and welcome to another episode of our German is Easy Learn German online course. And today is a big day because we’ll take on:
So the question most learners have about cases is
“How can I know which case to use? It’s soo confusing.”
The solution however is really really simple. Just check out the question. If you’d ask “Wen?” then it’s going to be Accusative or as we also call it … “wen-Fall”. If you’d ask “wem?” then it’s Dative (or Wem-Fall), for Genitive it’s wessen? and for Nominative it’s wer? Let’s do an example.
- I forgive him.
To forgive is vergeben (away-idea of the ver-prefix, anyone?). Now which case do we have to use this time. Well… let’s look at the question and find out.
- Wem vergebe ich?
SHA – BAAAAAMS. It’s Dative. Now, is that a kick ass system or what?
“But, Emanuel, I don’t know which question to ask in the fir…”
No,no,no… stop being so overly negative. It is really simple.
Okay… of course I am kidding. This approach works for German kids when they have to determine the case of a thing in school. Because they are native speakers and they KNOW what case to use, they just don’t know the name.
For a German learner however, this “explanation” makes NO SENSE at all.
Why am I bringing it up then?
Well, some Germans might try and use that to explain cases to you which is normal because for them it works and they are not teachers. Just tell ’em it doesn’t work or, if they insist that it is simple, just nod and say “Ach so” “Aha:”. But if a teacher ever does it… well… have a nap. Or check your Facebook. Or ask your neighbor out on a date. Lot’s of options. Feeling stupid is not one of them.
Now, can cases be explained in a way that actually makes sense. Hell yes.
And while we wait for the perfect explanation to come out, let’s see how close we can get to that here :)