Accusative case (4. Fall) in German
- 1.What is the accusative case in German?
- 1.1.How to identify the accusative noun in a sentence
- 2.Declension of the accusative case
- 2.1.Table of declension of the article and the noun in the accusative case
- 2.2.Table of personal pronouns in the accusative case
- 3.How do you use the accusative case in German?
- 3.1.As the direct object of the verb
- 3.2.With expressions of definite time and duration of time
- 3.3.With prepositions
- 3.4.With verbs of movement and contracted prepositions
- 3.5.With sentences in passive
What is the accusative case in German?
The accusative case is used as the direct object in the sentence and forms the answer to the questions:
Wen oder was? - who or what?
How to identify the accusative noun in a sentence
The accusative can be
- an object
- a person
- a pronoun
This table shows you some examples how to ask for the accusative case in German.
|Example||Question (Wen oder was?)||Answer|
|Ich kaufe ein Buch. - I buy a book.||Was kaufe ich? - What do I buy?||ein Buch - a book|
|Matteo trifft seine Freundin. - Matteo meets his girlfriend.||Wen trifft Matteo? - Who does Matteo meet?||seine Freundin - his girlfriend|
|Wir sehen ihn. - We see him.||Wenn sehen wir? - Who do we see?||ihn - him|
|Das Kind trinkt einen süßen Saft. - The child drinks a sweet juice.||Was trinkt das Kind? - What does the child drink?||einen süßen Saft - a sweet juice|
Declension of the accusative case
The nouns of the accusative case have a change in their endings compared to the nominative case. You can recognize the accusative by their articles and/or the adjectives prefixed, the gender and the number. Have also a look into the course of articles and adjectives.
Weak and mixed masculine nouns take the suffix -n /-en to the singular and plural accusative. This is also called the N-declension.
The substantivized verbs (the present and past participles) and adjectives take the suffix -n /-en to the singular and plural accusative because they behave like adjectives.
Table of declension of the article and the noun in the accusative case
In this table you can find several examples for the declension of noun and their articles in the different genders. In addition, there are some examples of adjectives that accompany a noun in the accusative case.
|With a definite article||den Mann||die Frau||das Kind||die Leute|
|With an indefinite article||einen Mann||eine Frau||ein Kind||Leute|
|With a definite article + adjective||den guten Mann||die schöne Frau||das junge Kind||die alten Leute|
|With an indefinite article + adjective||einen guten Mann||eine schöne Frau||ein junges Kind||alte Leute|
- den alten Mann - the old man
- die schöne Frau - the beautiful woman
- das junge Kind - the young child
- die alten Leute - the old people
Remember: there is no indefinite article in plural
Table of personal pronouns in the accusative case
In the accusative case you have to decline pronouns too. They are listed in this table.
|Type of person||Pronoun|
|First person singular||mich - me|
|Second person singular||dich - you|
|Third person singular||
ihn / sie / es - him/her/it
|First person plural||uns - us|
|Second person plural||euch - you|
|Third person plural||sie / Sie - them/you|
How do you use the accusative case in German?
The accusative case is used in several cases.
- As the direct Object of the verb
- With expressions of definite time and duration of time
- With prepositions
- With verbs of movement and contracted prepositions
- With sentence in passive
As the direct object of the verb
All transitive verbs support the direct object and for this reason are followed by the accusative.
- Martin kauft den Computer. - Martin buys the computer.
Sie trifft ihren Onkel einmal im Monat. - She meets her uncle once a month.
Ich lese ein lustiges Buch. - I read a funny book.
Morgen rufe ich dich an. - Tomorrow, I will call you.
- Ich brauche deine Hilfe. - I need your help.
With expressions of definite time and duration of time
Nominal groups that express the frequency of an activity or a time are always in the accusative case.
- Ich gehe jeden Monat ins Theater. - I go to the theater every month.
- Fliegen wir diesen Sommer nach Polen? - Are we going to fly to Poland in the summer?
