70 Prozent der Berliner Haushalte könnte der Strom abgestellt werden.

Abstellen is a verb with a accusative object which is der Strom in this case (in this sentence the subject since it is a passive sentence), in this case is 70 Prozent der Haushalte the dative objekt in this sentence? If yes how does this work?

2 Answers 2


While you are right, I don't understand, what you mean by how does it work?

The only difficulty I see is, that the dative can't be easily recognized as such due to a lack of an article or adjective ending, which becomes easier if we switch the object to

Dir könnte der Strom abgestellt werden.

You could similarly state

70 Prozent der Haushalte haben höchstens 3 Personen.

where a nominative takes the same position in the sentence. So, as you notice, there is no alternative to looking at the verb and consider, which objects in which cases it takes.


In German, many verbs allow adding a dative (as an object or modifier), with the dative having one of several predictable meanings (which are sometimes hard to distinguish).

Sie haben ihm den Strom abgestellt.

This seems to be a Dativus incommodi: they turned off the power to his detriment.


Sie hat mir eine Suppe gekocht.
She made me some soup. (dativus commodi: the soup is for my benefit)

Also quite frequent is the so-called Pertinenzdativ, which expresses the idea of appertaining, being connected to, belonging.

Mir tun die Knie weh.
My knees hurt. (the knees belong to me)

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