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  5. "I thank you."

"I thank you."

Translation:Ich danke Ihnen.

December 21, 2012



A big problem here is that everyone (me included) got this wrong because we knew nothing of 'dative' and 'accusative'. We knew nothing of it because we haven't been taught it at this point. It's unfair.


I feel that Duo wants us to learn through trial and error, like the tomb raider comment above. This is actually not a bad way to learn a language, although it can be frustrating and it would be nice if it gave us notes on all the grammar rules. However; because we all started learning our native languages without notes and figured grammar out by ourselves, learning through trial and error is the absolute best way, because it teaches us to learn the grammar on our own, which makes it easier to retain the information.


I disagree. Like any kind of learning, this is different for everyone. For me (and the majority of people) it is easier to learn when you can associate or "block" similar ideas in your memory. It would take thousands of examples and lots of frustration to get the point where I am after spending five minutes on the Wikipedia page looking up grammar rules, because by the time I get a piece of the puzzle I'm already forgotten what the other pieces are. Teach first, test later. The site is better than the app for this, but neither does enough teaching.

Think of it like learning music theory; study it, practice it, then forget it and be better for it


I just want to add something that I have caught onto recently to this old but still relevant thread.... I am a very linear learner and like "notstarboard" I prefer to learn the formula, learn the rules, and then apply what I have learned. This has worked for me forever so naturally, I prefer to do it when learning a language. However, there is a significant part of learning a language that is not necessarily formulaic or linear and more intuitive; more like an art form. This is the part I resist, but it's very important. This is why we speak our first language so perfectly. We didn't need to memorize the rules of our first language and yet we speak it perfectly because we can 'feel' it, in many ways, intuitively; picking up on patterns and repetition, going off of what just 'sounds right'. This is why immersion works so well. It's that magic missing piece to learning languages that cannot be learned from a text book. So, I agree that we should embrace the curve balls that Duo throws our way because it's good practice in using our intuition and making up for that portion of our brains that needs to 'feel' our way through the language.


I agree. I learnt Japanese in school with their linear approach, and I only remember a hand full of phrases. I honestly learnt more German in the first month of using Duolingo than I did in 4 years of Japanese at school. I also bought Paul Noble's audio book on German and he basically just uses structured repetition and says not to focus too much on remembering every detail, you'd be surprised how your brain effortlessly processes and retains what he's teaching!


Not me. I like figuring out problems through innovative thinking. It's fun!


Perfect. Well done! But we can add some tools to improve our progress in the learning process, always in a integrated way. I am Brazilian, a portuguese speaker, and I'm studying English and German here. So, along these almost three years of partnership, i discover 1) that after repeeting the same mistakes again, again and again, yes, it become time do search for some help. In my case in three different directions a) Lingolia, for gramatical reasons, b) mnemonics techniques, to improve the velocity and quality of storing information in my memory, and c) after so many and repeated mistakes, (you really need to be frustated), in other words, when the process is mature for "you", in your time, meaning that you are ready to perceive the little details behind of "your" mistakes, then you read the comments about these mistakes in the discussion area of each exercise, your comments, dear fellows. Thank you all!


do none of you in this long winded string realize that there actually is grammatical information for each lesson? you have to log in through the website instead of the app...then there is a lightbulb icon that provides charts, rules, syntax, etc. i think duolingo may update the app soon to include this feature...my sister is doing spanish and apparently her app started including the lightbulb info.


I felt so frustrated when i started, but that's exactly how I've learned so much so easily and quickly!


I think it does give a note. You can read about it in the Tip section for each chapter.


Exactly. Why not leave the dative verbs for the dative verb lesson? Or dative pronoun lesson?


Yup, very unfair. Reminds me of the game "tomb raider", where sometimes you would die because of a trap you couldn't have known was there or avoided until you died.


Are we "taught" anything on this program? Am I missing something? Are there lessons somewhere that go through things before you practice?


I don't know if this is irony, but if it is not, well there are Tips on the categories, and the categories can be considered lessons. We learn from our own will and we teach each other in the discussions.


It is a mix of irony and a serious question. I keep running into posts where people say something akin to: "it's not fair, they haven't taught us that yet." But other than the brief tips given at the beginning of a category, there aren't a bunch of formal lessons given. So, one could say that about almost anything on here. In light of the fact that I kept seeing such comments, I wondered if I was missing a part of this program.


I believe you are missing something. If you click on the lightbulb at the start of each section it is explained. I understand if you are learning on a mobile device then the lightbulb(and explanation) isn't shown.


Duolingo is not supposed to be your only source for learning foreign language. It's better if you also read other sources to learn the grammar


I suggest that you read TIPS for each lesson. Careful, the Web and iOS/Android versions are very different and offer different tips. I read through both variants since only that allows to be mostly prepared for the lesson


I disagree. If you are following the course, you will already have been exposed to the dative and accusative. Go back 6 and 8 lessons for Dative Pronoun and Dative Case.


