefanten' was plural. I'm not sure what 'dative' means. If anybody knows a website that explains this grammar point, a link would be appreciated. Thanks.
Do a search for the four 'German Cases', Nominative, Accusative, Dative and Genitive. You may not know what they mean, but at level 25 in German you will already be unconsciously following the rules. As for the 'Elefanten' issue, look up Weak Nouns (the "N-Declension"). Just an extra bit of confusion regarding the German language :)
Thank you. I've now found a website with an explanation of the German cases. Things slowly falling into place !
Why is it 'dem' Elefanten?
hinter is one of the two-way prepositions that require the dative case when talking about a location and the accusative case when talking about the destination of motion.
Here, the lion is behind the elephant (location) and so we need the dative case after hinter.
der Elefant is masculine, so you need masculine dative dem and dative singular Elefanten.