- 1.What are the 4 cases in German?
- 1.1.Table of declension of the four cases in German
- 1.2.Table of declension of personal pronouns according to the case
- 2.Nominative case (1. Fall)
- 2.1.Table of declension of the nominative case
- 2.2.How to use the nominative case in Germa?
- 2.3.Where to place a nominative in a sentence?
- 3.Genitive case (2. Fall)
- 3.1.Table of delcension of the the genitive case
- 3.2.How to use the genitive case in German?
- 3.3.The genitive with -s (possessiv genitive)
- 3.4.The genitive with 'von'
- 4.Dative case (3. Fall)
- 4.1.Table of declension of the dative case
- 4.2.How to use the dative case in German?
- 5.Accusative case (4. Fall)
- 5.1.Table of declension of the accusative case
- 5.2.How to use the accusative case in German?
What are the 4 cases in German?
In German nominal groups (articles, adjectives or nouns) are declined corresponding to their case. That means they have different endings according to their function in the sentence. In German there are 4 declension cases.
To identify the case of a noun, there are certain questions to ask for a specific case.
Table of declension of the four cases in German
This table shows you the declension of different nouns split up into the cases, the gender and number.
|Nominative||der / ein Mann||die / eine Frau||das / ein Kind||die Leute|
|Accusative||den / einen Mann||die / eine Frau||das / ein Kind||
|Dative||dem / einem Mann||der / einer Frau||dem / einem Kind||
des / eines Mannes
|der / einer Frau||
des / eines Kindes
- der Mann - man
- die Frau - woman
- das Kind - child
- die Leute - people
Remember: there is no indefinite article in plural in German.
Table of declension of personal pronouns according to the case
This table shows you the personal pronouns changing in the different cases.
|First person singular||ich - I||mir - me||mich - me|
|Second person singular||du - you (informal)||dir - you||dich - you|
|Third person singular||er/sie/es - he/she/it||ihm/ihr/ihm - him/her/it||ihn/sie/es - him/her/it|
|First person plural||wir - we||uns - us||uns - us|
|Second person plural||ihr - you||euch - you||euch - you|
|Third person plural||sie/Sie - they/ you (formal)||ihnen / Ihnen - them||sie/Sie - them|
Nominative case (1. Fall)
The nominative is always the subject of a sentence. It answers the questions
Wer oder was? - Who or what?
Table of declension of the nominative 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 nominative case.
|With a definite article||der Vater||die Mutter||das Kind||die Leute|
|With an indefinite article||ein Vater||eine Mutter||ein Kind||Leute|
|With a definite article + adjective||der gute Vater||die schöne Mutter||das lustige Kind||die vielen Leute|
|With an indefinite article + adjective||ein guter Vater||eine schöne Mutter||ein lustiges Kind||viele Leute|
- der gute Vater - good father
- die schöne Mutter - beautiful mother
- das lustige Kind - funny child
- die vielen Leute - many people
Remember: there is no indefinite article in German plural.
How to use the nominative case in Germa?
1. As the subject of the verb
- Der Junge liest ein Buch. - The boy reads a book.
- Die Katze ist weiß. - The cat is white.
- Die Stadt ist bekannt. - The city is known.
2. As a predicate nominative
A predicative nominative is a noun that is equated with the subject of the sentence or clause. It follows a linking verb and refers back to it.
Here are some linking verbs:
- sein - to be
- werden - to become
- heißen - to be called
- bleiben - to remain/ to stay
- scheinen - to seem/ to appear
- aussehen - to look like
- Mein Bruder möchte Arzt werden. - My brother want to become a doctor.
- Dr. Müller bleibt unser Zahnarzt. - Mr. Müller remains our dentist.
- Es scheint ein Hund zu sein. - It seems to be a dog.
3. As a noun of a direct address
You have to use the nominative case in phrases where you use the imperative or you directly address someone.
- Guten Tag, mein Freund. - Good day, my friend.
- Sei still, Markus! - Be quite, Markus!
Where to place a nominative in a sentence?