'euch' is dative, so isn't 'Ich danke euch' alright too?


Yes. The following translations are possible.

  • Ich danke dir.

dir = informal you (dative singular)

  • Ich danke euch.

euch = informal you (dative plural)

  • Ich danke Ihnen.

Ihnen = formal you (dative singular or plural)


Yea, but, as this lesson is under "Formal" you should it not only be the latter is correct? I guess maybe they want to be sure you know the informal as well, but one might infer the default to be otherwise.


Right, but some people (like me) will get it in the general practice, and that doesn't tell you which lesson it is


Why can't it be Ich danke Sie? "I thank you (formal)" ?


Because the verb "danken" requires a dative object. The dative form of "Sie" (the formal you) is "Ihnen", so, your example would have to read "Ich danke Ihnen." (notice that "Ihnen" is capitalized here).

Again, please see the following thread where this is more fully explained.



Just wanna point out that I simply said Danke and it was accepted... so... there's that.


'Danke!' is the shortened form of: "Ich danke Ihnen/dir/euch!"


So why is it not "Ich danke dich"?


Because dich is for accusative and danken is dative


I'm not sure I understand why "you" comes in dative case here.

In another example, "We understand you" was translated as "Wir verstehen Sie". Why use "Sie" in one sentence and "Dir" in another when the sentence structure is effectively identical.


danken takes an object in the dative case -- that's simply something that has to be learned.

There are a dozen or two reasonably frequent verbs that take an object in the genitive case -- helfen, danken, folgen, gehören, gefallen, gratulieren, antworten etc.

I'm not sure whether there's a good reason for why they do so, but they do do so.

(Why do we "listen to" music but "look at" a picture? Why don't we "look to" the picture? -- That's just how it is!)


In the genitive case? I think you mean the dative case, because in the first sentence you are right.


    Correct, that was a typo.

    Verbs that take a genitive object are even rarer!


    Can't we also say bedanke?


    "Bedank dich" means: "say thank you". For instance, a mother says: "Bedank dich bei deinem Onkel für das schöne Geschenk (gift)." She says to two or more children: "Bedankt euch bei eurem Onkel für die Geschenke." I say to a customer: "Bei mir müssen Sie sich nicht bedanken." "Danke" is the short form of "ich danke dir (or euch or Ihnen).


      In other words, bedanken is a reflexive verb - there's a lesson about these later in the course. In short, if you use it you also need the corresponding reflexive pronoun dich/sich/mich/etc. (translateable as "yourself/oneself/myself"/etc.).

      Using this construction, "I thank you" = Ich bedanke mich (bei dir/Ihnen/euch)


      Why not ,,Ich bedanke mich bei dir"?


        This is also accepted.


        Can this be used as "ich danke sie???


          No. The verb danken is a dative verb. These are less common than the usual accusative verbs, and should be memorised as exceptions. This means that the sentence

          Ich danke _____

          needs whatever is in the blank space to be in dative case. The word sie has several uses, but none of them are in dative case. The dative forms of "you" are either dir (informal singular), euch (informal plural) or Ihnen (formal). The dative forms of "him/her/them" are ihm/ihr/ihnen.


          The dative "Ihnen" is used because we give thanks TO someone?


          The dative "Ihnen" is used because we give thanks TO someone?

          If that helps you remember that danken takes the dative, then sure.

          I don't think there's a reason why some verbs take the dative, e.g. folgen (to follow someone) -- you can't change it to "give a following to someone" in English the way you can translate jemandem danken as "give thanks to someone" or jemandem antworten as "give an answer to someone". There doesn't seem to be any logic behind jemandem folgen; that this verb takes the dative is simply something you have to remember.


          Alright, thank you. Another question: Doing all the levels on Duolingo will equip one with just the basic German, or also enable them to have a fluent conversation? As in, if Duolingo is enough knowledge for a long-term period?


          Doing all the levels on Duolingo will equip one with just the basic German, or also enable them to have a fluent conversation?

          I'm not sure whether the German Duolingo course is aligned with the CEFR levels such as A1, A2, B1, so I'm not sure that one can say "at the end of the course, you will be able to do .......".

          As in, if Duolingo is enough knowledge for a long-term period?

          No. It can provide a base but you will definitely need to supplement it as you progress, e.g. with speaking to Germans, listening to German TV or music, reading books in and about German, etc.


          Okay, thank you very much.


          why is it Ich danke Ihnen but also Ich mag Sie? Shouldn't these two sentences use the same form of you?


          "danken" takes the dative (Ihnen) and "mögen" takes the accusative (Sie).


          Thank you for this. How can I tell the difference in the future?


          Dative is used when something is from the subject to the object like thanks, i give my thanks to you, accusative is when it is about the object as in I like you where you is the object and I the subject


          Accusative is the object of the verb. I play football. What do I play? Football.

          Dative is the indirect object - to, by, with, from something.

