"Sie schreibt ihm ein Buch."

Translation:She writes him a book.

April 16, 2013

67 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Erikman

Is this a figure of speech (possibly meaning, "She is writing him a long letter/note")? Or is is just a sentence that Duolingo uses to help people get used to conjugation and word order?

May 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lingding

I thought it was the equivalent of "she is writing a book for him." Or maybe like we would say, "She didn't write him a letter, she wrote him a freaking novel." Or something. I dunno, but it's a plausible if not commonly used sentence...

July 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/awefulwaffle

I think this sentence is the result of spaced repetition. You can write someone a book, but it is more common to write someone a letter or an email.

Here's an excerpt from a review of Sibilla Aleramo's book Una Donna (A Woman)

  • ... Like Aleramo herself, the protagonist of A Woman is an autodidact who uses education to turn herself into a writer and thereby liberate herself from her marriage. But she does so at high cost: she has to leave her son behind. ... cut off from her son, she writes him a book.

http://gregorywoodspoet.blogspot.ca/2013/05/sibilla-aleramo.html

April 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

It's uncommon, but it's normal English in the right context. A Google search for "writes him a book" (including the quotation marks) provides many examples of how this can be used.

January 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/polomare

I have the same question.

May 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Randonneur3

It is still a weird locution, raising unanswered questions.

January 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zchbaniel25

Ii is not a figure of speech nor anything, it is just computer-generated nonsense.

January 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HarrisonTim

It may not be a real-life sentence but it's grammatically correct. And grammar is an abstract thing, is it not? This is a good example of how an example sentence focuses on the relationships between words in a sentence, rather than the more concrete objects and actions these words might represent.

June 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HerrMedic

This is probably why Duolingo has such whacky sentences. Ah, Duolingo. We love you so.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

If all Duo's examples were in the vernacular as you seem to suggest they should be, we wouldn't be able to deal with them.

Most of Duo's material is quotes from a variety of sources. By necessity, for any student at this level, it is restricted in its use of tense, vocabulary, grammar and meaning.

However, in this case it doesn't take too much imagination to believe that somewhere at this very moment, a female is writing a book with a male person as the intended target.

June 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tofuchild1

Why "ihm" and not "ihn"?? I dont rrally understand what accusative/dative means

December 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilkiKnight

Well i still don't understand dative, but accusative is the same as object. If something is the object of a verb it is accusative. Took me a while to figure that out. I didn't learn it as accusative. I was just taught the object of a sentence.

December 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/merkurrr

You are arguing that the pronoun "ihm" is correct because it is the object of the sentence and therefore takes the accusative case. But "ihn" is the accusative and "ihm" is the dative! No, the answer is more complex because in German it depends on what kind of object.

The reason this takes the dative case "ihm" is because in the sentence "She writes him a book", "him" is the INDIRECT OBJECT and this takes the dative case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indirect_object#Types_of_objects http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_pronouns

December 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

I flubbed the "ein" still don't understand. Plwase somebody explain why it's "ein".

July 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lingding

"Das Buch" is the direct object of the sentence, so "Buch" would take an accusative neuter pronoun. The accusative neuter form of "ein" is "ein."

July 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SlyRatcher

Was there actually a way to tell with the answer was "schreibt" or "schreiben" ? from what I can see, there is no one to tell.

April 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lenkvist

"Sie schreiben" means either "you write" or "they write". "Sie schreibt" only fits with "she writes".

April 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SlyRatcher

Yes, but the question I was given was to select which word was missing: "Sie __ ihm ein Buch." The options were "schreiben, schreibt, schreibst, ect". How is one supposed to know if it is "Schreibt" or "schreiben" based on that information?

April 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lenkvist

You're right, you wouldn't be able to differentiate between those options.

April 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zach1337

I just got marked wrong because of this.:(

January 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yanemarie

In that case, the program asks you to choose all correct options.

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

No, it asks you to choose all correct options for the multiple choice. There is no way to do that for the fill in the blank exercise. This should be reported, but someone please take a screenshot of this and add it to the report.

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heather.deweij

Sie schreibt would mean she writes, it the conjugation of the verb schreiben which means writing

March 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

"schreiben can be the infinitive "to write" and it is also the plural conjugation of the verb.

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilkiKnight

Ihm and ihn! I thought i knew when to use which but i keep getting it wrong now? Any tips when and why you use one or the other?

December 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

In general, if a verb can take two objects, one is accusative and one is dative. A few select German verbs like fragen, lehren, and kosten take two accusative objects, but they are exceptions to the rule. There aren't many others like them, so you just have to memorize them.

Similarly, if a reflexive verb, e.g. sich erkälten (to catch a cold) takes an object (other than sich), the sich becomes dative: Du hast dich erkältet. Du hast dir die Blase erkältet. (You caught a cold. You got a chill in your bladder.)

December 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

The indirect object is always "Dative case", but there are also some verbs that require Dative. Many prepositions require Dative, but some require Accusative and a few require Genitive. There are some prepositions that can be used with Dative or Accusative for different meanings.
https://www.thoughtco.com/the-four-german-noun-cases-4064290

https://www.thoughtco.com/frequently-used-german-dative-verbs-4071410

https://www.thoughtco.com/using-german-dative-prepositions-correctly-1444496

https://www.thoughtco.com/two-way-doubtful-prepositions-in-german-1444444

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WAVE98

Since it appears to be a dative case sentence, why is "ein Buch" not "einer Buch" ?

December 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Erikman

In this sentence 'ihm' is dative and 'Buch' is accusative (it is whay is being written). 'Buch' is a neuter noun soit takes 'ein' in the accusative case.

