I am studying grammar at level B1/B2 German and I encountered something I do not really understand: At the moment I am working on a chapter concerning prepositions which require the dative. In this chapter it is said that dank and entsprechend do so. However, in the following sentences they go with the genitive:

Entsprechend der Vorgaben der Fair-Wear-Foundation werden die Pullover aus reiner Baumwolle produziert.

It is die Vorgabe, so I would expect here “Entsprechend den Vorgaben“. What am I missing here?

In a second example:

Die höheren Schichten der Gesellschaft brauchten dank ihrer Sklaven keine körperliche Arbeit zu verichten.

I would expect “dank ihren Sklaven”, as it should be in dative plural, right?

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    Follow your intuition. Those who use "dank" with genitive, don't really know why and do it just because they're used to it. The logical case, deriving from the verb "(jemandem) danken", would be the dative. Same with "trotz". "Entsprechend der Vorgaben" simply mirrors a blind and pointless preference of the genitive for prepositions, running rampant these days. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


"Entsprechend" is transparently derived from a verb that takes a dative, and as you would expect, it takes a dative itself. People using a genitive are simply wrong, possibly due to hypercorrection (the genitive is slowly being lost and replaced with the dative generally, so it happens that someone thinks a dative should really be a genitive even when it shouldn't).

"dank" often takes genitives and datives. Since there is no immediately obvious derivation from a verb, it's not quite as clear whether the same explanation holds or not. I find myself indifferent which one I prefer. Since most feminine and plural NPs don't even distinguish genitives from datives, and the preposition is rare, I suspect that a lot of people have never even consciously considered which one is correct.

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    Der Duden zur Herkunft von "dank": "im 19. Jahrhundert entstanden aus der Wendung »Dank sei …«". Damit liegt der Dativ näher.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 13:15
  • Jemandem danken. Dank sei Gott (ebenfalls Dativ). Genitiv ist hier einfach falsch.
    – user6191
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 14:04

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