The dative case is applied to the indirect object.
I hit the ball to her.
I (subject/nominative case)
the ball (direct object/accusative case)
to her (indirect object/dative case)
The verb hit acted directly on the object the ball
The verb hit was only indirectly involved with her
In English expect to see the indirect object/dative case introduced by prepositions such as
to, from, at, by, with....... etc.
In German expect to see the indirect object/dative case introduced by prepositions such as
aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, zu .....etc.
Be aware that some prepositions introduce either direct object/accusative or indirect object/accusative depending on how they are used.
As Crumblus.Crisp has pointed out above, some verbs always take the dative case by their very nature. The reason is not always apparent to English speakers and takes some effort on the part of English speakers to adjust to.
In the example offered by Crumblus.Crisp, German takes the view that you give thanks in general and only indirectly apply it to a particular individual. Giving thanks to someone carries the dative case in German. You may note that giving thanks to someone in English would invoke the dative case as well, except we don't have a dative case form for someone.
- It's not "sie." It's "Sie."
- For it to be dative, it would have to be "Ihnen."
- However, "mogen" takes accusative--not dative--and the accusative for formal you is "Sie."
- Formal you in any case must be capitalized.
- Ich mag dich.
There is never a stupid question when you are learning. In speech, you cannot distinguish between sie (she), sie (they) and Sie (you formal). It is only in context that you would know. Discussion before 'Ich mag Sie' is even said. I hope this brings perspective.
In english as in german there are two levels of formality. If you meet someone new, or if you talk to your boss, you will usually call them Mr. and Mrs. In these cases you would use "Sie" in german. If you speak to friends and family you would use first names. In these cases you use "du" in german.
Ive read all the comments and still very confused on how when doing the write what you hear thing, how do I know that its "I like you" and not "I like her" when you are hearing it and cant see a capital?
I don't think that capitalisation is checked for "type what you hear" exercises -- so you could write ich mag sie regardless of whether the voice is saying Ich mag sie. or Ich mag Sie.
Also how is "I like her" then said?
Ich mag sie.
on a different translation question, "I like you" may only be translated as "Ich mag dich"?
"I like you" should accept all three translations: Ich mag dich - ich mag euch - ich mag Sie.
If Ich mag Sie is not accepted as a translation, then flag it as "my translation should be accepted".