5

I don't understand why dative case is used here rather than genitive case:

Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen den Männern die Krawatten abschneiden, als Symbol der Macht.

Shouldn't it be:

Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen die Krawatten der Männer abschneiden, als Symbol der Macht.

5

The replacement of the genitive through the dative has been and still is a highly debated matter in terms of prescriptivism (i.e. what is "correct" and what people should say or avoid). This relates to cases in which a preposition that canonically used to license the genitive has become more and more entrenched with the dative in colloquial speech:

1) Ich rufe an wegen EINES TerminS (Gen.) 2) Ich rufe an wegen EINEM Termin (Dat.)

The case you quote, however, has nothing to to with this phenomenon. In fact, in your examples we are dealing with two different constructions neither of which is formal or informal.

In: "Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen die Krawatten der Männer abschneiden" you are only specifying whose ties the women are cutting.

In: "Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen den Männern die Krawatten abschneiden, als Symbol der Macht" "den Männern" emphasizes that the possessor is being affected (in this case negatively) by the action at issue. In terms of semantic roles, the dative encodes a "Maleficiary". The possessive pronoun is usually omitted because it can be inferred, but in some dialects it can also be realised: "ihren Krawatten".

Another example of this construction would be:

"Ich wasche meinem Vater das Auto"

In this case, the dative encodes someone who is positively affected by the action, i.e. a Beneficiary in terms of semantic roles.

| improve this answer | |
  • So in my example, is it just the emphasis that I want to put with these two grammatical cases? – Steve Feb 12 at 16:55
  • Yes, but bear in mind that this option is only reserved to possession and implies a possessor and a possessed item. – Nico Feb 12 at 16:56
  • 2
    Note that the dative (being subjected to an act) in this case also hints to the fact that the ties are being cut while the men are wearing them. Without the dative, the sentence might just as well refer to ties lying in the drawer. – Victor Mataré Feb 12 at 23:37
4

Usually the most important thing comes first. In the first version

Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen den Männern ... , als Symbol der Macht.

it's clear that the sentence is about what women do to men (as a symbol of power). What do they do to them? They cut their ties off.

One would use the second version

Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen die Krawatten der Männer abschneiden, als Symbol der Macht.

rather to stress that it's the ties being cut off (not the arms or legs or sth.).

| improve this answer | |
0

Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen den Männern die Krawatten abschneiden.

The part die Krawatten is the accusative object to abschneiden, and den Männern is the dative object. Dative noun objects typically come before accusative noun objects.

Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen die Krawatten der Männer abschneiden.

The part die Krawatten is the accusative object to abschneiden, and der Männer is a genitive supplement to this accusative object. There is no dative object in this sentence.

You may even combine both

Es ist Tradition, dass die Frauen der Firma den Männern derselben die Krawatten ihrer Bürouniform abschneiden, damit die mal endlich lockerer werden.

  • die Frauen — subject
  • der Firma — genitive supplement to the subject
  • den Männern — dative object
  • derselben — genitive supplement to the dative object
  • die Krawatten — accusative object
  • ihrer Bürouniform — genitive supplement to the accusative object
| improve this answer | |
  • This is not a reply to the question, which did not ask for segmenting and classifying the components of the sentence. – Nico Feb 12 at 18:21
-1

Both ways are possible and correct, but the dative version is the more colloquial one. Some germans dislike the genitive, because to them it sounds gestelzt (stilted), but in general people don't mind either way.

| improve this answer | |
  • Can I use dative like this in formal writing such as in the exam? – Steve Feb 12 at 10:17
  • Yes you can, the use of the dative is widely accepted in germany – Ant Feb 12 at 10:53

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.