December 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArvindhMani

You can think of the sentence as "She writes a book for him (or to him)". Now you see that the 'book' becomes accusative, and the 'him' becomes dative. Hope this clears it up :)

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

Sentences are not dative, each noun or pronoun is either in Nominative, Accusative, Dative or Genitive case. The subject and the predicate nominative which comes after the verb "to be" or "sein" in German are in Nominative case.
The subject "Sie" is in Nominative case. The direct object "book" in this sentence is in Accusative case and the indirect object "ihm" is in Dative case. Scroll up for some links that are really helpful to learn German cases and when to use the Dative case.

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RaulFazil

regarding the word order.. does accusative always follow the dative or is it flexible? as in this sentence ein Buch ( akku.) comes after ihm (dat.)... is it wrong to write.. Sie schreibt ein Buch ihm ??

January 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

Usually the dative noun (or pronoun or noun phrase) comes before the accusative one. It's not technically wrong to change that order (because the grammar of the cases normally gives the receiver enough information to understand which is which), but it sounds really weird, so try to avoid it.

January 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

However, if one of them is a pronoun then it always comes before the other one if it is a noun. Here is a great link that helps with German word order: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/WordOrder/MainClauses.html

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/momokoala

this was confusing because i thought i heard "in" instead of "ihm" since it made more sense in my head that she writes in a book instead of writing someone a book xD

February 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

Fun fact: "Sie schreibt die Geschichte in ein Buch" would mean writing in a physical, printed book (or perhaps making journal/diary entries), while "Sie schreibt die Geschichte in einem Buch" would refer to authoring the content of the book itself. In English, there's no such distinction; either of these sentences could be translated as "She's writing the story in a book."

March 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/momokoala

hmm that is interesting. so just for clarification, if i wrote "ich schreibe in ein buch" i would just be writing in an actual book(whether its pages are blank or not) but "ich schreibe in einem buch" would mean im writing a book(or content of) myself?

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

Right! Although normally in the case of "in einem Buch", you would also have some kind of direct object, like "die Geschichte", or prepositional object, e.g. "Ich schreibe in einem Book über das Thema" // I'm writing (in) a book about the subject. <-- [I put "in" in parentheses because the sentence works with or without it.] If you just want to say you're writing a book (without describing what's in it), you don't use "in" at all: "Ich schreibe ein Buch".

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/koushik72

How to say "she is writing a book to him"? Why in this sentence can't we use "von ihm" to say "for him"?

April 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

This sentence can be translated this way also, so there is no need to change the German sentence.

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swananator

What abput she wrote him a book, what would that be...

March 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

You have a couple of options:

  • Sie hat ihm ein Buch geschrieben. [Perfekt]
  • Sie schrieb ihm ein Buch. [Präteritum]
March 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aaronhinsi

Can You are writing him a book be a correct answer?

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

Nope! Just check the conjugation of the verb to confirm whether "Sie" means "She" or "You/They":

  • Sie schreibt ihm ein Buch ↔ She is writing him a book.
  • Sie schreiben ihm ein Buch ↔ You/They are writing him a book.
May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aaronhinsi

Danke schön!

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shaneemery

Is 'Sie schreibt ein Buch ihm' acceptable?

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

No, I don't think that can be grammatically correct. When a verb takes a dative object and an accusative object, and you place them both after the verb, the dative object should come first.

August 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

Not always, but more importantly if one of them is a pronoun and the other a noun, the pronoun always comes first. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/WordOrder/MainClauses.html

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/horebin

schreibt-->scribe?

May 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Yes and script, description, scribble etc.

May 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daughterofAlbion

This also translates as she writes a book for him, right?

Now obviously this can mean that she is writing a book that she intends to give him. But in English we can also say she is writing a book for him meaning that she is writing the book on his behalf (because, he is disable, or he is illiterate, or he is dead and she is writing his reminiscences down as a memoir).

Is sie schreibt ihm ein Buch the correct way to say that she is writing a book for him in this latter sense?

November 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benton.1

The male voice, from which I had to translate, sounded like "Sie schreibt in mein Buch."

January 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gottesanbeterin

I heard two audios playing when only playing once

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LisAlbers

How do you know that "ihm" represents "him" and not "it"? Theoretically, she could be writing a book for a pet or an inanimate object.

March 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

They expect the indirect object to be a person. It would never be an inanimate object. If the pet is being treated as a person, then it would still be "him" unless it was "her".

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hansebodziuchsp

I wrote "to" him...and it was rejected for "for" him!

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narion_k

"She writes a book for him" is most certainly a correct translation of the most common meaning of "Sie schreibt ihm ein Buch". Without any other context, most people would assume that is the meaning of the German sentence. I think the German sentence could also be translated as "She writes a book to him", but I'm not totally sure. Even if it can be translated that way, that meaning would be less common than the other and wouldn't work without context.

February 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CHRISTINER574075

This is exactly what I wrote but you told me that I'm wrong

January 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenni7771

Oh... I thought it was " she writes about him in a book"... That was wrong.

October 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PaulDixon7

This is not a very likely sentence. I would rather learn the language using phrasing I might actually use.

June 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daughterofAlbion

And then someone says to you something that you don't expect, and you completely misunderstand them, because you have not really learnt how the language can be used, but only how to repeat the set phrases that you planned to use!

November 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ITS898

Aw! that was nice!

May 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TriggerSmooth

why write a postcard when you can write a whole book

October 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tatek3

Q

July 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ana167437

Is this ok

August 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Randonneur3

Agreed, it's whacky. A book by definition is published. For a public, not an individual. Despite those dedications you occasionally see.

May 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

No, not necessarily, the pages are simply bound together. Now children make books in Kindergarten for their parents. Crazy, huh? https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/book

September 26, 2018
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