The sentences are:

  1. Eltern sollten ihren Kindern helfen.Dativ
  2. Kinder sollten ihre Eltern ernst nehmen. Akkusativ

1 Answer 1


The question seems to be based on a wrong assumption: not only subject and object are switched, but also the verb is changed from jmdm. helfen to jmdn. ernst nehmen.

If the verb wasn't changed, the case of the object would indeed remain the same:

(1) Eltern sollten ihren Kindern helfen. [Dativ]

(1') Kinder sollten ihren Eltern helfen. [Dativ]

(2) Kinder sollten ihre Eltern ernst nehmen. [Akkusativ]

(2') Eltern sollten ihre Kinder ernst nehmen. [Akkusativ]

  • @Sandy Reisoglu: There are a verbs where the English version is transitive but the German takes a dative object, and helfen is one of them. This can be confusing to learners if they're under the impression that German verbs always follow the pattern of English. Some common verbs of this type (dative verbs) are helfen: Hilfst du mir?, gefallen: Gefällt dir dieser Rock?, and fehlen, Fehlt dir etwas? There's no real rule here, you just have to memorize that the verb has this property when you learn it.
    – RDBury
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 19:03

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