Cases – Nominative, Accusative & Dative

In German, the word for ‘the’ and ‘a / an’ changes depending on the position of the noun in the sentence. 

  • Row 1:  If the noun is at the beginning of the sentence and comes before the verb you use the word for ‘the’ or ‘a / an’ from Row 1 (nominative).  This is because the noun is the subject of the sentence, i.e. it is the thing that ‘does’ the action of the verb (it is part of the snap pair).

 

  • Row 2:  If the noun is in the second part of the sentence after the verb you use the word for ‘the’ or ‘a / an’ from Row 2 (accusative).  This is because the noun is the object of the sentence.  The only exception to this is if you use the verb ‘sein’ – to be or ‘heissen’ – to be called.
    • *We also use Row 2 if the noun comes directly after the following prepositions:
      • bis – until, to, by
      • durch – through, by
      • entlang – along, down
      • für – for
      • gegen – against, for
      • ohne – without
      • um – around, for, at (time)

cases

  • Row 3 is called the Dative Case and is used when the noun comes after the following prepositions:
    • aus – from, out of
    • außer – except for
    • bei – at, near
    • gegenüber –  opposite
    • mit – with
    • nach – after, to
    • seit – since (time), for
    •   von – from
    • zu – at, to

The following prepositions are a little complicated. 

You use Row 2 after them if there is movement from one place to another – e.g. Ich gehe ins (in das) Kino – I go to the cinema.  (you are moving from outside the cinema to inside the cinema)

You use Row 3 after them if there is no movement from one place to another – e.g. Ich bin im (in dem) Kino – I am in the cinema.  (you are in the cinema and are not moving to a different place)

  •  
    • an – at, on
    • auf – on
    • hinter – behind
    • in – in
    • neben – next to
    • über – above, over
    • unter – under
    • vor – in front of
    • zwischen between
  •  

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June 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . accusative, dative, nominative, prepositions.

3 Comments

  1. Allen Beltran replied:

    If only more people would read this.

  2. Maxine le Roux replied:

    Simple: nominative is subject and accusative is direct object.
    This is great.

  3. Carol replied:

    This post is great. At the moment I am preparing for my German exam, so this is of real help for me. Thanks a lot!

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