"The high mountain reaches into the sky."
Translation:Der hohe Berg reicht in den Himmel.
That's sort of right. A better way to think of it is that you use dative for a location and accusative for a destination. (Which is slightly different from what you said; for instance, "The plane is flying in the sky" would be "Das Flugzeug fliegt im Himmel"-- the plane is moving (action), but since it's already in the sky, the sky isn't a destination, so dative is used.)
It's the same as the difference between "in" and "into" in English: if you use "into," that's a destination, so accusative; if "into" doesn't make sense and you have to use "in," it's a location, so dative.
So the mountain is (metaphorically) reaching upward into the sky, hence a destination, so accusative. (It's not actually moving obviously, but that's what the metaphorical image is here.)
Thanks for the explanation, though I doubt I can keep it all in my head at once, haha. There are lots of cases where people in English would use "in" where "into" would also work, so that's not such a great test. It's just one of those things you have to memorize. Never would have thought of the airplane case. I think that is idiomatic.
There are lots of cases where people in English would use "in" where "into" would also work
That's certainly true. Come to think of it, you can also try replacing "in" with something like "within." One or the other of "within" or "into" should work for pretty much any sentence with "in," so if "within" works, use dative, and if "into" works, use accusative. For sentences where both work, you just have to keep track of which meaning you mean.
- "I am in my house"-- "within" works and "into" doesn't, so dative
- "I went in my house"-- "into" works and "within" doesn't, so accusative
- "I ran in my house" (where I'm inside the house running)-- "within" is what we mean here, so dative
- "I ran in my house" (entered the house running)-- now we mean "into," so accusative
And this works for the mountain sentence, too, since English uses the same metaphor. "Reaches into the sky" sounds fine, but "reaches within the sky" is odd, so we use accusative.
(Amended my above comment to make my airplane example a specific sentence. This is certainly idiomatic usage.)
There is. Well, not through Duo directly (at least not that I know of).
But if you want to save something interesting or particularly helpful you just need to select the particular area/section, cut and then paste in whatever word processor you use.
I do it myself if I want to save a particular section or comment/post instead of just "following" a certain discussion. Then I just save it in a "Language" folder in my Duo German subfolder. And try to name the file with something that will remind me of what's in it. Obviously, you can arrange it any way you want. That way you even save any links/sites any posts contain and they remain clickable in the saved text file.
I have been learning German for years, I've passed an A level, can converse quite well, though have never lived in Germany. I am still making wild guesses as to what word endings to do. I can do some things learning by repetition... Das rote Auto, mein rotes Auto... Auf dem Tisch for when things are there, den Tisch when being put... But these exercises, I just cannot work out what I'm putting where in these exercises here. I always have been a dimwit with grammar.
Have you checked out the Tips section under the "Colors" skill? it's all about adjective endings. It has three tables, one for each case, and you can see the patterns. I printed them out and had to constantly refer back to them for a couple of months, but finally, they sank in. Once you have that, a few skills down is prepositions, which tell you when and why you change cases when adjectives and determiners come after a preposition. Again, it took time and lots of practice, but you do eventually internalize them. If you look above "Colors", some rows up, you'll find seperate circles to practice accusative and dative prepositions separately, too. Google the "german prepositions song" - it's a handy way of remembering the dative ones, anyway, and there's a mnemonic for remembering the accusative ones.
"reichen" seems to be a very versatile verb. According to my dictionary, it's meaning include "to reach, to be enough, to pass, to serve." So you can use it to say "Eine Tasse Kaffee reicht nicht." (One cup of coffee isn't enough - or doesn't suffice), and also to ask someone to pass you something (Kannst du mir bitte den Wein reichen? - can you pass me the wine, please?) At least, this is what my resources seem to indicate.
Alternatively, as has already appeared in several comments here:
"In" is not a "dative preposition." Like several other pronouns, it uses either dative or accusative depending on whether it's referring to, respectively, a location or a destination. (Essentially, you use dative when it's referring to being "inside" something and accusative when it's referring to going "into" something.)
The idea here is that the mountain is (somewhat metaphorically) reaching upward into the sky, so the sky is a destination and therefore accusative. "In den Himmel" is correct.
"into" and "in" are translated into German via accusative and dative (or the other way around :-). The example below is using a fem. noun
The women are going into the church.
Die Frauen gehen in die Kirche. (Wohin gehen die Frauen?) Acc - related to motion
The women sit in the church
Die Frauen sitzen in der Kirche. (Wo sitzen die Frauen?) Dat - related to location
You may also want to look up casally modulated / bigovernate prepositions:
Because it's a weak inflection in the nominative case.
This could be useful: