I know that there are a variety of situations in which the dative and accusative objects can be placed differently.

As far as I know, the following sentences are correct:

Ich gebe ihm das Buch.
Ich gebe meinem Bruder das Buch.

But when the akkusative object (das Buch) turns into a pronoun (es), the sentences are formed like this:

Ich gebe es ihm.
Ich gebe es meinem Bruder.

So my question is: What if I wanted to use a proper name like Herr Müller instead of ihm or meinem Bruder?

Would it be correct if I said:

Ich gebe es Herr Müller.

Or do I have to use an additional preposition such as zu and say:

Ich gebe es zu Herr Müller.

  • 1
    It's been implicitly but not explicitly mentioned in the answers you got so far: There's no difference in the placement whatsoever whether the object is a proper name or any other sort of object.
    – tofro
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 10:04
  • 4
    'Herr' is inflected Herrn in the dative, accusative, or genitive case: "Ich gebe es {Herrn Müller}ᴰᴬᵀ. Ich rufe {Herrn Müller}ᴬᴷᴷ an. Das Auto {Herrn Müllers}ᴳᴱᴺ / des {Herrn Müller}ᴳᴱᴺ / von {Herrn Müller}ᴰᴬᵀ ist silberfarben. " ('Frau' and 'Fräulein' remain unchanged in all cases.)
    – user22484
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 13:02

3 Answers 3


Basic thoughts

The basic situation has already been clarified by the previous answers. I would like to add that the first word order that comes to mind is:

Ich gebe Herrn Müller das Buch.

This can emphasise, the object, but usually not strongly. There are certainly other permissible word orders. The first one would be:

Ich gebe das Buch Herrn Müller.

which normally emphasises the recipient. Of course verbal stress plays a role. Then there is a case for contrasting recipients. What they receive also gets stressed, albeit less:

Herrn Müller gebe ich das Buch, Nina die Gitarre!

Naturally, there are cases where stress becomes a major aspect:

Das Buch gebe ich Herrn Müller, das Geld aber Nina.

Das Buch gebe ich Herrn Müller, alle anderen aber Nina!

About es

Usually – there are exceptions – when we use es, it receives very little emphasis and often only serves grammatical correctness. Hence, we pick an order not emphasising it:

Ich gebe es Herrn Müller.

Proper nouns

Having pondered for a few minutes, I can’t discern anything special about proper nouns:

Ich gebe dem Hund den Knochen.

Ich gebe ihn dem Hund.

Ich gebe Herrn Müller das Buch.

Ich gebe es Herrn Müller.

About zu

In this sense, adding zu is not permitted. Adding zu often invokes significant changes:

Ich gebe es zur Reparatur. – I gave it away for repair.

Sie gab das Mädchen zu den Nonnen. – She gave the girl to the convent (probably for education)

Ich gebe Salz zur Suppe. – I add salt to the soup.

About the last example, I am not sure if it is idiomatic. I tend to express it differently.

So if we correct your example, adding an n, it may occur, albeit in a very different sense from what you probably thought. For instance, we may have:

Ich habe ein kleines Mädchen. Ich gebe es für ein halbes Jahr zu Herrn Müller nach London, damit es Englisch lernt!


It’s not necessary to write zu because the verb geben is already a dative verb:

Ich gebe Herrn Müller das Buch.

If you prefer to use pronouns:

Ich gebe es [the book] ihm [Mr. Müller].

If you want to write his name in the sentence, then it is:

Ich gebe es Herrn Müller.


In your example, the dative should be placed at the end of the title, "Herr."

The proper construction then is "Ich gebe es Herrn Müller." The "en" comes after the "Herr" and is contracted to "n."

There is also an omitted "dem." That is, it is omitted from "Ich gebe es [dem] Herrn Muller.

You don't need the additional preposition "zu" for "to," because this idea is embodied in the dative.

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