I can't understand how "dem Jäger" in the sentence

Ein Schwarm Tauben war dem Jäger ins Netz gegangen.

has its form in that place. Probably a new grammar feature I don't know yet. I know the meaning of the sentence and can force my self understand the form.

I know It means

A flock of pigeons had entered the hunter's net.

but I guess the "dem Jäger ins Netz" can be more directly translated to or has the nuance of "to the hunter (Dative, to the delight of the hunter, or seen from the hunter, in the hunter's case) into the net"

Having said that, It reminds me of the use of "mir" in the sentence

Der Hut flog mir vom Kopfe.

Can anyone give me some more examples of this kind of usage (I mean like "dem Jäger")? This is a peculiar way of saying things in German and I find it interesting.

  • You have correctly stated that Dative is in use here. So I am puzzled, what exactly your question is. Is it the usage of dative in general?
    – Arsak
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 11:23
  • Maybe I have mastered the usage now while asking this question. From my head => mir vom Kopfe. Into the hunter's net => dem Jäger ins Netz.!
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 11:27
  • Your latest observation is wrong. Das Wild ging dem Jäger ins Netz means The game went into the net, it did something to the hunter. (it made him successful.) In contrary, into the hunter's net is ins Netz des Jägers in German.
    – Janka
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 14:08
  • @Janka I know what it means. When I said hinter's net, I meant probably the net is of the hunters. I now understand the net can be of someone else rigorously speaking.
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


This is a construction, that doesn't exist in English, but it is very common in German.

When you say

A flock of pigeons had entered the hunter's net.

then you say, that the net belongs to the hunter. You say explicitly that it is his net. But this is not what the German construction says. In fact, it is very likely, that the net is a property of the hunter, but it also could by any others net.

The dative constructions is a way to express, that the hunter is receiving the result of what happened with the pigeons and the net. He is the beneficiary of the net. The net itself might belong to anybody else.

It is the same construction as in

Der Hut flog mir vom Kopfe.

It is very likely, that it was my hat that was blown off my head, but this is not what this sentence says. Here the dative case tells us who's head it was from where the hat was blown off. So again, in the figurative sense, the dative case tells us about a person which is receiving something. The person is receiving the wind's theft of the hat.

  • +1, excellent explanation.
    – Janka
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 14:15

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