"Was sagst du dem Vater?"

Translation:What are you telling the father?

August 6, 2013

98 Comments


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

So why "deM" and not "deN" ?

October 20, 2015

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

"Den" is used for the accusative case, "dem" for the dative. So, use "den" with the direct object of the clause, but "dem" with the indirect object.

A rough way of looking at it is to see whether it is possible to form the sentence/question so that the object can be preceded with a preposition (e.g. "What are you saying to father?"). If so, the object is likely in the dative, and will take "dem" (if it is masculine). If not, you generally want the accusative.

October 22, 2015

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

Find the verb and ask, what is being acted upon (accusative) and who/what is the receiver of the action (dative)?

October 1, 2017

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

I don't get it. It sure seems like "You" is the subject, whereas "father" is the direct object.

Or is the direct object in this sentence missing/implied? In other words, is the father the object that is recieving a telling?

August 12, 2018

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

Father is the indirect object/dative of „what“ (was) you are telling him. You can switch the question to what are you giving the father instead of telling and then answer that question to make it more clear. Was gibst du dem Vater? Du gibst dem Vater einen Apfel.

August 12, 2018

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

"What do you say to the father?" also mark me correct.

August 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iulian19

What are you telling to the father is marked wrong. Weird.

July 25, 2014

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

Yeah, it's marked wrong because of the English grammar, not for the German one, I believe. The verb "to say" needs to be followed by "to sb" (to say sm to sb), while the verb "to tell" has the double object consturuction, thus can't be followed by "to" (to tell sb sm).

Sagen, in the German grammar, needs the Dative to express the indirect connection between the person who speaks and the one who receives the comunication, exactly like the verb "to say" in English.

Shortly put: it was marked wrong because of an English grammar mistake, not a German one.

April 11, 2017

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

This is a fantastic explanation. Thank you so much!

January 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisa275819

❤️

April 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phil682961

"To tell" can indeed use the double-object construction, unlike "to say".

But it doesn't always. "Tell [something] to [somebody]" is also OK. But the direct object has to be a noun and not a clause. That's why "tell to" can't be used here.

So:

"Tell the child a story" - fine

"Tell a story to the child" - fine

"Tell your father what you know" - fine

*"Tell what you know to your father" - doesn't work

May 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisa275819

Thanks

April 20, 2019

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

Really?

I wrote "What are you saying to the father?", and I was marked correct.

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/l1ndashepherd

I was marked wrong for the same sentence!

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martha845255

What are you saying to the father would be right not(telling)

March 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Duckhangvo1998

tell doesnt go with to if I remember correctly . Just tell the father is alright

October 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/l1ndashepherd

What are you telling the father is correct English... you can't say telling to the father. However they marked this wrong too!

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

that sounds weird English if one said "what are you telling to the father", would not that sentence in English be more correct to say "What are you telling the father" without the "to" being in it.

January 16, 2019

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

Because "telling to" is incorrect English

July 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

I think that too as it just sounds weird. I don't know why people are marking you down for your comment.

January 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joy-Division

what are you telling to the father still marked wrong.

November 8, 2015

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

"Tell" is a little peculiar. Should be: what are you telling the father? See: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/20903/whats-the-correct-usage-of-tell-here

November 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katrico1

That was marked incorrect for me today.

October 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

I wrote "what did you say to the father?" and it marked me as being wrong. I do not understand why?

January 16, 2019

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

Likely because you used past tense.

January 28, 2019

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

The sequel to "Ich habe deine Tochter..."

November 18, 2015

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

Was sagst du Darth Vater :-D

March 30, 2017

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

Neeeiiiiiiiinnn!

March 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenNew3

Luke... Ich bin dein Vater

November 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deadpool723

Can this mean a father as in the person who leads the service at the church or am I just being too imaginative?

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
Mod

    German uses different words for that, like Pater or Pfarrer.

    April 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PushythePirate1

    Thank you. I was wondering the same thing

    December 16, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NealMcCall1

    Is not "What are you telling your father?" correct. I thought that items about one's person and family members are often expressed using the indefinite article rather than the possessive adjective.

    December 19, 2015

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

    "the father" is not the same as "your father", as far as I know. (not a native German speaker)

    March 15, 2016

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

    "What are you telling father" is not accepted... Am I missing something?

