“mir” or “für mich” when to use the Dative or an Accusative Prepositional Phrase

The other day I was giving one of my German lessons on the run… literally running with my students. The advantages of combining language training and physical exercise are huge. Students combine things (multi-task if you will) and don’t have to worry bout sacrificing one form of self-improvement for an other. Secondly, the increased blood-flow to the brain, means they think faster and thus learn better. Also, because I can’t write and run and they can’t read and run, there are no crutches to lean on while learning. Simply put, learning is better on the run if you want to learn to speak.

We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/mir-or-fur-mich-when-to-use-the-dative-or-an-accusative-prepositional-phrase/



  1. Really great topic!!! I have been asked that question too but I never knew what to say :). Having read this, I thought about the difference for a while. To me, the accusative version “für mich” makes “me” (or any recipient for that matter) less integrated in the sentence. It is one additional information phrased as a prepositional phrase… we could add many more of that.

    – Mein Mann hat mit viel Liebe vor der Arbeit in der Küche ohne Rezept spontan ein Omlett für mich gekocht.

    The fact that “für mich” comes after Omlett is an indication that “für mich” is somewhat more important than the other prepositional phrases. However the structure (preposition + noun) is nothing special.
    It is like… you tell about the action of omlett making and then you think “Oh, and he did it for me.”
    This is different for the dative. “Mir” is the only dative or thing without preposition, and that makes it feel more integrated into the backbone of the phrase. We learn early on that the husband did something for me, and now we’ll find out what.
    In the other version we learn, that he did something somehow somewhere and then that he did it for me.

    In this sentence:

    – Das Buch ist mir zu schwer. vs Das Buch ist zu schwer für mich.

    To me the first version is a bit more of a personal subjective statement… kind of how I feel. The second one sounds a little more like an objective measurement of book-difficulty. But those are nuances and they might be different for others 🙂

    1. Completely agree. Thank you for that insightful comment. I will use that for sure next time I’m asked about it. I love the poetics of German.

  2. Hey! Thank you so much for the answer! Es war mir zu klar und einfach!!!

    1. Bitte bitte Ale. Danke nochmals für deine Frage.

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