Is there any preference to using "Schönes Wochenende" or "Schönen Wochenende" as a parting statement? Are they both allowed, or is there a preference for one over the other? Different people have told me that one or the other is OK, but that the other is wrong. This leaves me highly confused, and I often find myself going back and forth between the two.
Yes, they are both grammatically allowed in the right context, and there is a difference between them regarding the use of the neuter "[das] Wochenende".
"Schönes Wochenende" is singular Nominative or Accusative, like "[ein] schönes Wochenende".
"Schönen Wochenende" is singular Dative or Genitive, and you'd probably attach a definite article or prepositional phrase to it like "dem/des/am schönen Wochenende".
If, for example, you want to wish a friend a nice weekend, you would say, "Schönes Wochenende!" as if to say "Ich wünsche dir ein schönes Wochenende!"
While being German my Grammar is a bit rusty if put to real test, however, in a parting statement you never say "schönen Wochenende".
You would only use "schönen Wochenende" in a descriptive context, like - on a nice weekened we could go for a picknick - "An einem schönen Wochenende könnten wir...".
Generally accepted on parting, casual "Schönes Wochenende!" or more formal "Ich wünsche Dir/Ihnen ein schönes Wochenende".
As "Kevin" wrote in his answer it depends on the case (dative or accussative).
as a parting statement? Are they both allowed ... ?
Used as parting or greeting statement ...
- ... "Schönes Wochendene!" is correct and ...
- ... "Schönen Wochendene!" is wrong.
The reason is the following one:
Greeting statements (such as "Good morning") are a short form of a sentence containing the verb "to wish" ("I wish you a good morning.").
The German language has the speciality that parts in a sentence may be exchanged (with some limitations) without changing the meaning of the sentence. This is not possible in English:
The boss wishes the employee a nice weekend.
The employee wishes the boss a nice weekend.
A nice weekend wishes the boss the employee.
The three examples do not have the same meaning and the third one even does not makes any sense. In German language however the three sentence do have the same meaning.
To be able to see who is doing what there are so-called "cases". "Cases" are more or less "just" endings of words that indicate what is the subject ("the boss"), what is the first object ("the employee") and what is the second object ("a nice weekend") in a sentence.
So in German language it is not the position in a sentence which decides what is the subject and what is the object but the ending of the word.
In conjunction with the word "wünschen" (to wish) the "second object" has the "accusative" case which means that the word ending is "ein schönes Wochenende" and not "einem schönen Wochenende" (which would be the correct ending for the "first object" - "the emoployee").
Of course there are other sentences using another verb than "to wish" where "a nice weekend" is the so-called "dative object". In such sentences "einem schönen Wochenende" would be correct:
Wir verdanken den Besucheransturm einem schönen Wochenende.
Unfortunately in German language all nouns are either male, female or neuter. (Similar to Spanish or French where all nouns are either male or female.) For all three genders the word endings differ!
For a male word the accusative ending would be "einen schönen Tag".
For this reason the parting statement ...
- "Schönen Tag!" would be correct while ...
- "Schönen Wochenende!" would be wrong.