Usually the nominative, being the subject, occupies the first place in a sentence and the it is followed by the verb. However, it often happens that the sentence starts with an adverb or another element. In this case, since the verb always occupies the second place, the nominative (subject) comes after the verb (in third place).
- Tom singt ein Lied. - Tom sings a song.
- Nach der Arbeit gehe ich im Park laufen. - After work I am going for a run in the park.
Genitive case (2. Fall)
The genitive is a complement of a noun, that means it completes the noun to which it refers to. It answers the question
Wessen? - whose / of what?
Table of delcension of the the genitive 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 genitive case.
|With a definite article||des Mannes||der Frau||des Kindes||der Leute|
|With an indefinite article||eines Mannes||einer Frau||eines Kindes||Leute|
|With a definite article + adjective||des guten Mannes||der schönen Frau||des lustigen Kindes||der vielen Leute|
|With an indefinite article + adjective||eines guten Mannes||einer schönen Frau||eines lustigen Kindes||vieler Leute|
How to use the genitive case in German?
1. To show possession of relationships between two nouns
The genitive is used to express possession or a relationship between people and/or objects. In English it is translated with the preposition of or
- das Spielzeug des Kindes - the toy of the child.
- das Buch des Schülers - the book of the student
2. With expressions of indefinite time
The genitive can also be used as an adverb to give indications about an indefinite duration or period. In English it is expressed by for instance: one day, some day.
- Eines Tages werden sie heiraten. - One day they will marry.
- Eines Morgens wurde ich von meiner Mutter geweckt. - One morning I was awakened by my mother.
The female noun die Nacht behaves in this case as a masculine or a neutral noun.
3. With prepositions
The genitive case used with certain prepositions. You can find them in this list.
- während - during
- trotz - despite
- statt/anstatt - instead
- wegen - because of
- infolge - as a result of
- dank - due to/thanks to
- außerhalb, innerhalb, oberhalb, unterhalb - outside, inside, above, below
- um ... willen - for the sake of
- diesseits, jenseits - on this side of, on the other side of
- Während meines Aufenthalts in Hamburg habe ich viele Leute kennengelernt. - During my stay in Hamburg, I met many people.
- Dank deiner Bemühungen hast du das Ziel erreicht. - Thanks to your efforts, you have reached the goal.
- Wegen des Gewitters kann man nicht Fußball spielen. - Because of the storm, you can not play football.
4. With genitive verbs
There are some verbs that are in need of the genitive in German. These shows you some of them with an example. In German it sounds more formal, so that it is not used often.
- anklagen - to be charged
- bedürfen - to require/ to need
- gedenken - to commemorate
- beschuldigen - to accuse
- sich einer Sache bedienen - to use one thing
- Sie ist des Mordes angeklagt. - She is charged with murder.
- Der Anwalt beschuldigt mich der Tat. - The lawyer accuses me of the act.
5. With genitive adjectives
There are some adjectives that are followed by the genitive case.
- sicher - sure
- bewusst - aware of
- würdig - worthy
Ich bin mir der Antwort nicht sicher. - I am not sure about the answer.
Er ist sich seines Fehlers bewusst. - He is aware of his fault.
Sie ist dieses Namens würdig. - She is worthy of this name.
The genitive with -s (possessiv genitive)
The genitive of proper names can also be formed with ending a -s (possessive genitive). Therefore you have to put the name in front of the noun (the possession) and add the suffix -s. In English it is nearly the same, but with an apostrophe.
- Emmas Bruder - Emma's brother
- Mozarts Lied - Mozart's song
- Marios Hund - Mario's dog
The genitive with 'von'
The genitive of proper nouns can be formed using the von preposition before the proper noun.
Be careful: the genitive cases changes into a dative cases then!
- der Bruder von Emma - the brother of Emma
- das Lied von Mozart - the song of Mozart
- der Hund von Mario - the dog of Mario
Dative case (3. Fall)
The dative is an indirect object in the sentence and forms the answer to the question
Wem? - whom?
