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Nominative is the subject. It answers: wer (who) or was (what)?

Ich heiße Andrew. Das Auto ist rot. Mein Haus.

Nominative is the subject (person or thing) showing action in the sentence.


Accusative is the direct object. It answers: wen (who) and was (what)?
Ich liebe es. Ich lese das Buch. Ich sehe dich.

Accusative refers to the direct object. It also relates to movement through a place and
answers the question, “where to or who to?”

“Ich bin in den Park gelaufen“ suggests movement through a place.

Accusativ Conjunctio Create Translatio

e Pronoun n s n
den in in den into the
die in in die into the
das in ins into the

The accusative usually appears with other cases. It is always the direct object.

Nominative subject. Predicate. Accusative object.

Meine Mutter hat eine Tasche.
Wir sehen einen Film.
Ich möchte das Geld.
Ich liebe den Zug.

(The predicate is the verb. It governs the action and case of a sentence or clause.)


Dative is the indirect object or receiver. It answers: wem (whom)?

Können Sie mir helfen? Es gehört mir. Ich setze mich auf den Stuhl.

Dative is the receiver or indirect object. It answers the question where or in what place?

Nominative Dative Accusative

Ich gebe dem Kind das Geld.

Nominative Accusative Dative

Ich gebe das Geld dem Kind.

“Geld” is the direct/accusative object. “Kind” is the receiving/dative object. It is active.

A transitive verb is a verb which requires a direct object to function. An intransitive
verb does not require a direct object.

In English a direct object is linked to a verb through the use of “to”, thereby creating the
English dative form, since “to” suggests a giver and receiver.

In German there is no equivalent preposition. Instead, the article and adjectives take on
the dative ending.

The English construction below cannot be used in German.

Personal pronoun Verb Article Direct preposition Indirect object

I gave the Apple to David.

Instead, the following structure must be used.

Pronoun Verb Indirect Dative object Direct accusative object

Ich gebe David den Apfel.
I gave David the apple.
Ich schreibe meinem Vater einen Brief.
I write my father a letter.

As above, there are often two objects in a sentence. The accusative and the dative

The dative object receivies. For example, “Ich hilfe ihm”. Here the object is receiving
help and is therefore dative. However, there are exceptions, such as, “Ich liebe dich”
which is accusative. One must simply learn which verbs are dative.

When considering dative, always consider to whom is the event happening.

Dative is also used when referring to a stationary object. (This is mainly due to the use
of dative prepositions.) Any sentences that asks “wo” or “wann” is also dative.

Dative. English.
Im Keller. In the cellar.
Am Montag. On (the) Monday.
Die Dusche ist im Schlafzimmer. The shower is in the bedroom.
Im Restaurant. In the restaurant.
In der Kneipe. In the pub.
Ich wohne im ersten Stock. I live on the first floor.

When there is no movement the sentence is dative, however when there is movement it
becomes accusative.

Nominative. Accusative. Dative.

Ich sitze auf dem Stuhl. No movement.

Ich setze mich auf den Stuhl. Movement.

Dative is used when there is no movement or movement within a place. For example,
“Ich bin im Park gelaufen“.

Dative Conjunctio Create Translation

Pronou n s
dem in im in the/inside
der in in der in the/inside
dem in im in the/inside

Moreover, the dative is used often for possession rather than the genitive. For example:

Dative instead of genitive. English.

Das Haus von Max ist sehr ruhig. Max’s house/the house of Max is very quiet.
Ich brauche die Telefonnummer von I need Max’s telephone number/the telephone
Max. number of Max.

Much of what determines the case of a sentence is the case of the verb.

Dative verbs.
Dative Definition Dative Definition
antworten To answer. gehören To belong.
begegnen To meet. glauben To believe.
denken To thank. raten To advise.
fehlen To be lacking. vertrauen To trust.
gefallen To please. helfen To help.
wünschen To wish.

Very often, a sentence will have numerous clauses, each in a different case. For
example, “wünschen” is a dative verb. Therefore I must write, “Ich wünsche dir…”

Since I must be sending my wishes to someone or something, the second part of any
sentence beginning with this phrase naturally asks, “who or what”, making this second
part of the sentence accusative.

Dative Accusative
Ich wünsche dir ein schönes Wochenende.

The German dative always suggests giving, even when the verb “geben” is not being
used. For example:

Pronoun Verb Dative pronoun

Ich helfe ihm.
I give help to him.

Pronoun Verb Dative pronoun

Helfen Sie mir.
Give help (you) to me.


Genitive is the possessive. It answers: wessen (whose)?

Das ist mein Haus. Mein linker Arm. Der Herr der Ringe.

Genitive is the possessive. It is used most commonly when the English construction “of
the” is required. For example, “Der Herr der Ringe“.

a) “Der Herr…” is nominative masucline singular (The Lord…)

b) ”...der Ringe” is genetive masculine plural (…of the Rings.)

English German singular English German plural

Nominative the ring der Ring the rings die Ringe
Genitive of the ring des Rings of the rings der Ringe
Dative the ring dem Ring the rings den Ringen
Accusative the ring den Ring the rings die Ringe

In the sentence, Meine Tasche ist gut, the genitive gives information as to who owns
something, however it is not possessive.

“Mein” is providing more information about the subject, yet it is still nominative.