Case grammar overview
The German language, unlike English, has a large and complicated case system. The learner is confronted with this system in every sentence that she speaks or writes. Many German words have different forms depending on which case is needed.
Take, for example, the indefinite article a/an. In German this changes from ein in the nominative (subject case) of a masculine noun to einen in the accusative (object case). Example:
|Ein Hund ist in der Cafeteria.||Nominative for the subject of the sentence.|
|Ich habe einen Hund .||Accusative for the object of the sentence.|
In German 1 this year you have learned three of the four German cases: Nominative, accusative and dative. Here is a very brief summary of when you need to use each of these.
|Nominative:||For the subject or complement The complement of a sentence most commonly comes after the verb to be. Example:
Mein Bruder ist ein guter Fußballspieler. of the sentence. [Examples]
|Accusative:||1. For the object of the sentence. [Examples]|
|2. Following the one-case accusative prepositions: für, ohne, durch, (..plus ..). [Examples]|
|3. Following the Two-case prepositions: in, auf, (..plus ..) when there is movement from one place to another. [Examples]|
|Dative:||1. Following the one-case dative prepositions: mit, nach, bei (..plus ..). [Examples]|
|2. Following the Two-case prepositions: in, auf, (..plus ..) when there is NO movement from one place to another. [Examples]|
Next year you will learn about the fourth German case, the Genitive. Click here for a brief preview of this case.