    June 6, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paeonia001

    No, your sentence has an implied "my" or "our" in front of father. The sentence for this exercise refers to "the father". They cannot be interchangeable.

    July 30, 2018

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

    The best way to handle things like that is to use the report button in the app or on the webpage, right when you get the answer checked. It offers options including one that says you think your answer is also correct. That information goes right to the people that maintain the content, but they don't necessarily come here and read all the comments that people make on the forum.

    June 6, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

    the persons answer though was wrong as that sentence does not say it is the persons father but says "the father" so in otherwords, the the father is someone elses father so "what are you telling father" would be wrong.

    January 16, 2019

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

    Q1: Is it okay to say "Was sagst du Vater?" .

    Q2: if "Was sagst du Vater?" is a correct.... Does "dem Vater" in this sentence refer to a priest at a catholic church? I.e., tell father = dad, whereas tell the father = tell the priest.

    . Q3: If "dem" has a function of "to," is it okay to say "Was sagst du zu Vater?"

    November 15, 2015

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

    A1: "Was sagst du Vater" to me, seems like you're saying "What do you say father?" as if you were asking him for advice.

    A2: Read around here: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/addressing-a-priest.1264595/

    A3: German doesn't translate to English exactly like that, while that sentence is incorrect, I cannot think of a way to show how it is wrong.

    December 13, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dunk999

    I'd love to see this answered. In English, "the father" isn't really used, yet it shows up all over the German exercises. I'd like to know id "the father" means "your father", "our father", or does it depend on context?

    December 9, 2015

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

    Context, as it would in English. Consider the following in English: "A mother and a father take their two children to the park. The father walks with the younger child to the pond. The mother plays catch with the older child. The father is wearing a fishing hat. He removes a lure from it. A policeman waves to them, and the father says "hello"."

    It's not something we might use in normal conversation, but in writing it would be fine, or in describing something. It's not YOUR father, it's a person who you have identified as "a" father, but if you continued to use the indefinite article in English it would feel confusing to me, like, wait is this the SAME father or not?

    Now something closer to the example text:

    "I met a father and son near the pond. I gave the father my hat".

    Subject: I

    Verb: gave

    Indirect object: the father <- "dative" case

    Direct object: my hat <- Accusative case

    It just happens that in English, we don't have as many grammatical markers. We depend on context and word order. We use "the" all the time; German uses many "der" words: Der, die, das, dem, den. This is where those tables just need to be internalized!

    But you wouldn't say "I gave father my hat", unless it was your own father or a priest, and then you might capitalize it even in English. "I gave Father my hat".

    February 9, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dunk999

    Thanks for the reply. So, it seems that "der Vater" and "the father" are used similarly. I was just curious because there are a lot of sentences in here that use "der Vater" (or of course, den Vater / dem Vater based on case).

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CindySB87

    I answered 'what do you say to the father' and got it wrong. it underlined this, but this is diese and dem is the, right? And that word wasn't even used

    September 5, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeoSchribs1

    I think this is a correct English sentence but I'm not a native English speaker. I translate it into German as: "Was sagst du dem Vater?" or "Was sagst du deinem/Was sagt ihr eurem Vater?" 'What do you say to this father (if there are several fathers of several children) I would translate as: "Was sagst du/Was sagen Sie diesem Vater?" 'dieser' and 'diesem' are not so exactly used in German as 'this' in English. If the person, I'm speaking to, knows which one is meant I can also translate 'this father' into 'der/dem Vater'.

    September 5, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MuratSevgi2

    Lots of comment are made but i still couldn't find the answer of the main question. Well, it is "dative" but my mind tries to put "to" in front of "the" for creating a dative meaning. I am not an native speaker of both english and german but i'am sure there are people who still don't understand when to use "to the" and "the" for "dem". If it is never "to the" i am okay with that. But sometimes, duo translate the dative sentences with "to the". I am confused. Also please see;

    http://www.jabbalab.com/blog/795/how-the-german-cases-work-nominative-accusative-dative-and-genitive

    August 28, 2018

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

    English and German have different constructions. In English we don't have the same determiner for the dative case. English only uses "the" or "a/an" so we require words like "to" or "for" to indicate the indirect object. The "dem" for masculine nouns, "der" for feminine nouns or "den" for plural nouns in German specifically tells you that this is a dative noun/indirect object which means that the "to" or "for" is already assumed. You might see "to the" used in when going somewhere in German ("zu dem" or "zum" Park = to the park) but I don't know of instances where it's used as a part of an indirect object.

