Grammar: mir vs mich, dir vs dich - Germany

I never know which one to use

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Derek
My girlfriend thinks it's unbelievable that I've been in Germany (off and on) for well over a decade, and I've learned quite a lot of German, but I still can't get it right when it comes to mir vs mich, dir vs dich vs dein vs deine vs deins etc. I just can't get it. I know it's to do with nominative, accusative, dative and genetiv, and I can *almost* understand the ideas behind those concepts, but when it comes to real-world sentences I just fail miserably.

Is there anyone that can either point me in the direction of a book/course/video that explains it (especially for dummies) ? Or better still, manage to explain some simple[ton] rule that I can use?

Here are some example sentences (ignore any other errors, just focus on the relevant one):

Jemand hat dich/dir angerufen.
Bringst du mich/mir irgendwas?
Mir/Mich ist schlecht. (I know that one's Mir but I don't know why).
toko
Imagine a long pole poking you... that is DICH
Imagine something coming to you or happening to you it's DIR

mitbringen = something is coming to you = MIR

anrufen is poking = DICH/MICH
ist schlecht = happening to you = MIR/DIR
Derek
That sounds promising, but I found a flaw. Someone poking you with a long pole (dich) could also be described as "something happening to you" (dir).
jayhamburg
www.aboutgerman.net has a really simply explanation, if can't find it let me know and I can give you the direct link,
toko
That sounds promising, but I found a flaw. Someone poking you with a long pole (dich) could also be described as "something happening to you" (dir).
but the "long pole" beats the other image.

akkusativ has to do with something pointing at you, but staying there, it might touch you.
Dativ is something moving towards you, possession might change.

beobachten = Dich, somebody keeps distance but watches you.
schenken = Dir, something is getting from a distance you you, in this case a present.

It's not easy, but probably solved through some abstract, but simple imagery in your mind and not learning it.
You just have to find the right image.

Mir ist Schlecht > The sickness doesn't stay there and point at you, it came to you and now it's in your "possession" lol.
westvan
Well, you just have to bite the bullet and learn some grammar, starting with the verbs that take the dative case and learning to determine the difference between a direct and an indirect object.

This site isn't bad at explaining things. Dive into this first and go from there: German Dative Verbs
BadBob
One thing you need to understand is that there are both dative and accusative prepositions...

Dative:
aus
ausser
von
mit
nach
seit
von
zu

These will always be dative...ie...ausser mir, mit mir, von mir...zu mir...

Never...ausser mich, mit mich, von mich...zu mich etc.

dative=DEAD (so to speak)
Accusitive=action

Example.
I give the ball to him.
Ich gebe ihm den Ball.
Ihm gebe ich den Ball.
Den Ball gebe ich ihm.

Notice that the cases do not change...the first thing in the sentence is what one wants to emphasize.

Shall ich continue?
Mariposa
Do you understand the distinction between direct and indirect objects? I am not sure if those terms are used in German grammar but indirect object = Dativ, direct object = Akkusativ.

In your first two sentences, the distinction is:

Jemand hat dich/dir angerufen. --> someone called you --> you are the direct object therefore it is mich/dich.
Bringst du mich/mir irgendwas? --> someone brings something to you --> something (direct object) is brought to you --> you = indirect object therefore it is mir/dir.

I am not sure if this is a good enough explanation, as I think unless you're a language teacher, people tend to suck at explaining their native grammar. It is also really hard for me to imagine not understanding the concept of direct and indirect object because I always understood it as it is part of my native language. (Is there any other language you speak that distinguishes between direct and indirect objects and you already understand the concept? That would help too.)

If I want to know if something is Dativ or Akkusativ I ask myself about that part of the sentence. Wem? (--> dir) or wen? (--> dich). But I suppose you would not know which one to use there either (if you do, that's the easiest way to figure out which one to use).
Mariposa
Example.
I give the ball to him.
Ich gebe ihm den Ball.
Ihm gebe ich den Ball.
Den Ball gebe ich ihn.

Notice that the cases do not change...the first thing in the sentence is what one wants to emphasize.
I am sure it is a typo but the last sentence also needs to say 'ihm'.
BadBob
Danke...corrected.
jeremy
My girlfriend thinks it's unbelievable that I've been in Germany (off and on) for well over a decade, and I've learned quite a lot of German, but I still can't get it right when
Oh that old one of "You've been here since...and you STILL..." - heard that often.

You need to tell he to shut up and surf TT more.
Bipa
Here is an example my Swiss friend gave me when I just started out learning German. It has stuck with me over the years:

When someone says to you:
Ich schenk dir --- you are getting a present or gift (I give to you)
Ich schenk dich --- you ARE the present or gift! (I give you to someone )

Same applies with this version, for example when you repeat for clarification:
Du schenks mir ---- you are getting something, it is given "to you" (You give to me)
Du schenks mich --- you are being given away, "you" are the item being given. (You give me away to someone)
Derek
Oh my. I'm getting overwhelmed already. This quote from that about.com link already confused me:

'The "dative verbs" category is a rather loose classification because almost any transitive verb can have a dative indirect object. But in general a dative verb is one that normally takes an object in the dative case—usually without any other object.'


My only languages are English and (to some extent) German. My English education pretty much stopped at age 16 with an O-level grade "E" (which is as low a pass as you can get). I didn't understand direct/indirect or transitive verbs. I'm not even sure if I knew what a preposition was at that time, and I'd never heard of terms like dative/nominative/accuastive until I got here.

I've always been able to spell really well and write English with naturally good grammar, but that's not through understanding any of it. It's just that things "sound right". So none of my English education is in any way helpful in terms of learning German.

I'd say to sum up my German at this stage, I have a great vocabulary of verbs and nouns, and I know where to put the verb in the sentence. I know all the different verb conjugations possible. Give me a verb and I can tell you each of it's variations. When it comes to conversations, I can string the sentences together in real-time without difficulty. It's just that final hurdle of getting my prepositions right.

I'm processing all the tips from above but it's feeling like I really might need to take a course. I find it hard to imagine being able to think (in real-time) "where's the direct and indirect object, ok, so are we dative or accusative, ok, so we want this version". I think I'd be planning my sentence for 5 seconds before I say it. I guess with practice it would get easier.
Derek
One thing you need to understand is that there are both dative and accusative prepositions...

Dative:
aus
ausser
von
mit
nach
seit
von
zu

These will always be dative...ie...ausser mir, mit mir, von mir...zu mir...

Never...ausser mich, mit mich, von mich...zu mich etc.

dative=DEAD (so to speak)
Accusitive=action

Example.
I give the ball to him.
Ich gebe ihm den Ball.
Ihm gebe ich den Ball.
Den Ball gebe ich ihm.

Notice that the cases do not change...the first thing in the sentence is what one wants to emphasize.

Shall ich continue?
I like this "These will always be dative...ie...ausser mir, mit mir, von mir...zu mir..."

That's the kind of thing that works for me I can learn those just by repetion. If I'm saying mit/von/zu/ausser *me* then it's always mir. I still wouldn't necessarily understand why, but I'd be getting it right and that's a good start.
LeonG
My teacher at the VHS gave us a list of prepositions

Dative:

aus
von
zu
bei
nach
gegenüber
mit
seit

Akkusativ:

bis
für
durch
ohne
um
gegen

and these can be either depending on movement:

auf
an
vor
hinter
zwischen
in
under
über
neben

The movement comes in when you lay your book on the table, that's movement and than it's akkusativ but when the book lies on the table, that's no movement and that's dativ.

She also told us that when we learn a verb, we should also learn the preposition that it comes with same as when you learn a noun, you should learn it with the gender.
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