What do the verbs "help", "give", "write", and "send" have in common?
They are things we do in our jobs?
Well, yes... and this can be a hint. Things we do in our jobs, usually involve other people apart from ourselves.
Oh, I know, things that have a recipient!
Exactly, you are good at this!
To "help", "give", "write", or "send", we need a person on the other side to receive our help, our present, our email, our package, etc. In grammar terms, those recipients are called indirect objects.
I sent you an email.
So what?
Well, remember declensions?
How could I forget them...
For indirect objects, we have a new declension type called dative.
We are not going to pretend this is an easy and beautiful piece of grammar knowledge. It actually really sucks because every article changes to something else. Bear with us.
Let's remember the good old accusative first. We like the accusative :)
  • We use it with direct objects
  • It only changes in masculine singular
  • We use it with verbs like "to see", "to take", "to order", "to eat" , etc.
der/ein Mann
den/einen Mann
die/eine Frau
die/eine Frau
das/ein Kind
das/ein Kind
die Kinder/ - Kinder
die Kinder/ - Kinder
Okay, now the dative where it's a little more tricky:
Ich zeige I show
dem Mann
den Supermarkt.
Ich zeige I show
der Frau
die Buchhandlung.
Ich zeige I show
dem Kind
das Kino.
Ich zeige I show
den Kindern
die Museen.
Remember: we use the dative for indirect objects, mostly other people playing an indirect role in our actions, usually receiving something.
Don't panic, it may seem a little complicated at first, but you'll get the hang of it over time :)