    There are also verbs and prepositions which require dative which you should try to learn as well.

    http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/verbs/dative-verbs/ http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/prepositions/dative-prepositions/

    I was specifically speaking about the definite articles representing "the" in this post, but the same general rules hold true for indefinite articles. ein/kein/mein...

    August 28, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MuratSevgi2

    So I never use "to the" while I am translating "den, dem, der" right? Also, thank you so much for the useful links, i will save them as shortcut. Vielen dank.

    August 28, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chady.nsr

    And this is where duo start bitching about my english while i fully understand the german

    October 21, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pete388433

    In English you would never say, what are you saying to the father. You would say, what are you saying to father?

    August 6, 2017

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

    Unless it's not your father. For example, two teachers could be talking about a misbehaving child and how to inform the family. One teacher might say "What are you saying to the father," meaning the father of the child.

    October 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/l1ndashepherd

    Yep!

    December 23, 2017

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

    'Was sagst du Vater?' is about the same as 'Was sagst du dem (and also unserem) Vater?" I ask this my sibling. And also the mother could ask so one of their children. 'Was sagst du, Vater?' or: 'Vater, was sagst du (dazu)?' Is in English: "What do you say father?" The comma is important in German. If I ask, for instance, my neighbour's child, then I say: "Was sagst du deinem Vater?"

    September 3, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lunalilo8739

    why not der (im sorry, im really confused)

    November 4, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeoSchribs1

    For example: "Der Vater sagt etwas (something)." In this sentence "der Vater" is the subject and therefore in the nominative case and "etwas" is in the accusative case. What does he say? - something (etwas). "Der Vater sagt mir etwas." In this sentence is mir in the dative case: to whom (wem). "Der Vater" changes in the dative case to "dem Vater" and "mir" is in the nominative case "ich": Ich sage dem Vater etwas.

    November 4, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iulian246353

    What are you telling the father. Correct. Isn't the topic a bit weird?

    December 27, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Denise526954

    Yes, unless you imagine it to be something like "what are you telling the father of the child?"

    October 17, 2018

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

    What is the difference between "dative" and "accusative"??? I don't get it and it's holding me back from learning the language. I don't understand how to identify if the sentence is one or the other and it's driving me crazy. Please, if anyone can help me? I have been struggling with this for years. Send a link or explain...please.

    April 8, 2018

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

    It's bigger than this, because there are verbs and prepositions which will indicate dative and accusative, but the general idea (if you're still struggling) is given a simple sentence such as: Der Mann gibt der Frau den Apfel.

    Here you have three nouns: Mann, Frau and Apfel. The Man is the one doing the action of giving - Nominative/Masculine (der) The Apple is the thing being given or what the verb is acting on (direct object) - Accusative/Masculine (den) The woman is the one being given something (indirect object) - Dative/Feminine (der)

    If I wanted this in the form of a question, it would be: Was gibt der Mann der Frau? (What is the man giving the woman?) and we're simply replacing the accusative Apple with a question word of "what". The answer will still be something being acted upon (direct object/accusative)

    In the sentence above it's essentially the same: Was sagst du dem Vater? "Du" is the one doing the action of telling/saying -Nominative/pronoun "Was" is the question word replacing what the direct object and the answer would be accusative. "dem Vater" is the indirect object or to whom the thing is being given (in this instance words are being given to the father) - Dative/Masculine

    https://www.duolingo.com/comment/18619872/The-German-Dative-Case

    April 30, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

    Go to youtube and find the "German with Anja" videos on the cases as she explains it easy and that is what helped me

    January 16, 2019

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

    Meaning priest?

    April 16, 2018

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

    Why is it the father instead of telling father

    April 29, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lestari698626

    "What are you telling to the father?" is wrong?

    August 24, 2018

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

    Was it marked wrong? It seems valid and could be reported.

    August 24, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

    "What are you saying to the father?" also gets marked wrong and as far as I can see it should be right, so I reported that.

    January 16, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raghava217421

    What you telling to the father is also correct is it?

    September 13, 2018

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

    what do you tell the father?

