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I have this sentence in my workbook:

Ihre Arbeit versteht sie sehr gut.

Shouldn't it be the following?

Ihrer Arbeit versteht sie sehr gut.

To me it appears as the third case – dative.

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    Could you explain why do you expect dative? – c.p. Mar 18 at 21:32
  • Btw, the order of the cases may vary a little bit. I learned them ordered as nominativ, accusativ, genitiv und dativ. It was so roughly until the middle 90s. Since then, I find N-A-D-G ordering everywhere; it might root also in that genitiv shows a decreasing tendency with the decades. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Mar 19 at 3:43
  • I was confused by my language. We use dativ in this case. – John Ronald Mar 19 at 9:56
  • @JohnRonald In which language, if you don't mind to tell, is to understand dative? – c.p. Mar 19 at 19:23
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    As a general rule, verbs with the prefix ver- almost always require the accusative. Of course, sometimes there can be a dative object too. – RHa Mar 22 at 21:46
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The verb verstehen, irrespective of the particular denotation, requires the accusative. For example:

  • Sie versteht ihr Handeln. (singular neuter)
  • Sie versteht ihren Job. (singular male)
  • Sie versteht ihre Arbeit. (singular female)
  • Sie versteht ihre Aufgaben. (plural)
  • Verstehen Sie mich?

Using the dative would be wrong. Thus, the sentence

Ihre Arbeit versteht sie sehr gut.

is correct.

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"Ihre Arbeit" is here the object. Here we have an object-verb-subject ordering.

Objects are in accusative (mostly).

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    German has accusative, dative and genitive objects. (Maybe also nominative objects, depending on the definition of object.) – David Vogt Mar 19 at 7:27
  • This answer is correct for the given case in the question. But you should remove that "always" as David Vogt mentions. – äüö Mar 19 at 9:28
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    @äüö I did it.. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Mar 19 at 9:46
  • @DavidVogt Can you show me an example sentence where the object is not in accusative? – peterh - Reinstate Monica Mar 19 at 9:46
  • "Ihrer Arbeit ist sie sich sicher." is such an example for genitive, "Bei ihrer Arbeit ist sie sich sicher" is an example for dative. The demanded grammar case depends on the verb in combination with the used preposition. See for instance german.stackexchange.com/questions/5550/… – äüö Mar 19 at 9:57
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I am not at ease with:

Ihre Arbeit versteht sie sehr gut.

This goes back to the fixed expression:

sein Handwerk verstehen

But the meaning of verstehen is slightly different. In the second case, there might be more muscle memory than comprehension. But that has not much to do with the case.

Von ihrer Arbeit versteht sie viel!

This is with dativ, but also a von. This is a positive, idiomatic expression, no matter if it is etwas or sehr viel.


Ihrer Arbeit ist sie sich sicher.

This is with dativ: to be sure of/about sth.

And also this under-standing:

Ihrer Arbeit ist sie untergestellt.

(she is put below her work)

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  • 3
    This does not answer the question. – David Vogt Mar 19 at 7:27

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