folgen is an intransitive verb in German, i.e. it hat no accusative object. Some of these verbs, like this one or helfen (to help) and danken (to thank) can however be used with a dative object.
I can deal with helfen and danken being intransitive verbs. I remember this by thinking of them as "to give help to" and " to give thanks to," but folgen is more difficult. The closest I can think of as an English translation that follows the same pattern is the archaic "to give chase," but chasing is not the same as following exactly . . . :-/ Anyone have any suggestions to help remember for folgen?
Very good points and I must agree. I too can't think of any good way off hand to think of it either. Consulting thesaurus.com, there's a few synonyms that could help to recognize the dative (i.e. to do something TO something) but they're definitely not as clearcut as "to give help/thanks to", especially because "follow" could mean many things.
So instead of "follow", you can imagine "be subsequent to" or "stick to" (rather informal I'd say), "adhere to", etc... Not great, but it might help a little ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Seems really bizarre to me. In my language (Polish) both "to help" and "to thank" take dative, but "to follow" takes another case (non-existent in German, so I don't know the name). Anyway it seems odd to me it doesn't take accusative in German. I guess it's just the way languages program us. Interesting :)
Apparently it takes a case called instrumental. With a preposition before it. But then if you follow someone without their consent or knowledge, the verb changes and it takes accusative as for who you follow.