I’m kinda confused about using pronouns in dative and accusative. For example:

Hat Max’ Freundin den Ring schon? - Ja er hat __ schon gegeben.

Which pronoun fits this case is it ihm because we are talking about the ring which is masculine?

  • 1
    You need two pronouns in that gap, actually, because geben has two objects (what is given, and whom it is given to). And yes, the pronoun for Ring is er (N), ihn (A), ihm (D) because Ring is masculine gender.
    – chirlu
    Oct 22, 2015 at 17:34
  • Thanks for your answer, I understood the case for der Ring but I don't which will be "ihm" but the "ihn" is for who ? max's friend? Oct 22, 2015 at 17:45
  • 2
    It’s a bit unclear what you actually want to know. It would be Er hat ihn (= den Ring) ihr (= seiner Freundin) schon gegeben. If he gave it to a male friend, it would be ihm instead of ihr.
    – chirlu
    Oct 22, 2015 at 17:56
  • Is your native language English? If not, what is it? Obviously not a romance or germanic language since they all have no problem referencing things with the equivalents of him or her.
    – Jan
    Oct 22, 2015 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in the comments to the question, geben requires two objects. One accusative object (who or what is given?) and one dative object (whom was it given to?).

In many cases it doesn’t matter in which order you place the two. In your example:

Er hat ihr ihn schon gegeben (He gave her it [the ring] already)
Er hat ihn ihr schon gegeben (He gave it [the ring] to her already)

It’s pretty clear in this context which is the object that was given and which the object that received something, especially because one object here is male and one is female.

Another example of two male objects would be this:

Hat Max die Schlüssel schon? Ja, er [Peter] hat ihn [wen? den Schlüssel (acc.)] ihm [wem? Max (dat.)] schon gegeben.
Hat Max die Schlüssel schon? Ja, er [Peter] hat ihm [wem? Max (dat.)] ihn [wen? den Schlüssel (acc.)] schon gegeben.

In this case you need to look closer at which is the accusative object and which is the dative object.

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