Table of declension of the dative 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 dative case.
|With a definite article||dem Mann||der Frau||dem Kind||den Leuten|
|With an indefinite article||einem Mann||einer Frau||einem Kind||Leuten|
|With a definite article + adjective||dem guten Mann||der schönen Frau||dem lustigen Kind||den vielen Leuten|
|With an indefinite article + adjective||einem guten Mann||einer schönen Frau||einem lustigen Kind||vielen Leuten|
How to use the dative case in German?
1. As the indirect object of the verb
In English the indirect object (dative) is often expressed by the preposition to and for. In addition, there are some verbs in German, that use the dative case as an indirect object of the verb and the accusative case as the direct object of the verb.
This list shows verbs that are frequently used with direct and indirect objects.
- zeigen - to show
- sagen - to say/ to tell
- schicken - to send
- kaufen - to buy
- holen - to get
- geben - to give
- bringen - to bring/ to take
Examples (the dative is highlighted):
- Lukas zeigt Laura das Bild. - Lukas shows Laura the picture.
- Meine Tochter sagt mir immer die Wahrheit. - My daughter always tells me the truth.
- Du schickst mir einen Brief. - You send me a letter.
2. With dative verbs
There are some German verbs that only take the dative object. They are listed here:
- folgen - to follow
- gehören - to belong
- gefallen - to please
- helfen - to help
- danken - to thank (for)
- antworten - to answer/ to respond
- Dieses Buch gehört meiner Mutter. - This book belongs to my mother.
- Der Lehrer hilft den Studenten. - The teacher helps the students.
- Ich danke Ihnen. - Thank you (formal).
3. With prepositions
This table list shows preposition that usually use the dative case.
- aus - from
- zu - to
- nach - after
- mit - with
- bei - at
- von - from/by
- seit - since/for
- außer - but
- Ich komme aus der Türkei. - I am from turkey.
- Von Montag bis Freitag muss Lisa zur Schule gehen. - From Monday to Friday Lisa has to go to school.
- Nach dem Sport esse ich. - After sports I eat.
4. With verbs of location and contracted prepositions
There are contracted prepositions (prepositions + article) that are used in the dative case and additionally expresses a position, location or a motion within a fixed location. These prepositions can answer the question wo? - in what place?/where?
Be careful: Verbs of movement + contracted prepositions always require the accusative case.
Here is a list of verbs that express position, location or a motion within a fixed location.
- hängen - to hang
- wohnen - to live
- stehen - to stand
- sitzen - to sit
- liegen - to lie
- stecken - to stick
Examples for preposition + dative:
- Die Mutter steht am (an + dem) Herd. - The mother is at the stove.
- Wir wohnem hinterm (hinter + dem) Berg. - We live behind the mountain.
- Ich stehe im (in + dem) Garten. - I stand in the garden.
Accusative case (4. Fall)
The accusative is used as the direct object in the sentence and forms the answer to the questions
Wen oder was? - who or what?
Table of declension of 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 lustige Kind||die vielen Leute|
|With an indefinite article + adjective||einen guten Mann||eine schöne Frau||ein lustiges Kind||viele Leute|
How to use the accusative case in German?
1. 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.
2. 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?
- Sophia isst jeden Tag Gemüse. - Sophia eats vegetable everyday.
3. With prepositions
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.
4. 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 are some 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
Prepositions that can be contracted:
- in - to
- an - to/at
- auf - on
- über - over
- unter - under
- hinter - behind
- vor - in front of
- neben - next to
- zwischen - between
Example of prepositions (some of them are contracted) and verbs of movement:
- Ich gehe ins (in + das) Fitnessstudio. - I am going to the gym.
- 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.
- Ich lege das Buch auf den Tisch. - I put the book on the table.
- Wir fahren über die Brücke. - We drive over the bridge.
5. With sentence 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.
|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.|
|Seine Schwester isst einen Apfel. - His sister eats an apple.||Der Apfel wird von seiner Schwester gegessen. - The apple is eaten by his sister.|
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