The order of dative and accusative in a sentence

2018-06-19 09:59:57

Ich kann dir das nicht verraten.

I'm given to understand that if the subject in the accusative case is a pronoun, (as in the sentence above?) it precedes the dative case. Otherwise, the dative comes first.

Is this a grammatical rule that must be followed or just some sort of a trend?

Is

Ich kann das dir nicht verraten

just as grammatically correct and understandable?

Why or why not?

You already stated the rule: The dative object precedes the accusative object (not subject), except if the accusative object is a personal pronoun. In this case the pronoun goes first.

So:

Ich verrate dem Anwalt ein Geheimnis.

Ich verrate ihm das.

(Because the demonstrative pronoun is usually emphasized, it would often be at position 1: Das verrate ich ihm.)

but:

Ich verrate es dem Anwalt.

If both the dative and accusative object is a personal pronoun, accusative goes first:

Ich verrate es ihm.

But in most cases the order can be changed for emphasis. For exa

  • You already stated the rule: The dative object precedes the accusative object (not subject), except if the accusative object is a personal pronoun. In this case the pronoun goes first.

    So:

    Ich verrate dem Anwalt ein Geheimnis.

    Ich verrate ihm das.

    (Because the demonstrative pronoun is usually emphasized, it would often be at position 1: Das verrate ich ihm.)

    but:

    Ich verrate es dem Anwalt.

    If both the dative and accusative object is a personal pronoun, accusative goes first:

    Ich verrate es ihm.

    But in most cases the order can be changed for emphasis. For example, one can say:

    Ich verrate das Geheimnis dem Anwalt.

    but only if you want to put emphasis on whom you are telling the secret. Otherweise, the sentence would sound odd.

    2018-06-19 10:06:33