2

In the sentence:

Kannst du den neuen Kollegen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

Why "den Besprechungsraum" has to be "ihn" in akkusativ and not "ihm" in dativ?

Kannst du ihn den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

Is this ever correct?

What about:

Kannst du ihm den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

Considering the pronoun should be in Dativ.

  • 1
    Why do you want to replace a noun in accusative case with a pronoun in dative case? – Arsak May 3 at 5:04
  • Thnank you, but I don't. I read this "ihn" in Menschen book series. As said in grammar books, when there is a pronoun and then a name, the pronoun should be in dativ. So I think that's a mistype and it should have been "ihm." – Tahmoores May 3 at 5:22
  • 1
    could you please quote this rule from your grammar book about pronouns, names and the dative case? There seems to be a misconception ... – Arsak May 3 at 5:30
  • Menschen A2.2 P.19 and german.stackexchange.com/questions/17996/… where in the answer explains "Ich schenke ihr einen Hut. Ich schenke ihr diesen Hut." – Tahmoores May 3 at 5:34
  • 1
    Both are possible: "Kannst du ihn dem ..." and "Kannst du ihm den ...", but they don't mean the same thing. In the first case, you show something or someone to the new colleague. in the other, you show the new colleague to someone, i.e. the other way around. – Rudy Velthuis May 5 at 22:53
10

"Zeigen" in your example has two objects:
"den Besprechungsraum" singular, accusative: what to show
"den neuen Kollegen" plural, dative: whom to show it
so "ihn" again is accusative singular, standing for "den Besprechungsraum"

if you want to use the pronoun in dative case, you replace "den neuen Kollegen" with the plural form "ihnen" and get:

Kannst du ihnen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

your third example can be correct, but only if used for a different situation: "den neuen Kollegen" is singular accusative, "ihm" (dative, singular) mentions another, as yet unnamed colleague: It is asking to show the single new colleague to this other person

Edit, thanks to other answers & comments:
The pronoun always comes first. Two full objects may swap position, because in German they are disambiguated by case. It is just common to have the more important object in first place.

4

Kannst du den neuen Kollegen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

"The meeting room will be shown to the new team mates". This sentence is right because "den neuen Kollegen" is Plural Dativ of "die neuen Kollegen". You may have mixed up that with "dem neuen Kollegen" which is Singular Dativ of "der neue Kollege". If you change "den" to "dem", you will change the content to "the meeting room will be shown to the new team mate".

Kannst du ihm den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

This sentence is also right. The new team mate will be shown to him. If you replace "ihm" with "ihn" the content change to "he will be shown to the new team mates".
This is a good example how important grammar cases are in German because you do not have a fixed word order like SPO in English.

  • 2
    I had to upvote, because your answer is as good as mine. And now I have enough reputation to comment ;-) – Bobby J May 3 at 7:49
4

All possible answers for word-order when replacing pronouns in "Kannst du den neuen Kollegen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?" in English meaning "Can you show the briefing room to the new colleagues?" :

  1. Kannst du ihnen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

  2. Kannst du ihn den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

  3. Kannst du ihn ihnen zeigen?

On why all theses possibilities are right and using "ihm" is wrong:

"ihm" is the third person singular dativ pronoun meaning "to/for him" in English, while "den Besprechungsraum" in the main sentence is an akkusativ noun and can only be replaced by a personal akkusativ pronoun which is "ihn" for third person singular maskulin.

  1. Kannst du ihn den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

Although "den Besprechungsraum" is maskulin for "der Besprechungsraum" in nominativ, here we are showing the room to the people, not the other way around! (showing people to the room [as if room is a person!])

The only word order alteration in the sentence is for Nummer 2. and 3. where akkusativ pronoun comes first.

  1. Kannst du ihn den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

  2. Kannst du ihn ihnen zeigen?

Only Nummer 1. keeps the main sentence word order when using the dativ personal pronoun; from "den neuen Kollegen" to "ihnen" dativ third person plural.

  1. Kannst du ihnen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

USEFUL UPDATE

As also answered on this topic (I completely quote the answer):

The object "den Kollegen" is dative plural. Hence, the other object "den Besprechungsraum"/"ihn" must be accusative. You can see it better in singular:

  • Kannst du dem Kollegen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

  • Kannst du ihm den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

  • Kannst du ihn dem Kollegen zeigen?

  • Kannst du ihn ihm zeigen? (added to the quote)

As you can see, if there's a pronoun it always comes first, independant of the case.

  • 1
    Good that you found the solution - now include the why for the benefit of future readers and it’ll be a better answer. (Assume the comments under your question will be removed soon.) As for all new users, I recommend you take the tour and browse through our help center, especially How to Ask and How to Answer to learn more about how the site works. Welcome ‘ – Stephie May 3 at 6:24
  • Note, because of the grammar cases it is possible to exchange the order from e.g. "Kannst du dem Kollegen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?" to "Kannst du den Besprechungsraum dem Kollegen zeigen?" and you still understand the message. – äüö May 3 at 8:06
2

Just a little Input:
Interestingly enough, without context all those sentences are gramatically correct, but may not express what you're trying to say:

Kannst du den neuen Kollegen den Besprechungsraum zeigen?

"Could you show the meeting room to the new team mates?"
Note: Dativ Plural and Akkusativ Singular both use the pronoun "den"

Kannst du ihn(der Besprechungsraum) den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

"Could you show it to them?"

Kannst du ihm(a person you talked about) den neuen Kollegen zeigen?

"Could you show him the new team mate?"

And for completness:

Kannst du ihn(der Besprechungsraum) dem neuen Kollegen zeigen?

"Could you show it to the new team mate?"

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.