"Er gibt einer Dame den Apfel."

Translation:He gives the apple to a lady.

May 21, 2014



Why is it einer and not eine Dame?

November 2, 2015


Because "einer" is showing that the "Dame" is the indirect object of "Apfel."

November 5, 2015


I didn't like indirect objects in English, and I don't like them in German either. Darn you dative case!

shakes fist to heavens

April 19, 2016


Thanks for the laugh. At least I'm not alone in my frustration.

March 10, 2018


I hate them too

October 17, 2017


It is actually the indirect object of "gibt" not "Apfel" as it is verbs that have objects.

December 6, 2016


Basically dativ is changing from "Das,Die,Der" into "Dem,Der,Dem" hope it helps

December 3, 2016


Thank you. I think that will help.

June 28, 2017


As a mnemonic for these case endings, you might say 'there is nothing like a 'dem, der, dem' (/dame ...). Unfortunately, however, it is not 'dem' & 'einem' that go with the German indirect object 'Dame.' They go with neuter and masculine indirect objects. 'Dame' requires 'der' or 'einer.'

June 17, 2018


Does 'gibt' trigger the dative case?

May 21, 2014


Basically, because you use the dativ case to show who is on the receiving end of something.

October 8, 2015


That's literally all i needed to understand this lol

December 17, 2015


Not directly (if you know what I mean).

But the answer is no, it doesn't necessitate the dative case.

Dame is in the dative here because she is indirectly receiving the action (to give).

Apfel is in the accusative because it directly receives the action of being given.

May 21, 2014


I'm lost

June 20, 2017


[Er] [gibt] [einer Dame] [den Apfel].

[Thing doing action] [action] [thing effected by the action] [receiver of the action].

[Who is doing it?] [what is being done] [who is the action effecting?] [what is being acted upon?].

[subject] [verb] [indirect object] [direct object].

[Nominative case] [conjugated verb based off subject] [dative case] [accusative case].

[Er (nominative] [gibt (geben 3rd person singular)] [einer (dative f) Dame] [den(accusative m) Apfel].

Hope that helps! :)

June 21, 2017


Oh my dear, thanks a lot for your help. I alredy gave you a Lingot. <3

June 24, 2017


Brilliant - thanks - that's cleared up a whole lot of confusion for an English speaker who last learned grammar as a 12 year old (about 40 years ago)!! Lingots from me too :-)

October 12, 2017


That's awesome. You can award lingots?

August 6, 2017


Thanks man

September 21, 2017


That is an amazing explanation, thanks. For an amateur like me, I try to think what could be the direct object which I guess is accusative making the other dativ. Also dativ is usually first if one where to guess.

October 21, 2018


This is incredibly helpful and I truly appreciate your explanation. Just one little, tiny thing...

The word you want to use in this situation is [a]ffect, not [e]ffect. "Effect" is a noun. "Affect" is a verb. :-)

June 13, 2019


Omg so confusing...

July 6, 2017


Sorry was not trying to confuse anyone, just trying to break the parts of the sentence up into their grammatical elements.

July 6, 2017


You're not the only one :) this is getting frustrating for me.

October 23, 2017


Hello would it also be correct to state: Er gibt den Apfel einer Dame due to sentence structure being (subject) (verb) (direct object to the verb) (indirect object) ?

July 25, 2017


    That's also correct, but it does emphasise einer Dame more than normal. German sentence structure does get a bit more complicated when you start adding in multiple elements. If you are willing to dive into the topic there is a series here that discusses it.

    October 18, 2017


    What is the dative of ein for neutral gender?

    October 5, 2016



    There is a useful table about half way down this article.

    And I've printed this page for quick reference.

    November 2, 2016


    Thank you,

    October 18, 2018


    What does it mean by Dative case?

    May 31, 2017


    the dative case is the form a noun or pronoun takes when it is the indirect object of a verb (the case answers the to/for whom/what question). "I bought a car for my wife." For whom did I buy a car? My wife (thus dative in the original sentence). What did I buy? A car (thus accusative in the original sentence).

    Or better yet: Ich habe meiner Frau ein Auto gekauft. "Meiner Frau" is in the dative case and "ein Auto" is in the accusative case.

    June 9, 2017


    whats the difference between einer and einem?

    June 21, 2017


    In the nominative case you use (ein) for masculine (der) or neuter (das) nouns, and (eine) for feminine (die) nouns. Ex: Das ist ein Apfel (This is an apple).

    In the accusative case it becomes: Masculine (Der) -> einen Feminine (Die) -> eine (as it is) Neuter (Das) -> ein (as it is) Ex: Ich habe einen Apfel. (I have an apple.)

