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I have some confusion regarding accusative and dative. Please understand my question or if I have questioned wrongly than correct me. And please answer the questions elaborately if possible. Thank you.

Q#1. In this German sentence why Schüler is dative, not accusative?

Der Lehrer zeigt in dem Zimmer dem Schüler den Film.

Q#2. In this sentence why Gesundheit is dative?

Das Rauchen schadet der Gesundheit.

Please answer the questions thank you.

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    What does your grammar book say about the Dativ and its use? Why would you expect the Dativ for "Schüler" in the first sentence? – Eller Sep 12 '17 at 10:08
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    I'm not sure what you mean by "elaborate answers"? The short answer would be "because verb X goes with case(s) Y", so please explain what you think (or understood when checking your grammar or dictionary) and what exactly is your question. And only one question per post, please! – Stephie Sep 12 '17 at 10:09
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    The is NO rule that there can be on only one accusative in the sentence so the logic "there will be one left word to use the dative" is just wrong. – Eller Sep 12 '17 at 10:27
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    You have to look up the verbs zeigen and schaden to see what kind of object they take, you cannot deduce that. – Carsten S Sep 12 '17 at 10:28
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    You cannot ask with "what" in the second sentence. 1. "What" is not a German word. 2. You have to look in your dictionary the verb "schaden" and with which cases it is used. – Eller Sep 12 '17 at 10:28
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The ruler of each sentence is the verb (here: zeigen and schaden). Every verb needs some mandatory complements, and most verbs also accept some optional complements.

One complement, that every verbs needs, is the subject. (There are exceptions, but they are very rare.) All other complements are objects.

Every verb defines on its own which object it needs. Verbs with similar meanings (like verbs of movement for example: gehen, schwimmen, fliegen, laufen) very often needs the same classes of objects, but its still the verbs who define this classes

The verb zeigen (to show) needs three mandatory complements (same numbers identify same parts of speech):

Jemand1 zeigt jemandem2 etwas3
(Somebody1 shows something3 to_somebody2)

Der_Makler1 zeigt dem_Kunden2 das_Haus3

  • jemand1 (somebody1)
    This is the subject. Who is showing?
    Becasue it is the subject, it has to stand in nominative case
  • jemandem2 (to somebody2)
    This is another mandatory complement. It tells us to whom something is shown. In German this part of speech has to stand in dative case, because the verb zeigen needs the information "to whom?" in a dative object.
  • etwas3 (something3)
    What is shown? The verb zeigen needs this information "what?" in an accusative object.

The Verb schaden (to harm) is a little bit simpler, it needs only two mandatory complements:

Jemand1 schadet jemandem2
(Somebody1 harms somebody2)

Die_Säure1 schadet dem_Haus2

  • jemand1 (somebody1)
    This is the subject. Who is harming?
    Becasue it is the subject, it has to stand in nominative case
  • jemandem2 (somebody2)
    This is another mandatory complement. It tells us who is harmed. In German this part of speech has to stand in dative case, because the verb schaden needs the information "who is harmed?" in a dative object.

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