Grammatical Cases in German

Grammatische Fälle in Deutsch

Introduction

Einführung

Cases describe the grammatical functions of nouns, pronouns and noun phrases, such as whether they are the subject of the clause or a subordinate object.

Nominative Case

Der Nominativ

The nominative case, also called the subjective, marks the subject of a phrase. The subject is the noun (or pronoun) that performs the action of the verb. For example, in the phrase "She helped him", the subject is "she", who performs the action of helping.

Accusative Case

Der Akkusativ

The accusative case deals with direct objects. In English for example, in the sentence "I drink coffee", the direct object is "coffee", and thus it is in the accusative case.

It is sometimes called the oblique case, especially when combined with the dative case.

Dative Case

Der Dativ

The dative case marks indirect objects, which are usually used with a preposition. For example in the phrase "talk to him", the direct object is "him" because it is the thing to which the action is given.

It is sometimes called the oblique case too, especially when combined with the accusative case.

Genitive Case

Der Genitiv

Also called the possessive case, the genitive case marks objects as pertaining or belonging to another object. For example, in the phrase "it is mine", the pronoun "mine" is in the genitive case.

Additional Reading

Zusatzlektüre

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