Seite 3

Wem gebe ich was zu Weihnachten?


"Giving" in the Broadest Sense: the Concept of the Indirect Object

A direct object is named as such because it is a noun or pronoun that is the object of an action.

Here are some examples in English:

  • John is reading the book. "John" is the subject of the sentence, the one doing the reading. "the book" is the object, the thing being read.
  • We want to see a movie. "We" is the subject. "a movie" is the object.
  • My friends are drinking coffee. "My friends" are the subject. "coffee" is the object.

Some verbs cannot have an object. For example, "to sleep". One cannot "sleep" something. Or "to go": One cannot "go" something.

In English, the subject is easy to identify, because word order in English places the subject before the verb and the object after the verb.

In German, the object can come before the verb. While it makes little sense in English to state "The tire changes the woman" or "The novel reads the student", it is perfectly grammatical to do so in German: "Den Reifen wechselt die Frau" and "Den Roman liest die Studentin".

  • English depends on word order to organize words in a sentence in a meaningful statement.
  • German depends on case to organize words in a sentence in a meaningful statement.
  • In German, the direct object is in the accusative case.


Übung 5-3a. Identify the subjects and objects Work with a partner. Underline the subjects in the following sentences and circle the direct objects. Translate the sentences into English.

  1. Wir sehen einen Film am Montag. ____________________________________________

  2. Das Buch lesen die Kinder in der Bibliothek. ____________________________________________

  3. Frühstück können die Eltern um halb acht essen. ____________________________________________

  4. Bier trink man immer gekühlt. ____________________________________________

  5. Artur muss morgen viele Emails schreiben. ____________________________________________

  6. Im Kaufhaus kauft meine Schwester einen neuen Pullover. ___________________________________

  7. Was nehmen Sie heute? ____________________________________________


Indirect objects are the recipients of certain actions. In practical usage, indirect objects are usually people.

One may begin to grasp the concept by thinking of indirect objects occuring in the "giving" verbs. In the simplest terms: A person (subject) "gives" a thing (direct object) to a person (indirect object).

  • The indirect object (the person getting something) is in the dative case in German.
  • The dative case is marked grammatically by the definite articles (dem, der, den), indefinite articles (einem, einer, keinen), possessive adjectives (unserem, deiner, ihren, etc.).

Pronouns also have dative forms: Sie gibt mir (indirect object) ein Buch (direct object).

"Giving" verbs include all those that indicate a subject getting or transmitting something to someone. For example, "to say": To "say something to someone", the "something" is the direct object and the "someone" is the indirect object. Other examples include "to bring" (to bring something to someone); "to buy" (to buy something for someone); "to show" (to show something to someone).

In German, the dative case eliminates the need for the prepositions (to, for). English often does this as well: "I will give Mary a gift." ("Mary" is the indirect object.)

See the rubrics on "Seite 11".

The interrogative "whom" is wem, as in "Wem soll ich meine Handynummer geben?" (To whom should I give my cellphone number?)


Übung 5-3b. Identify the subjects and objects Work with a partner. In the following sentences, underline the subjects, circle the direct objects, check the indirect objects. Translate the sentences into English. Remember that word order is different in German.

  1. Meine Eltern geben ihren Kindern kein Geld.

    ____________________________________________

  2. Einen Ring möchte ich meiner Freundin kaufen.

    ____________________________________________

  3. Der Professorin sagen wir nichts.

    ____________________________________________

  4. Ich werde euch meine Wohnung zeigen. (zeigen = to show)

    ____________________________________________

  5. Mir bringt kein Mensch ein Geschenk zum Geburtstag.

    ____________________________________________

  6. Schicken Sie Ihrer Mutter eine Email morgen!

    ____________________________________________

  7. Zu Weihnachten (for Christmas) schenken Lara und Frank ihren Nachbarn eine Flasche Wein.

    ____________________________________________

  8. Könnt ihr uns eure Notizen leihen? (leihen = to lend)

    ____________________________________________

  9. Deiner Partnerin sollst du den Bleistift reichen. (reichen = to hand)

    ____________________________________________

  10. Diese Frage stellt man den Polizisten oft. (Frage stellen = to pose or ask a question)

    ____________________________________________

  11. Das Hotel bietet seinen Gästen Spezialpreise an. (anbieten = offer)

    ____________________________________________

If the direct object is a pronoun, it always comes before the indirect object.
Otherwise, the indirect object comes before the direct object. For example, for the last sentence above, if the word "Spezialpreise" is replaced by its pronoung "sie", then the word order must be: Das Hotel bietet sie seinen Gästen an.


Übung 5-3c: Geschenke. Wem kaufe ich was zu Weihnachten? zum Geburtstag? Construct sentences in which the giver ("Geber") is getting ("Verben") something ("Geschenk" gift) for someone ("Empfänger" recipient) for Christmas ("zu Weihnachten") or for their birthday ("zum Geburtstag"). You should mix up the elements, so that everyone does not have the same sentences. For example: Meine Mutter kauft meinem Bruder einen Rucksack.
Then ask your partner who they are buying things for, as indicated in the examples below. Note the partner's responses.
VerbenGeberEmpfängerGeschenk
gebenichmeine Freundinein Ring (m)
kaufenmein Freundmein Brudereine CD
schenkenmein Vatermeine Tanteein Buch
schickenmeine Muttermeine Omaein Computerspiel
bringenmeine Schwestermein Nachbar (m/ -n)ein Rucksack (m)

  1. ________________________________________________________________________________

  2. ________________________________________________________________________________

  3. ________________________________________________________________________________

  4. ________________________________________________________________________________

  5. ________________________________________________________________________________

Partnerfragen Beispiele:

  • Wem (for whom) kauft dein Freund etwas (something) zu Weihnachten (oder zum Geburtstag)?
  • Wem gibt deine Mutter etwas zu Weihnachten (oder zum Geburtstag)?
  • Wem bringst du etwas zu Weihnachten (oder zum Geburtstag)? u.s.w.
  1. ________________________________________________________________________________

  2. ________________________________________________________________________________

  3. ________________________________________________________________________________

  4. ________________________________________________________________________________

  5. ________________________________________________________________________________


Übung 5-3d: Über Weihnachteinkäufe sprechen Teil A. (Teil B ist auf Seite 11.) Wem kaufe ich was zu Weihnachten? zum Geburtstag? Partnerarbeit.
Use nouns to ask the questions (A:) and use pronouns to answer the questions (B:).

Redemittel
A: Was schenkt Manfred seinen Eltern?
B: Er schenkt ihnen ein Buch.
A: Was gibt Torsten seinem Freund?
B: Er gibt ihm Socken.
A: Was kauft Brigitte ihrer Schwester?
B: Sie kauft ihr ein Sakko.

Was kaufst du deinen Eltern? Was kaufst du deinem Bruder? Was kaufst du deiner Freundin?
 

ElternFreundFreundinSchwesterBruderNachbarn
Sie 

      
Ihre Partnerin / Ihr Partner