Sie ist in {einen, einem} Mann verliebt.

I want to write that she is in love with a man. Should I use accusative or dative? Why?

  • 1
    This question is actually solved by looking at the third entry here in dict.cc.
    – c.p.
    Mar 12 '14 at 14:04
  • Perhaps it is helpful to mention that "sie verliebte sich ihn ihm in ihn" could mean "she fell in love with him (den Mann) inside him (dem Wal Mobby Dick)". In+dative indicates a location inside something: in ihm - inside him.
    – blutorange
    Mar 12 '14 at 17:41

I'll try to dissect the use of cases here. So the basic verb is "sich verlieben" which is "to fall in love". Just like the English translation suggests it is a directional verb.

Maria verliebt sich in ihn (acc).

As with so many other verbs that use prepositions in an abstract sense using dative with "verlieben" talks about where you do what you do.

Ich verliebe mich in mein Auto. I fall in love with my car.

Ich verliebe mich in meinem Auto. I fall in love in my car (with someone)

"Verlieben" has a result and that is "verliebt sein" /"to be in love"... here, German an English are different because German talks about "how" you are, English about "where". The crucial point is that the case doesn't change just because it is past now. As long as the verb is still there, the case that went with the verb just stays.

Ich stelle den Topf auf den Herd (acc) (I put the pot onto the stove) Ich habe einen Topf auf den Herd gestellt (I've put....)

Der Topf ist auf den Herd gestellt.

This technically answers to "how is the pot"

Der Topf ist auf dem Herd.

This to "Where is the pot."

Der Topf ist auf dem Herd gestellt.

That doesn't make much sense because the present would be

Ich stelle den Topf auf dem Herd.

No idea what that could possibly convey. So bottom line... it is accusative because it is a directional thing and as verb is still there so is the case.

Ich verliebe mich in sie.

Ich habe mich in sie verliebt.

Ich bin in sie verliebt.

Note that the "ich" in the last sentence used to be the "michs" of the sentences before.


The correct answer is

Sie ist in einen Mann verliebt.

the explanation:

"verliebt sein in jemanden" needs the accusative, not the dative.

otherwise it would be "verliebt sein in jemandeM" - it isn't - that's why it's wrong.

  • 5
    +1, but your explanation is essentially: Because it is like this.
    – Carsten S
    Mar 12 '14 at 13:01
  • 1
    The linguistic competence of a native speaker can be hard to explain at times ;-) Mar 14 '14 at 15:14

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