          There are certain prepositions which always take the dative - aus, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu, gegenüber.


          But really you just need to learn which verbs take dative. It's not obvious just by thinking about the verb danken, that it should take dative eg that the object is indirect.


          I agree with SelphieB. Before answering I asked myself, "Do you thank to a person, or thank the person?" The answer seems to be the latter, and so wrote the accusative, Ich danke Sie. Wrong!


          So I'm guessing this means "I am thankful of you", rather than "I thank you" other wise it would have been the same as "I like you": "Ich mag Sie"


          No, it's "I thank you". It's just that "danken" takes the dative.


          Why can't it be ich danke Ihr?


          "danken" takes the dative. The dative of "Sie" (formal you) is "Ihnen". "ihr" (never capitalised) is the dative of "sie" (she).


          There is some additional discussion on this exact topic that you might find useful here:



          I answered "Ich danke euch" and got it correct, but everyone is speaking about this dative case business, so I would like to know about it, especially why it had to be "Ich danke Ihnen".


          Plese, see the comments of chubbard and christian above. There are good explantion about it. In your case, "euch" is the dative case of Ihr (you, informal plural, as you guys), so you answered right... Ihnen is the dative case to Sie (you, formal)


          I don't understand. Ihnen does mean "you" too?


          Ihnen is the dative case to Sie (you, formal)


          Why is "ich liebe dich" correct while "ich danke dich" wrong?


          Thanks is something you give to someone, therefore takes the dative 'dir', while someone is the direct object of your love, and takes the accusative, 'dich'


          I'm finding this hard to distinguish because love is also something you can give to someone...


            Yeah, it's not very practical to think 'why' certain German verbs require dative… better just to remember them as exceptions.


            "ich danke Sie" how could this go wrong ?


            Ok, so mine came on as the microphone and I tried to say 'Ich danke dich' (yes I know it's wrong), but it heard it as 'Ich bedanke mich', which it labelled as correct. Doesn't this mean I thank myself? Why would this be correct?

            [deactivated user]

              Exactly, "Ich bedanke mich" doesn't make sense for me here, as it doesn't indicate whom I thank


                Ich bedanke mich is a phrase that doesn't really have an English equivalent. Note that bedanken and danken are different words. You could sort of think of it as something like "I express my thanks".

                As for shorter phrases like Danke! or Vielen Dank!, context makes it clear whom you are thanking (usually the person being spoken to). If you want to be more explicit, the expanded phrase is sich bei jemandem bedanken. E.g. "I thank you" = Ich bedanke mich bei dir/Ihnen/euch.


                Answer is "Ich danke euch". But can I also answer "Ich danke dir"??


                Yes because dir is dative for second person of the singular


                why "ihnen danke ich" is not accepted when "Ihm gehören viele Zeitungen" was taught as right in a previous question? What is the difference between the two cases?


                  Well, Ihnen danke ich places extra emphasis on "you" that I would argue is not necessarily present in the source sentence, something like "It's you whom I thank". It's a slippery slope as to whether such changes of emphasis are appropriate or not as translations, so at best you will find them inconsistently allowed on Duolingo.

                  The other thing is that you used ihnen, which means "them", rather than Ihnen, which means "you". The capitalisation is important.


                  Am I correct in looking at this as "I give thanks to you": I = subject; thanks = direct object; you = indirect object? I wanted to use the accusative, dich, but looking at it in this way helps see why the dative, dir or Ihnen, must be used.


                    You can use this as a tip to help you remember it if you want, but that is not the grammatical structure of the German sentence. German simply expresses the concept differently than English does - that's just how the language developed. A literal translation of "giving thanks to someone" would be nonsense in German.


                    The translation in German 'Ich danke dir.' is wrong?


                    "Sie" is not used because it is nominative/accusative. "Ihnen" is used because it is dative and fits the grammatical case here. In case anyone was wondering.

                    • Ich danke Ihnen.


                    Du holde Kunst, Ich danke dir

                    Franz Schubert, Lieder, "An Die Musik"


                    Why ihnen and not sie?


                    Why ihnen and not sie?

                    Both of those are wrong. Ich danke ihnen would mean "I thank them", not "I thank you".

                    See the other comments on this page for more about the grammar and the correct spelling of Ihnen.


                    What is wrong with saying: Ich danke dich?


                    What is wrong with saying: Ich danke dich?

                    dich is the accusative case form of du, but the verb danken takes an object in the dative case -- so it would have to be Ich danke dir.


                    Why is this not correct: ich danke dich


                    Why is this not correct: ich danke dich

                    Because danken takes an object in the dative case.

                    Thus you need ich danke dir with dative dir, not accusative dich.

                    There are a dozen or two common verbs that take a dative object, rather than an accusative one.

                    (The list I learned in school was helfen danken folgen gefallen gehören 'wie geht es ...' gratulieren antworten, but those are just the most common ones.)

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