I am studying using the book "Klipp und Klar" and in the lesson fifteen about the dative case there is a sentence that I didn't understand. The sentence is:

Das Mädchen ist krank und den Frauen ist schlecht.

I realize that the part den Frauen is the dative, but is this right? To me this little part should stay in the nominative case, or when the und is used the things should stay in the dative.

  • 5
    The 'und' gives no hint at all as you can connect any two sentences with it. Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 22:16

4 Answers 4


The sentence is correct; the construction "jemandem ist schlecht" requires the dative case, meaning someone feels nauseated.

This is comparable to "jemandem ist warm/kalt/langweilig"; this also requires the dative case.

If you used the nominative case here, saying "jemand ist schlecht", this would shift the meaning to someone is bad (at something).

  • 1
    I wouldn't use "jemand ist schlecht" in the context of "someone is bad at something", but rather "someone is bad".
    – Jonas
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 19:54
  • Even though I agree that the special case of "jemand ist schlecht" can be misunderstood, I want to mention that "jemand" and "jemandem" are both valid dative cases of "jemand". Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 10:47

The fragment 'den Frauen ist schlecht' is dative plural, and to me is sounds like the women are ill or not feeling well - analogous to 'mir is schlecht' when you're not feeling well.


In this case "die Frauen" is the object because it actually means

Es ist den Frauen schlecht.

This kind of consruction is commonly used when expressing (subjective, usually negative) feeling e.g.:

Dem Mädchen ist schlecht.

Dem Kind ist langweilig.

Mir ist komisch/ übel/ nicht gut.


Both sentences may be connected by "und" or not but they run on different grammar: Das Mädchen ist krank. WER ist krank? Das Mädchen is the subject of the sentence, das kranke Mädchen. Now: Den Frauen ist schlecht. "WER ist schlecht? ES ist ihnen schlecht." WEM ist schlecht? Den Frauen ist schlecht, they are not feeling well. The non-personal usage of "Es ist..." indicates a condition so you can't say here, die schlechten Frauen. But: If you'd say the women are truly bad people, only then you'd say, "Die Frauen sind schlecht, die schlechten Frauen." Here you'd use the "ist" in a personal meaning which makes the women the subject then. The adjective terms "Das kranke Mädchen/die schlechten Frauen" are necessarily personal terms. Notice the different meanings in personal and non-personal usage !

  • There is no "es" in the sentence.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 15:34
  • Also note that while asking for the case may be helpful for native speakers, it is of very minor use for learners of the language - If you don't know why something is in a specific case, you most probably also won't know how to ask for it.
    – tofro
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 18:47
  • @Carsten: If there were no "es" there wouldn't be a subject then, thus there must be one ! No complete sentence without a subject. If you reshuffle the sentence into the standard order "Es ist den Frauen schlecht", the subject appears again. -
    – Palmozy
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 15:34
  • @tofro: It's just the other way around: Put up the question first, "Wer? Was? Wen?" etc., then scan the sentence for the proper answer to it. It doesn't matter at first time/place which case there is, just put up all the questions for each case so you will find the corresponding terms and cases.
    – Palmozy
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 15:38
  • @Palmozy, I usually try not to argue about differences between grammar systems when they come to the same conclusions about which sentences are grammatical, but I do not think that it is helpful to claim that German sentences need a subject and then to say that it is sometimes a formal “es” and then that that formal subject can disappear with some word orders. Easier to admit then some German sentences need no subject. german.stackexchange.com/a/38585/3237
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 15:50

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