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Someone sent me a good meme the other day helping to explain Wechselpräpositionen. It goes as follows

"Schatz! Knall mich auf den Tisch." Jetzt hat sie zwar Kopfschmerzen, aber dafür den Unterschied von Dativ und Akkusativ begriffen.

I'm aware that the dafür sort of refers back to the entire first sentence, but it's still confusing me regardless. I can kind of read it as "she has a headache, but the reason for the headache, is the difference between the accusative and the dative concepts/terms.

Any insight or other examples would be welcome.


OK I think i've had a penny drop moment. I was confused thinking that begriffen was the noun "terms" or "concepts" but now reading it as the verb "to grasp something" it all just makes more sense. "now she's got a headache, but for this, she's understood the difference between accusative and dative".

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"Dafür" basically means "for something" or "for this". It can be used in several ways:

To express an aim or a goal:

Er hat sich ein neues Auto gekauft. Dafür hatte er lange gespart.

He just bought a new car. For this, he had saved up a long time.

To express regard to something.

Sie lernt erst seit kurzem Deutsch. Dafür versteht sie schon viel.

She's studying German only for a short time. With regard to that, she already understands a lot.

To express some kind of exchange, compensation or return

Er kann heute nicht kommen. Aber dafür arbeitet er morgen länger.

He can't come in today. But in exchange he'll work longer tomorrow.

plus other variations.

In your (quite naughty ;) ) example, it's the last version I mentioned.

Jetzt hat sie zwar Kopfschmerzen, aber dafür den Unterschied von Dativ und Akkusativ begriffen.

could be translated as

Now she's got a headache, but in exchange she's grasped the difference between dative and accusative.

Just in case anybody doesn't get the joke: The woman in the example meant to say "Bang me on the table", but said "Bang me onto the table"...

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  • Ah this makes a lot more sense. I like to think I have a decent grasp on da words at this point (I've been learning for 10 months or so) but these sort of uses seem to confuse me. So instead of the "for this reason...." explanation, its more so "She got a headsake, but for this, she understood the difference between accusative and dative". Jun 6 at 10:03
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The meaning in this case is that while she has a headache (negative effect), she has learned the difference between dative and accusative (positive effect). It is more about compensation, like you spend some money, but get something in return.

It is not about the reason, although you can argue that the former ignorance is the reason for the headache.

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