Well, the question is regarding Akkusativ, Dativ and Genitiv positions in the following sentences:

Ich gebe einer Frau die Rose.
Ich gebe die Rose einer Frau.

Ich gebe sie einer.
Ich gebe einer sie.

Then, If I want to say for example:

I give a woman a flower what are the corrects? and for I give a woman's flower ?

I could only find grammars explaining for accusative+dative, but not also including genitive.

  • For the version with genitive: what do you want to say, whom do you give the flower? "I give a woman's flower" sounds incomplete.
    – Matthias
    Oct 23, 2014 at 9:06
  • In case I would want to say, I received a flower from a woman and I give it back, without saying to whom
    – blfuentes
    Oct 23, 2014 at 9:08
  • But still then you wouldn't use that English sentence.
    – Matthias
    Oct 23, 2014 at 9:11
  • I am a native Spanish speaker. It sounds ok to me just saying that I give a flower of a woman I met in the street. But the question is about the order of acc. dat. gen. not about English translation.
    – blfuentes
    Oct 23, 2014 at 9:16
  • I asked for the English sentence to understand what you want to say. Your German sample lacks the indirect object that is almost indispendable with "geben". It's difficult to talk about word order if some necessary words are missing.
    – Matthias
    Oct 23, 2014 at 9:21

2 Answers 2


The verb "geben" usually comes with two object, a thing given and an entity given to. You can technically skip one or even both object but you need a REALLY good context for it. If it is just an isolated sentence it will appear as if there's something missing to most people.

Unsere Beziehung ist aus der Ballance. Du nimmst. Ich gebe. (both objects missing)

Wenn in der U-Bahn ein MOtz-Verkäufer ist, gebe ich eigentlich immer was. (Dative missing)

Mir ward gegeben, etwas zu tun.

The last one is archaic, and arguably there is a direct object in form of the zu-clause.

Bottom line: if you come up with a context in which your sentence doesn't sound incomplete, then this very context will also automatically make people understand the configuration of cases.

  • Thanks. How would be the order in case I want to say "I give my father my mother's letter" . "Ich gebe meinem Vater den Brief meiner Mutter"?
    – blfuentes
    Oct 23, 2014 at 9:29
  • @blacai... that's perfect
    – Emanuel
    Oct 23, 2014 at 9:40

If you really, really wanted to say "I pass on the flower that a woman gave to me" using only the words in your example, then you would have to say

Ich gebe die Rose einer Frau.

And then you would almost certainly be misunderstood, because using 'geben' without a direct object is very uncommon, and the genitive you are using is exactly the same form as the dative that people will expect to hear.

The solution is obvious: use other words. Use a relative clause instead of the genitive modifier, or use a different verb that doesn't take a dative like 'geben' does. (Language always has multiple means to achieve the same end, otherwise we'd be stumped by homonymous constructions like this one.)

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