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  5. "The spoon is on top of the t…

"The spoon is on top of the table."

Translation:Der Löffel ist auf dem Tisch.

March 27, 2013



Der Löffel ist am Tisch -- why is this incorrect? Does it translate more like "the spoon is on the table" and you need to have the auf to show that the spoon is on top?


Almost correct! "Am" comes from "an dem" which means "at/by/near the". "On" or "On top of" is "auf". You'd use "am" for the sentence: "I am eating at the table"-"Ich esse am Tisch".


In another question, Duo accepts "I am at the table" for "ich bin am Tisch".. This then needs to accept "am" in place of "auf dem" , no?


As far as I undertand "am" is an abbreviation of "an dem" meaning "at the" - so, therefore, you can't abbreviate "auf dem" to "am" as it would mean the same thing and you want it to mean something else, i.e. "on the".


Can anyone explain why this is dative and not accusative. Does the position (on top of) count as accusative? Is the table receiving the spoon being on top of it?


In German, some prepositions trigger certain cases. For example, mit is followed by the dative case, whereas für is given the accusative case.

The preposition auf is one of German's two-way prepositions, meaning it can trigger either the accusative or dative case. If movement is implied, accusative is used; if not, dative.

In this sentence, no movement is implied, so auf is dative.


So, if (by the magic of Disney) the spoon "gets" up on top of the table (Der Loffel geht auf die Tisch?) then we would use the accusative?


That's right! Though it would be den Tisch since it's a masculine noun.


Awesome, thanks; Constructive.


I used den Tisch and was marked as wrong. Duolingo says it should be "dem Tisch". I'm already massively confused by the dative case stuff. Why would it be "Dem" instead of "den" for a male noun?


In the case of the Duo sentence, the spoon is already on the table, so no motion is implied. When no motion is implied, use the dative case. Dative masculine is dem.


Oh that’s evil, giving the choices of der / die / das, and I faced it first thing in the morning too just starting the first coffee. It made me doubt everything I thought I knew about the universe :) Managed to get it right though by not thinking about it.....

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