I tried to understand the classification of German verbs into accusative, dative, transitive, and intransitive ones, however, not I am not getting a clarity in their analogy.

My question is: What is their relationship? Are there any or some among the groups belonging to one or the others, partly or completely. For example, could you say that all transitive verbs are accusative or vice versa, and so with intransitive and dative?

  • 2
    I deleted the discussion in the comments because it was going around in circles. Everybody, please be nice. @Rtg: When you explain a concept to somebody (what you are asking for), it is almost always helpful to know what you already understood and where your problems are. Knowing what languages you know can be also very helpful to provide helpful analogies. If you do not want to provide these details, that’s fine, but please say so politely and be aware that you may get less useful answers. – Wrzlprmft Mar 27 at 19:35
  • Please everybody make yourself familiar with the purpose of comments on all Stack Exchange sites including us. Also learn why comments will fade away after an issue was resolved or after an issue could not be resolved in due time. – Takkat Mar 28 at 20:05

Your premise is wrong. There aren't just accusative and dative verbs in German. If you wanted to classify German verbs by the kind of objects they take, it's

  • verb + predicative – copulae: sein, werden, bleiben and a few more.

  • verb + genitive object – a few dozen verbs

  • verb + dative object - a hundred common verbs

  • verb + accusative object – a hundred common verbs

  • verb + accusative object + optional dative object – most verbs

  • verb + accusative object + optional genitive object – a dozen verbs

  • verb + accusative object + accusative object – a dozen verbs

By definition, German verbs are called transitive when they have at least one accusative object. That's different e.g. from English which calls a verb transitive if it has any kind of object besides the predicative. That is because English has fused all object cases into one.


Transitive verbs are verbs that express an activity "done to" something or somebody, i.e. affecting something or somebody.

Ich esse den Kuchen.

Intransitive verbs are verbs where such a relationship to an external object is not possible simply by the meaning of the verb:

Ich gehe.

You cannot say "Ich gehe dich" (accusative). You also cannot say "Ich gehe dir" (dative). Of course you can specify the gehen by prepositions: "Ich gehe zu dir." The case of the "dir" depends then on the preposition. "Zu" simply requires dative. Other prepositions require other cases. "Ich gehe in den Wald" (accusative). Still gehen is intransitive.

For the difference of the understanding of transitive in German and English grammar, see Janka's answer on this page.

  • You can say ich gehe dich, though: "Ich gehe dich [zur Tür begleiten]". The dich belongs transitively to the Zu-Infinitiv-Gruppe (from "ich begleite dich"), but that whole verbal phrase belongs to gehen. It's just debatable whether that should be in turn transitive or an auxiliary construction. – vectory Mar 27 at 17:07

I' m also learning german, so I will try the best I can.

Akkusativ and Dativ are not really classifications. They are one of those conjugations of verb. They are two kinds of verb:

  • "stark" which is irregular
  • "schwach" which is regular

And akkussativ and dativ are one of conjugations which are

  1. Nominativ
  2. Akkusativ
  3. Dativ
  4. Genetiv

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.