- Die Reise hat eine Woche gedauert. - The trip lasted one week.
- Sophia isst jeden Tag Gemüse. - Sophia eats vegetables every day.
- Nächstes Jahr fahre ich nach Hamburg. - Next year I will go to Hamburg.
The accusative form is also used for a date. Here the article der is transformed to den.
- Köln, den 06.07.2018
There are some prepositions that always followed by the accusative case.
- bis - until
- für - for
- um - by/ for
- gegen - against
- durch - by/through
- entlang - along
- ohne - without
- wider - contrary/against
- Ich kaufe Blumen für meine Oma. - I buy flowers for my grandma.
- Ohne meinen Vater ist das Haus nicht mehr dasselbe. - Without my father, the house is no longer the same.
- Ich kämpfe gegen ihn. - I fight agains him.
- Der Zug fährt durch den Tunnel. - The train goes through the tunnel.
With verbs of movement and contracted prepositions
There are verbs that, depending on the action (whether it is static or a movement), govern the dative or the accusative case. The dative case is used when it comes to static verbs and the accusative case is used with movement.
Here is a list of verbs of movement:
- gehen - to go
- fahren - to drive
- fliegen - to fly
- sich setzen - to sit
- (auf)stehen - to stand (up)
- (sich) legen - to lay / to put
- (sich) stellen - to put / to set
- hängen - to hang
- stecken - to stick / to put
There are contracted prepostions that are used in the accusative case and also require a verb of movement. Contracted prepositions exists, when the preposition is followed by the definite article das. Let's have a look into this table of examples.
|in - to||
Der Student geht in die Schule. - The student goes to school.
Ich gehe ins (in + das) Fitnessstudio. - I am going to the gym.
|an - to/at||
Wir fahren ans (an + das) Meer dieses Wochenende. - We are going to the sea this weekend.
Wir stehen an der Bushaltestelle. - We are at the bus stop.
|auf - on||
Ich setze mich aufs (auf + das) Sofa. - I sit down on the sofa.
Ich lege das Buch auf den Tisch. - I put the book on the table.
|über - over||
Wir fahren über die Brücke. - We drive over the bridge.
Ich hänge die Lampe über den Tisch. - I hang the lamp over the table.
|unter - under||
Die Katze geht unter die Couch. - The cat is under the couch.
Der Löffel ist unter den Tisch gefallen. - The spoon fell under the table.
|hinter - behind||
Das Kind rennt hinter die Tür. - The child runs behind the door.
Ich laufe hinter den Baum. - I run behind the tree.
|vor - in front of||
Ich stelle den Schreibtisch vor das Fenster. - I put the des in front of the window.
Er fährt mit dem Auto vor die Kirche. - He drives with the in front of the church.
|neben - next to||
Setz dich neben mich. - Sit next to me.
Er stellt die Flasche neben den Teller. - He puts the bottle next to the plate.
|zwischen - between||
Ich setze mich zwischen meine Mutter und meinen Bruder. - I sit down next to my mother and my brother.
Ich stelle das Regal zwischen das Fenster und das Bett - I put the shelf between the window and the bed.
With sentences in passive
In passive phrases the object complement becomes subject and the subject becomes object complement.
The accusative is used in passive forms only when it is introduced by durch.
|Active form||Passive form|
|Die Operation hat den Patienten gerettet. - The operation rescued the patient.||Der Patient wurde durch die Operation gerettet. - The patient was rescued by the operation.|
Das Gewitter hat die Wälder zerstört. - The thunderstorm destroyed the forests.
Die Wälder wurden durch das Gewitter zerstört. - The forests were destroyed by the thunderstorm.
|Seine Schwester isst einen Apfel. - His sister eats an apple.||Der Apfel wird von seiner Schwester gegessen. - The apple is eaten by his sister.|
Now you know everything about the accusative case in German. You can practice with some exercises. Good luck!
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