German Cases

If you're trying to learn German Cases you will find some useful resources including a course about the nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive cases... to help you with your German grammar. Try to concentrate on the lesson and notice the pattern that occurs each time the word changes its place. Also don't forget to check the rest of our other lessons listed on Learn German. Enjoy the rest of the lesson!


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German Cases

The concept of “cases” in German can be very tricky because other languages might not have them.

 

German has four cases which help to understand the relationship between words in a sentence.


Cases can change the articles of the nouns as well as the endings of nouns and adjectives.

 

Here are the 4 German cases:

  1. the Nominative
    refers to the subject of a sentence (thing or person carrying out an action)
  2. the Genitive
    indicates possession (someone owns something, something belongs to someone)
  3. the Dative
    refers to the indirect object of a sentence (the thing or person to whom something is being done)
  4. the Accusative
    refers to the direct object of a sentence (thing or person affected by the verb)

 

Case

Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Plural

Nominative

der Mann

ein Mann

die Frau

eine Frau

das Kind

ein Kind

die Männer, die Frauen, die Kinder
-

Genitive

des Mannes

eines Mannes

der Frau

einer Frau

des Kindes

eines Kindes

der Männer, der Frauen, der Kinder
-

Dative

dem Mann

einem Mann

der Frau

einer Frau

dem Kind

einem Kind

der Männer, der Frauen, der Kinder
-

Accusative

den Mann

einen Mann

die Frau

eine Frau

das Kind

ein Kind

die Männer, die Frauen, die Kinder
-

 

 

Examples:

 

1. The Nominative


Der Mann
liest das Buch.                              Das Mädchen ist sehr freundlich.
Die Frau streichelt den Hund.                       Der Unterricht beginnt um 8 Uhr.
Das Kind kauft den Kuchen.                         Die Torte schmeckt lecker.

In order to define the Nominative of a sentence, ask the following question:

Who or what is doing something? Wer oder was tut etwas?


2. The Genitive


Das ist die Freundin meines Bruders. (That is my brother’s (girl)friend.)
Das Auto meiner Schwester ist grün. (My sister’s car is green.)

The Genitive is also used after the following prepositions:
trotz, während, wegen, auβerhalb, innterhalb, statt.

In order to define the Genitive of a sentence, ask the following question:

Whose? Wessen?

 

3. The Dative


Ich schenke meiner Frau ein Auto. ( I am giving a car to my wife as a present.)
Sie zeigte ihren Eltern ein Foto. (She show
ed her parents a photo.)

The Dative is also used after the following prepositions:
mit, nach, bei, von, zu, aus, seit, gegenüber, an, auf, über, unter, vor zwischen, hinter, in, neben.

In order to define the Dative of a sentence, ask the following question:
Whom?
Wem?

 

4. The Accusative

Der Mann liest das Buch/ein Buch.                           Ich kaufe ein Auto.
Die Frau streichelt den Hund/ einen Hund.              Er isst einen Apfel.
Das Kind kauft den Kuchen/ einen Kuchen.           Sie wirft den Ball.


The Accusative is also used after the following prepositions:
an, auf, hinter, in, neben, zwischen, vor unter, über (movement)
bis, durch, gegen, ohne, wider, um, entlang, für.


In order to define the Accusative of a sentence, ask the following question:
Who or what is something being done to? Who or what is affected by the verb?
Wen? Was?

The German cases such as Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative have a very important role in German. Once you're done with German Cases, you might want to check the rest of our German lessons here: Learn German. Don't forget to bookmark this page.


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