Why is dative in this sentence being used here?

Dort saßen bereits fünf Jungs auf abgewetzten Sofas, alle barfuß und in kurzen Hosen. Drei von ihnen hatten Gitarren auf dem Schoß, aber nur einer spielte.

I thought that with »haben« one would use accusative.

  • Noun declension table. – Dan Oct 12 '19 at 5:40
  • Feminine plural column, to be exact. – Dan Oct 12 '19 at 5:54
  • Not everything that governs a case is a verb. The "dem" belongs to "Schoß", which is governed by "auf", which is a preposition. "haben" doesn't enter into it. – Kilian Foth Oct 12 '19 at 10:32

Let's analyze that sentence.

Drei von ihnen hatten Gitarren auf dem Schoß.

  • Drei von ihnen – topic, subject, nominative, including a preposition+dative determiner von ihnen
  • hatten – finite verb, preterite 3rd person plural of haben
  • Gitarren – accusative object to haben
  • auf dem Schoß – adverbial of place, preposition+dative

What dative? "Gitarren" as the object of "hatten" is accusative.

  • Please visit the help center, so you are informed and can profit the community more and profit from it, too. – Dan Oct 12 '19 at 6:30

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