Accusative or Dative: The Grammatical Case (A1+)

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How can we decide if an object (noun) in German is in accusative case or in dative case?

When should I apply the dative, what about the accusative?

Verbs and prepositions will be helpful is letting you know if an accusative object or a dative object will follow.

The best way to learn the verbs, which are followed by accusative, which are followed by dative, or which can be followed by both accusative and dative is through practice.
In this article of this blog, you will find the typical common dative expressions we use in everyday life.

That’s for the verbs. Now, the prepositions: Some of them take the accusative, some of them the dative.
But there are also some prepositions that can change the case they reign; we call them “Wechselpräpositionen” (“changing praepositions”) in German. For them it is good to know, that the prepositions which answer the German question “wo?” (“where?”), and therefore refer to a situational meaning, are followed by dative. Those prepositions which answer the German question “wohin?” (“whereto?”), and therefore refer to a directive meaning, are followed by accusative.
Here is a graphic that shows the prepositions and their cases:



Tricks to figure out what case to use (remember that these are guidelines, please do not generalize!)

  •     The person is mostly the dative object, the thing is usually the accusative object.
  •     The object that is closer to the verb is usually the dative object, more distant one is the accusative object.

About the prepositions that reign either accusative or dative: Do you like teachers singing and rhyming? Here are two videos (thank you Sean from Denmark) You can learn the prepositions through a rhyme, if that is an easier way for you to remember:

Accusative Prepositions in German (Youtube)

Dative Prepositions in German (Youtube)


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