Look at the example and find three nouns. Which of these three nouns is a subject (the person who makes an action), an object (a person or a thing which others make actions with) and an addressee (the person who receives something).
Of course, you are right:
- Michael is the subject (he makes an action)
- Tamara is the addressee (she receives the flowers)
- Flowers are the object (they don’t do anything, but they are given by Michael)
So the rule says – if there is an addressee (the person we give something to, we say something to, we promise, explain, recommend, tell or advise), they should be in the dative case. Which means we have to change the ending of the word to the dative case.
The dative endings for masculine and neuter nouns are -у or -ю. Feminine nouns have the endings -е or -и in the dative case. And the ending for plural nouns is -ам or -ям. And if a masculine noun ends like feminine with the -а or -я (Usually it happens with animated nouns or male names), it is changed like feminine nouns: Я сказал это папе – I said it to my dad.
- Я сказал другу – I said it to my friend
- Я дал слово маме – I gave a word to my mother
- Я позвонил друзьям – I called my friends
- Я рассказал всё Марии – I told everything Maria
- Мы подарили подарок директору – We gave a gift to the director
Thanks to cases you can change the order of words in a sentence and it will be always clear who /what subject, who/what object and who/what the addressee is. For example these 4 sentences mean the same (I said the truth to my friend):
1. Я сказал правду другу.
2. Я другу сказал правду.
3. Правду я другу сказал.
4. Другу сказал я правду.
I also recommend you to learn some verbs that always need an addressee. Which means you always have to use the dative case with them:
- говорить – to say, to speak
- рассказывать – to tell
- дать – to give
- дарить – to give a gift, to make a present
- рекомендовать – to recommend
- советовать – to advise
- звонить – to call
- обещать – to promise
- помогать – to help
- объяснять – to explain
- отвечать – to answer
- желать – to wish
- показывать – to show
If you feel that you are ready to learn all the other situations when you have to use the dative case (besides «the addressee» situation) visit here.