1

Ich gebe meinem Vater das Zeugnis ab.

oder

Ich gebe das Zeugnis bei meinem Vater ab.

It seems both are correct. Which one is correct and why?

3

Ich gebe meinem Vater das Zeugnis (ab).

Ich gebe das Zeugnis bei meinem Vater ab.

Both are correct. If the verb action means passing something, you can be pretty sure it's possible (or even required) to use a dative object. It acts as the receiver of the accusative object then. It's one of the very few case functions in German with a simple usage rule. You can even extend this to verbs with a lonely dative object as

Ich helfe meinem Vater.

which you can think of as

Ich gebe meinem Vater Hilfe.

In both cases, meinem Vater is the receiver of help.

  • If the verb action means passing something, you can be pretty sure it's possible (or even required) to use a dative object I admit I didn't see this rule. But it is true: überlassen, hinterlassen, schenken, übergeben, aushändigen, verkaufen, and so on and so on. – jonathan.scholbach Feb 5 at 13:10
1

Yes, both are correct, but the first one is less correct in terms of style. ONe would rather say

Ich gebe das Zeugnis meinem Vater.

You cannot know this from a rule. There is no other way than learning the valences (i.e which objects in which cases a verb does accept) of a verb together with the meaning of the verb. It is part of the vocabulary, and I think there is no general rule which verb will accept which cases and which prepositions. Though, the prepositions themselves are rather stable in the case they demand.

Just as a side note: In your example, both bei meinem Vater and meinem Vater are dative (Dativ) case!

  • Well, geben is the archetype of verbs that take a dative object. The dative object often enough is the receiver of the accusative object, and geben obviously needs a receiver. – Janka Feb 5 at 8:21
  • @Janka: I'm not really sure, whether abgeben also asks for a dative object. All examples I found use bei, an or similar. – guidot Feb 5 at 9:13
  • @Janka Fair enough, since Dativ literally means the giving case". But anyway, I'd claim that you should better learn the cases for the verbs, since guessing might not lead to good results. – jonathan.scholbach Feb 5 at 13:07
  • @guidot Ich gebe dir etwas von meinem Essen ab. – jonathan.scholbach Feb 5 at 13:07
  • Thats the difference between meaning (a) and (d) of DWDS. I had assumed meaning a from the admittedly terse question. – guidot Feb 5 at 15:06

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