    September 14, 2018

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

    "what do you tell the father" should be correct DUO chap

    September 19, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Denise526954

    "Honey I'm pretty sure it's yours"

    October 9, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David304852

    In English you would not say "the" father unless it was a priest!

    November 28, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lolothe2nd

    Whynot " what do you tell to the father?" ?

    January 3, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    because you don't say so in English. "tell" just takes a direct object.

    March 23, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lolothe2nd

    but the answer here does use verb tell (telling)

    April 20, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    Yes, the answer uses "tell". But "tell" uses a direct object: "What are you telling the father?" or "What do you tell the father?". A "to" doesn't fit here, it is ungrammatical.

    April 20, 2019

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

    I think they should accept my answer: "what do you say to the father?"

    January 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Christo-fur

    What say you to the father?

    February 1, 2019

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

    You might wanna screenshot this.

    DEFINITE ARTICLES Masculine Der (Nom) Den (Acc) Dem (Dat)

    Feminine Die (Nom) Die (Acc) Der (Dat)

    Neuter Das (Nom) Das (Acc) Dem (Dat)

    INDEFINITE ARTICLES Masculine Ein (Nom) Einen (Acc) Einem (Dat)

    Feminine Eine (Nom) Eine (Acc) Einer (Dat)

    Neuter Ein (Nom) Ein (Acc) Einem (Dat)

    March 9, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gabe96831

    So this sounds a little beginner, but why is it not "Was du sagst...." why is the answer the way it is? Thanks in advance!

    April 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    The verb must always be in second position in ordinary German statement sentences.

    April 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gabe96831

    Yeah, I just thought whenever it is a question it usually goes something like, "Was du", or "Hast du". Thank you though!

    April 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    If it is a yes/no-question you have indeed inversion. But questions headed by question words have the normal word order.

    April 8, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/19tracks

    Wasn't there an exercise where a sentence like "Schreibst du dem Großvater?" translated to "Are you writing to grandfather?" with no "the"? I remember thinking it was weird that there was a definite article in the German in that one... What's the difference, why does this one have to have a "the" in the English?

    April 21, 2019

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

    What did you say to the father - not accepted?? What's up duolingo

    May 2, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    wrong tense. "What do you say to the father?" is one of the accepted answers.

    May 2, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Jesse-B-

    If you rearrange the order it may make sense: Du sagst was dem Vater? Du is in the nominative, the accusative is was ( because the second person singular said whatever "was" was) and then whatever they said is directed at dem Vater. At least, this makes sense to me, hopefully to everyone else, also.

    May 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    "du sagst was dem Vater?" is not a correct word order. Like in English, the "question words" start the sentence.
    But your explanations of the cases are correct.

    May 7, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickB256898

    What is the difference between one sentence starting with "Der" father and this sentence using dem?

    June 10, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    "der Vater" is nominative, so it tells this is the subject of the sentence. "dem Vater" is dative, so it is the "receiver" of the action ("(to) the father).

    June 11, 2019

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

    Why is it du not dich?

    July 5, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
    Mod
    • 1029

    Because "you" is the subject of the sentence and therefore nominative case is needed.

    July 5, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stuart-Patrick

    Telling, saying make up your mind Duolingo. Starting to annoy me. How can you ask what some is saying? Can you not listen? What did you say surely?

    August 12, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/S_e_r_9_1_0

    Nicht Heute!

    July 24, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosephT.Madawela

    One moment they say tell and the next it is say what is correct.DOnt Be French

    April 12, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hannah4280

    "what are you telling the father?"

    "We made a mistake,"

    July 28, 2017

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

    Honestly, this sentence makes no sense at all.

    November 23, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
    Mod

      Out of context it's a bit odd, but use your imagination. Hopefully you can at least understand it grammatically with the help of the comments on this page.

      November 23, 2017

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

      Okay dative case aside, dem basically means the but, you know in the dative case right, so where did it get the word "to" out of that? I know that verbatim translations need to be fixed usually but it would translate to "what says you the father" which can be interpreted to "What are you saying the father" so where is the word "to"

      May 22, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
      Mod

        Dative case can be thought of as meaning "to", in a way. So, while der means "the", it might help your learning to think of dem meaning "to the". It's an approximation, but it helps understanding where the "to" disappeared to.

        May 22, 2016
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