"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.
Find the verb and ask, what is being acted upon (accusative) and who/what is the receiver of the action (dative)?
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.
"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.
"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
I wrote "What are you saying to the father?", and I was marked correct.
tell doesnt go with to if I remember correctly . Just tell the father is alright
What are you telling the father is correct English... you can't say telling to the father. However they marked this wrong too!
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.
I think that too as it just sounds weird. I don't know why people are marking you down for your comment.
"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
I wrote "what did you say to the father?" and it marked me as being wrong. I do not understand why?
Can this mean a father as in the person who leads the service at the church or am I just being too imaginative?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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?
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".
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".
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).
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
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'.
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;
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.
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...
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.
And this is where duo start bitching about my english while i fully understand the german
In English you would never say, what are you saying to the father. You would say, what are you saying to father?
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.
'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?"
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.
Yes, unless you imagine it to be something like "what are you telling the father of the child?"
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.
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
Go to youtube and find the "German with Anja" videos on the cases as she explains it easy and that is what helped me
"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.
because you don't say so in English. "tell" just takes a direct object.
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.
I think they should accept my answer: "what do you say to the father?"
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)
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!
The verb must always be in second position in ordinary German statement sentences.
Yeah, I just thought whenever it is a question it usually goes something like, "Was du", or "Hast du". Thank you though!
If it is a yes/no-question you have indeed inversion. But questions headed by question words have the normal word order.
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?
wrong tense. "What do you say to the father?" is one of the accepted answers.
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.
"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.
What is the difference between one sentence starting with "Der" father and this sentence using dem?
"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).
Because "you" is the subject of the sentence and therefore nominative case is needed.
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?
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.
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"
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.