    In the dative case it becomes: Masculine (Der) -> einem Feminine (Die) -> einer Neuter (Das) -> einem Ex: Ich gebe einem M├Ądchen einen Apfel. (I give a girl an apple.)

    July 6, 2017


    thanks so much, this is useful.

    August 3, 2017


    Einer = feminine words (dative case). Einem = masculine or neutral words (also only dative case). Dative case = imagine putting "to" before the article e.g. I give the ball TO my friend (my friend is in the dative case)

    August 3, 2017


    I dont know when to use einem, einer, ein, help me pls

    June 27, 2017


    I'd say you're thinking about it wrong. Just that they're not necessarily different words.

    The word is ein, and it gets a different ending depending on 2 things; the gender (plurals have their own ending and are not dependent on gender), and the case of the noun it is paired with. (an apple, a dog, a boat, a thought, a smile)

    The cool thing about these endings are that they stay the same for all "ein" words. (ein, kein, mein, sein, dein, etc.)

    Here is a helpful chart: https://frauroboto.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/definite-article-adjective.png

    In the chart the letters running down the left are the cases of the noun the ein word is being used for, and the letters running across the top are the genders of the nouns the ein word is being used for.

    Memorizing that is easy, and you'll never forget it once you do, but knowing what case a noun is and what its gender is can be the hard part. Typically cases are relatively straight-forward, but there are prepositions that force certain cases and some that are "two-way" prepositions and can use dative and accusative cases to mean different things. And there are some general tips and tricks when it comes to recognizing the gender of some nouns.

    I know that's a lot to focus on, but don't let it overwhelm you. I'd say maybe watch a video on the topic to get a better grasp of this.

    June 28, 2017


    Thanks man, that really helped me! Have a Lingot!

    June 29, 2017


    how do you give lingots??

    August 3, 2017


    Use browser version. Lots of features are missing on mobile

    September 24, 2017


    I translated to use the indirect object in English, and was marked wrong... Duolingo wants me to make the io an object of a preposition.

    August 20, 2017


      This is also possible with specific word order: "He gives a lady the apple", although I agree that Duolingo's suggested sentence sounds more natural somehow. Maybe something to do with the combination of articles in this sentence.

      October 18, 2017


      My answer: " He gives a woman the apple " was deemed wrong. What do you think?

      September 12, 2017


        "woman" = Frau
        "lady" = Dame

        The usage of these maps quite well between English and German, so it might just have been a case of not being precise enough.

        October 18, 2017


        Why not "He gives the lady an apple?"

        November 26, 2017


          You mixed up the articles. "He gives a lady the apple".

          November 27, 2017


          It did not accept my answer of, "He gives a lady the apple."

          March 24, 2018


          I am wondering why "He gives the lady the apple" is not correct. It was marked as correct in all the previous cases

          April 16, 2018


          It's equally correct to say in English, He gives a woman an apple; but Duo marks this wrong.

          May 13, 2018


          So I am just getting the hang of the word order and all the different rules, the last I learned a few minutes ago being 'definite phrase followed by indefinite phrase'...and now I am told (despite following that very rule) 'er gibt den Apfel [definite] einer Dame [indefinite]' is wrong. Can someone please shed some light on what I am missing now?

          September 17, 2018


          I second that. Any help, anyone, please?

          December 17, 2018


          I have already done this lesson earlier today. Why do I have to repeat it? This has happened several times before.

          January 12, 2019


          Why do you use dative? Also, why "den" in " den Apfel"? That's accusative. Why do you need to mix cases German language

          January 16, 2019


          Why is "he gives a lady an apple" counted as incorrect?

          March 6, 2019


          Nevermind. It's "he gives a lady THE apple".

          March 6, 2019


          Surely woman and lady are the same? 'He gives the apple to a woman' should be correct, she doesnt have to be a laaaaaady

          March 14, 2019


          Now that's not a nice thing to say. Lady is more upper class and woman is just anyone. Like Lady and Lord or something like that. I think they could be titles. I never knew Infant was a noble title and now it's a common word.

          March 16, 2019


          There seems to be an inconsistency here, unless I am missing a rule. If two nouns are in a sentence, usually the indirect object comes before the direct object. In this case, "what is being given" is an apple, which would be the direct object. "To Whom it is being given to" is the lady, which is the indirect object and should come first in this sentence. Based on the rule above, this should read "He give to a lady the apple" So what am I missing here? How do I keep this straight, as the rules here do not appear consistent.

