There is no difference between

dass Alice die neue Aufgabe wirklich liegt


dass die neue Aufgabe Alice wirklich liegt

From what grammatical point is this reasoning backed up? Is this a type of dative case with names?

Why not to say dass die neue Aufgabe wirklich zu ihr liegt, instead?

  • 1
    German doesn't express cases with prepositions, as English has to. Instead it has (some) word endings, and therefore does without external case indicators - even when the word in question doesn't actually change form, as in this example. Dec 9, 2021 at 8:08
  • 1
    @KilianFoth: Please do not use the comment function to post answers. See german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1407/… Dec 10, 2021 at 14:00
  • Please turn your comments into answers. The comments are going to be deleted. Dec 10, 2021 at 15:22
  • @HubertSchölnast: I disagree in respect to Kilians comment here: even if the comment has some answer-quality it does not even attempt to address any subquestion.
    – guidot
    Dec 10, 2021 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


The situation is:

  • word order is flexible in German sentence structure, and both given variants are mostly equivalent (you may look at other questions tagged word-order for further insights)
  • in absence of a contradicting rule, there is no reason to rule out one of the variants
  • one can argue, that the first mentioned object (from Aufgabe and Alice) gets some emphasis, or that it depends on context. If you were discussiong other tasks before, Aufgabe would put naturally to first position and vice versa if you talked about Alice earlier
  • no dependency on names here, it would be the same for other substantives
  • as commented, zu ihr liegen would not be understood. Liegen being an intransitive verb, it does not combine well with zu.
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    I would call liegen a dative verb here since it takes a dative object but no accusative object. English sometimes uses "to" to distinguish between dative and accusative objects, which can be confusing for learners since the corresponding "zu" is never used for that in German. The fact that Alice is a name means it does not use an article and that makes it difficult to determine the case. Here you can tell because liegen a dative verb and the nominative slot is already used by Aufgabe; a dative Aufgabe would require der.
    – RDBury
    Dec 9, 2021 at 2:18

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