"Sie legt das Buch auf den Tisch."

Translation:She is putting the book on the table.

April 25, 2013



Why is it "den" instead of "dem"? I thought it would be the dative case.

April 25, 2013


It's "den" (accusative) because motion from one place to another is implied. The book must have been somewhere else before.


April 25, 2013


To put it more simply, if it could be "onto" it's accusative, but if it's "on top of" it's dative. That's how I remember it.

It's the same thing for "in". If it's "into" it's accusative, but "inside of" is dative.

December 13, 2013


Doesn't this contradict the information provided by Duolingo?

I thought it would take the dative case as well.

Here's what Duolingo says:

No movement - dative: Ich bin in einem Haus (I am in a house) Movement within a certain place - dative: Ich laufe in einem Wald (I am running in [within] a forest) Movement from one place to another - accusative: Ich gehe in ein Haus (I am walking into a house)

December 30, 2015


No, that example you provided is correct. I apologise if I wasn't clear but I am saying exactly the same thing.

For example, in the original sentenced being discussed: "Sie legt das Buch auf den Tisch."

There's an implied motion where the book is being transferred from the girl's hand to on top of the table, not motion within an area. Therefore, the accusative case is used for this.

The example you provided about the forest is a good one. "Ich laufe in einem Wald" takes the dative case because the speaker is running within a forest. Because it's dative, there's no motion implied where the speaker is running into the forest from somewhere else. If that were the case, it would take the accusative case - because there would be an implied motion into the forest. It would then be:

"Ich laufe in einen Wald"

Hope that helps.

January 24, 2016


That clears it up, thanks!

January 25, 2016


First it was explained as "Movement from one place to another" and for that reason (because this is not implied here) I also thought it was supposed to be dative. Now since you describe it as "motion", is there a way to always be right deducing when motion implies displacement? Thanks.

March 27, 2016


It's still motion from one place to another. The book must have been somewhere else before. I'll amend my comment above.

March 27, 2016


Dankeschön. Das link hilft mir.

February 15, 2019


to add to what the others have said: "das Buch LIEGT auf DEM Tisch" "Sie LEGT das Buch auf DEN Tisch"

the same goes with sitzen (dativ) and setzen (akk.)

January 20, 2014


Thankyou for familiarizing :)

November 26, 2015


whats the difference between legt and liegt?

June 19, 2018


liegen (to lie) is intransitive -- something just lies somewhere.

legen (to lay) is transitive -- someone lays something else somewhere; they cause it to lie there. legen (to lay) is the causative of liegen (to lie).

There are other similar pairs such as fallen/fällen (to fall, to fell) or sitzen/setzen (to sit, to set) or, with a bit more difference in the verb stems, stehen/stellen (to stand, to put).

June 19, 2018


In English I normally hear people say "He/she lies the book.." rather than "lays", but the former is not accepted. In this context, either would be acceptable in normal speech.

April 29, 2013


Standard English would not accept "lies" as a transitive verb.

April 29, 2013


It's amazing how much you can learn about your own language whilst studying another - thanks for pointing that out!

May 6, 2013


Right? I actually only learned this when I went to German class.

June 17, 2016


"lie" is intransitive.

April 29, 2013


i wrote "laying the book" and I was marked incorrect...

October 7, 2013


as long as you used the helping verb... she "is" laying the book... it should be fine

May 11, 2015


why one of the translations is "lying the book" while I wrote "laying the book" and supposedly was incorrect?

July 14, 2013


"Lying the book" is incorrect. Perhaps some kind passerby will report the problem.

July 15, 2013


For two-way prepositions: an, auf, hinter, in, neben, über, vor, zwischen, remember: AKtion (from one place to another) = AKusativ.

Visualize the 'D' in Dativ as being on its side with the round part of the D up and bobbing up and down in water (movement within an area) but also being stationary. Basically, the D becomes a half-submerged ball floating in water. Now, think of the O's in the word 'pOsitiOn' being stationary balls floating in water. Finally, WO (Where) has the O which reminds me that a dative answer should be expected.

"WO hängt das Bild? Das Bild hängt an der Wand." 'Die' Wand becomes 'der' Wand because of the pOsitiOn of the picture, hence the dative case.

But, "Wohin hängst du das Bild? Ich hänge das Bild an die Wand." Here, there is action of hanging the picture on the wall, (toward the wall), so the AKusitiv is used and 'die' Wand stays 'die' Wand.

April 4, 2016


Should be, she put the book on the table. Simple present and not present continuous.

May 3, 2016


Simple present would be "she puts the book on the table"

April 23, 2017


Could you also say, "Sie legt das Buch AUFS den Tisch"?

December 1, 2016


No, you can't say that. "Aufs" would be a contraction of "auf das". So "aufs den Tisch" would be "auf das den Tisch" which of course doesn't make any sense.

January 2, 2017


Soooo... she was the one who put the "book on the table". now it makes sence why "the book is on the table".

May 12, 2017


What about "Sie legt das Buch am Tisch"?

July 7, 2017


That would mean "She lays the book (while she is) at the table".

First, the idea of movement is lost because you used the dative case instead of the accusative (so am Tisch does not indicate the destination of the book but just the location where the laying takes place), and secondly, an as a preposition for location is "at" or "by", not "on".

July 7, 2017


That's pretty clear to me! Thanks @mizinamo for your solid answer.

July 8, 2017

[deactivated user]

    I'll be honest, I get confused between lay and lie in English, let alone German

    February 9, 2018


    My college freshman English professor had us repeat the statement: "You LAY bricks and you LIE on a bed." So, we LAY objects like bricks by relocating them from one place to another. We only use LIE when we describe something which is already in place, usually in a horizontal position.

    Mercifully, it appears that LIE is equivalent of LIEgen -- which describes an object already in place; and LAY is the equivalent of LEGen -- which describes an object in the process of being relocated (think laying bricks).

    February 19, 2019


    it appears that LIE is equivalent of LIEgen -- which describes an object already in place; and LAY is the equivalent of LEGen -- which describes an object in the process of being relocated (think laying bricks).

    That’s right.

    February 20, 2019


    mycassals verb book gives 3rd person singular as liegt but others give it as legt .Is this just a mistake or has this verb changed over time?

    March 9, 2018


    There are two different (but related) verbs.

    liegen means to lie (no object) and has 3rd person singular er liegt.

    legen means to lay (an object, i.e. to cause to lie) and has 3rd person singular er legt.

    March 9, 2018


    Tisch is really low volume .

    June 5, 2018


    what is die unterschiet zwiechen legen and liegen

    October 9, 2018


    liegen is to lie -- it's an intransitive verb (without an object) and describes being in a horizontal position.

    legen is to lay -- it's a transitive verb (that takes a direct object) and describes putting something into a horizontal position.

    For example: Hans legt das Buch auf den Tisch. Jetzt liegt das Buch auf dem Tisch. "Hans puts (lays) the book on the table. Now the book is lying on the table."

    October 9, 2018


    She put the book on the table didn't work?

    April 9, 2019


    That's right. sie legt is present tense but "she put" is past tense.

    April 9, 2019


    I should think that as picky as Duo seems to be "putting" would be disallowed as the action is "laying." There is a difference: one could put (stand) the book upright on the table but not lay the book upright on the table.

    July 29, 2019
    Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.