          April 22, 2019


          Why is 'a lady' not considered the indirect object here? If two nouns are in this sentence (apple and lady) than the indirect object is suppose to come first. Er gibt einer Damen den Apfel. Why is this wrong???

          April 22, 2019


          Come on lady or woman shoukd be acceptable

          June 23, 2018


          Lady instead of woman !!!

          September 28, 2017


          We do not really use the word lady much in English now. Lady implies high social status which is pretty snobbish even for Duo

          October 30, 2017


          I don't know why they downvoted you there are painting of Lady such and such. You are right. Maybe in German it's different and a Lady can be anyone. But in Britian they have Dame Edna, but that is more of a joke.

          March 16, 2019


          lady is the same as woman

          January 10, 2018


          A lady is a woman, but a woman is not always a lady. Certainly in English English. "Lady" has certain class connotations which are not always acceptable these days. I don't know if difference between Frau and Dame in German is the same.

          April 16, 2018


          Does it really matter anymore. Times are hard. What about men a man is not always a lord.

          March 16, 2019


          Enough about the apple!...Genug uber den Apfel!

          July 7, 2017


          Be careful with canned apples I just read something that's not good.

          March 16, 2019


          The translation is correct but would never be used like this in english

          August 21, 2017


          What is the translation of it

          November 19, 2015


          Translation:He gives the apple to a lady.

          December 15, 2015


          So the indirect object "Dame" however feminine, takes the gender of apple? And as the D/O "Apfel" has a Dative article because it is being given?

          March 3, 2016


          "As the direct object, 'Apfel' has a dative article because it is being given?" False. The apple is being given and is the direct object; however, that means it has an accusative article (den Apfel).

          "The indirect object 'Dame' however feminine, takes the gender of apple?" False

          Er gibt einer Dame den Apfel = He gives the apple to a lady.

          Let's temporarily rearrange into:

          [Subject] gives [direct object] to [indirect object].

          [He] gives [the apple] to [a lady].

          This table is what finally helped me understand these cases:


          Though first I had to associate these cases with words I understood:

          Subject = nominative

          Direct object = accusative

          Indirect object = dative

          Possessive = genitive (Well... not quite based on az_p's feedback which points out that genitive and possessive work differently, but it might be helpful to associate them.)

          As you pointed out, the direct object is the apple = Apfel (masculine)

          Direct object = accusative

          Masculine accusative: the apple = den Apfel

          The indirect object is a lady = Dame (feminine)

          Indirect object = dative

          Feminine dative: a lady = einer Dame

          Putting it back together in the proper order, we have:

          Er gibt einer Dame den Apfel.

          So to clarify that the indirect object 'Dame' is not taking the gender of the apple, let's look at what happens when he gives her other things. Note that as long as 'Dame' (feminine) is the indirect object (think dative), it will always be einer Dame, regardless of what is being given to her.

          Also note that the masculine accusative is the only one that is not "normal" (der becomes den).

          Er gibt einer Dame den Apfel. (masculine Apfel)

          Er gibt einer Dame das Haus. (neuter Haus)

          Er gibt einer Dame die Katze. (feminine Katze)

          Er gibt einer Dame die Blumen. (plural Blumen)

          I hope that helps.

          April 1, 2016


            Good breakdown. A couple of comments:

            1. In the first quote you reply to, it says "...Apfel has a dative article..." and you said "True". This should be "False", as it has an accusative article (den Apfel).

            2. Genitive and possessive work differently, but it might be helpful to associate them. Perhaps just say "similar to possessive".

            April 10, 2016


            Thank you az_p. I stand corrected. I was focusing on the apple being the direct object and I then pointed out that direct object = accusative... but didn't catch that the question said dative. I'll certainly go with "similar to possessive" and I look forward to learning the difference. Thanks again. [Original post edited to reflect your feedback.]

            April 11, 2016


              If you're curious, I wrote a simple example that compares them in this comment thread: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/279514

              April 11, 2016


              @az_p: How did you get the bold and italicized fonts? I was having a horrible time formatting my original post and couldn't even get blank rows. (Sorry for the off-topic question but I'd respond to more items if I could format them better.)

              April 11, 2016

                April 11, 2016


                How kind of him :)

                January 13, 2016


                "He is giving the the apple to a lady," more reasonable.

                July 21, 2014


                I don't know if the second "The" you have here is a typo, but it wouldn't be correct English in either case. I'm not sure if there is a rule I can direct you to, but the extra "The" just isn't needed. I agree that "He gives" and "He is giving" equated to the same thing, but I don't know if the latter is accepted (As of 15/06/2016)

                June 15, 2016
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