Within a sentence the nominative is fundamental, because it is the subject of the sentence. An article, an adjective and a nouns can form the nominal group of the nominative. They are based on the case, gender and number. In order to find the nominative of a sentence, you have to answer the question:
wer oder was? - who or what (performs the action)
This table shows you some examples, how to ask for the nominative in a sentence.
|Example||Question (Wer oder was?)||Answer|
|Der Student liest ein Gedicht. - The student reads a poem.||Wer liest ein Gedicht? - Who reads the poem?||der Student - the student|
|Sie trinkt Milch. - She drinks milk.||Wer trinkt Milch? - Who drinks milk?||sie - she|
|Seine kleine Wohnung wurde renoviert. - His small apartment was renovated.||Was wurde renoviert? - What has been renovated?||seine kleine Wohnung - his small apartment|
The nominative can be an explicit person, personal pronoun or a nominal group (adjective/pronoun + noun).
Here you can find some examples for each type.
|Type of Nominative||Example||Translation|
|nominal group (adjective/pronoun + noun)|
Attention: the adjective is always declined according to the case, the gender and the number. To learn more about the declension of adjectives, have a look in to our lessons about the German adjectives.
In the nominative case the nouns remain unchanged. The articles and/or the adjective, which accompanies the noun, designate the case, gender and number. Have also a look into the topic of articles and adjectives in German.
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 Mann||die Frau||das Kind||die Leute|
|With an indefinite article||ein Mann||eine Frau||ein Kind||Leute|
|With a definite article + adjective||der gute Mann||die schöne Frau||das junge Kind||die vielen Leute|
|With an indefinite article + adjective||ein guter Mann||eine schöne Frau||ein junges Kind||viele Leute|
Remember: there is no indefinite article in Plural.
In the nominative case you have to decline personal pronouns too. They are listed in this table.
|Type of person||Personal pronoun|
|First person singular||ich - I|
|Second person singular||du - you (informal)|
|Third person singular (masculine, feminine, neuter)||er, sie, es - he, she, it|
|First person plural||wir - we|
|Second person plural||ihr - you|
|Third person plural + polite form||sie/Sie - they/you (formal)|
There are three different situations when to use the nominative case.
Using the nominative case as the subject of the verb is the most common way in the German language. Have a look in the examples below to explore the nominative as a subject.
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. This table shows you common linking verbs.
|sein - to be|
|werden - to become/going to|
|heißen - to be called|
|bleiben - to stay/be/remain|
|scheinen - to appear/seem|
|aussehen - to look like|
You have to use the nominative case in phrases where you use the imperative or you directly address someone.
Here are some examples:
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).
Here are some examples:
Now you have learned the German nominative case. You can browse through the exercises to improve your knowledge. Good luck!
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