Vistawide - World languages & cultures, foreign language learning tips, study & work abroad, free language study resources.German language learning - German culture resources - German-speaking countries & customs




Books


Search for
German grammar books
at amazon:

     
Search Now:


Google
Web vistawide.com




















Case endings have mutated
extensively over time under a
variety of influences -- so much
so that case endings in the
dialects of German spoken 1000
years ago scarcely resemble
those in the case system of
modern German.













Rosetta Stone German
Language Learning Software

More info - Buy

Noun cases in German

The accusative case

The cases | Definite articles | der-words | Indefinite articles | Possessive adjectives
Summary of the cases | Nominative case | Accusative case | Dative case | Genitive case | GRAMMAR INDEX



The accusative case has four functions.

1) Direct object

The direct object of a sentence is the person, thing, entity, or idea that is acted upon by the subject. It answers the question: What or whom does the subject <insert meaning of verb here>?
EXAMPLES:
Wir sehen einen Film. 
We're watching a film.
"A film" is the direct object. It is what the subject "we" is watching.
Martha trinkt viel Kaffee. 
Martha drinks a lot of coffee.
"Coffee" is the direct object. It is what the subject "Martha" drinks.
Mein Chef hat eine Schwester. 
My boss has a sister.
A sister" is the direct object. It is what the subject "my boss" has.

2) Object of an accusative preposition

The object of an accusative preposition must be in the accusative case. These are the prepositions in German whose noun objects are always in the accusative case:
bis until pro per
durch through ohne without
für for um around; at (with time)
gegen against wider against

EXAMPLES:
Er fuhr gegen einen Baum. 
He drove into a tree.
"A tree" is the object of the accusative preposition gegen.
Ohne dich kann ich nicht leben. 
I can't live without you.
"You" is the object of the accusative preposition ohne.
Sie arbeitet schwer für das Geld. 
She works hard for the money.
"The money" is the object of the accusative preposition für.
For more information on prepositions, see the German prepositions page.


3) Object of a two-way preposition

Two-way prepositions are named as such because their objects are sometimes in the dative case and sometimes in the accusative case. Here are the two-way prepositions:
an to, toward, onto (a vertical surface) über across; about
auf to, toward, onto (a horizontal surface) unter (to a place) under
hinter (to a place) behind vor (to a place) in front of
in in, into zwischen (to a place) between
neben (to a place) beside    
When two-way prepositions are used with the accusative case, they (1) designate a change of location or destination of movement, or (2) are in idiomatic expressions requiring the use of the accusative.
EXAMPLES of 2-WAY PREPOSITIONS + ACCUSATIVE to indicate DESTINATIONS:
Sie geht gerade in die Bank. 
She is going into the bank.
"Into the bank" is a destination of movement, hence in takes the acc.
Ich setzte mich neben ihn. 
I sat down next to him.
"Next to him" is a destination of movement, hence neben uses acc.
Grete wartet auf ihren Vater.
Grete is waiting for her father.
"Her father" is the acc.object of auf because the idiom warten auf requires the use of the acc.case.
In addition to the meanings listed , the two-way prepositions + accusative have a wide range of idiomatic meanings, as the last example above shows: warten auf (+ acc.) = to wait for. For a list of such common idiomatic expressions in German and their English equivalents, see the page on verb + preposition combinations.

For more information on prepositions, see the German prepositions page.


4) Expressions of definite time

Expressions of specific time that are (1) not adverbs (e.g., heute, morgen, gestern) and (2) not governed by a preposition (e.g., um vier Uhr, seit letztem Jahr, am Donnerstag) take the accusative case.
EXAMPLES:
Wir gehen jeden Freitag einkaufen. 
We go shopping every Friday.
"Every Friday" is an expression of definite time that does not use a prep.
Dieses Wochenende kommt Jens. 
Jens is coming this weekend.
"This weekend" is an expression of definite time that does not use a prep.

Nouns and pronouns in the ACCUSATIVE CASE

Finally, here are some examples of nouns and pronouns in the accusative case. Words and endings in red indicate a form that differs from the corresponding nominative case form.
Nouns Personal Pronouns
masculine feminine neuter plural
den Onkel
diesen Onkel
einen Onkel
keinen Onkel
unseren Onkel
die Tante
diese Tante
eine Tante
keine Tante
unsere Tante
das Buch
dieses Buch
ein Buch
kein Buch
unser Buch
die Kinder
diese Kinder
Kinder
keine Kinder
unsere Kinder
mich
dich
ihn, sie, es
uns
euch
Sie, sie


The cases | Definite articles | Indefinite articles | Possessive adjectives
Summary of the cases | Nominative case | Accusative case | Dative case | Genitive case
GRAMMAR INDEX



Vistawide - All About Learning Languages & Knowing Cultures

All content on this site is copyrighted. © 2004- VISTAWIDE.COM
Contact - About us