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In German, cases are a way of showing you the part played by a noun in a sentence. (No, not that kind of part!)
A noun could play one of several parts in a sentence, each represented by one of the four cases: Nominative Accusative Dative Genitive In German the spelling of the words for a and the (and similar initial words) changes depending on what part the noun plays in the sentence, i.e. what case it is. Follow the man with the arrow to see the exact changes in spelling for a & the later! He looks something like this:
The nominative is used to indicate the subject of the sentence. The subject is the doer of the sentence. That is, the person or thing doing the action described by the verb. To find the subject always ask yourself: Who or what before the verb? e.g. Who or what is skiing? Der Mann fährt ski. Subject = der Mann
Die Sonne scheint. Der Vogel singt. Der Bus fährt zur Schule. Who/what is shining? Who/what is singing? Who/what is going to school? Subject = die Sonne Subject = der Vogel Subject = der Bus
The nominative case is also required before and after these verbs: sein werden heißen to be to become to be called
The accusative is used to indicate the direct object of the sentence. The object is the receiver of the action or thought described by the verb. Der Junge wirft den Ball. To find the direct object always ask yourself: Whom or what after the verb? e.g. Throwing whom/what? Object = den Ball
Der Mann trägt eine Tasche. Carries whom/what? Object = die Tasche Der Junge spielt Fußball. Plays whom/what? Object = Fußball Er hat einen Hund. Has whom/what? Object = einen Hund
The accusative case is also required after these prepositions: f u d g e b o w = für = um = durch = gegen = entlang = bis = ohne = wider (for) (at/about) (through) (against) (along) (until) (without) (against)
The dative is used to indicate the indirect object of the sentence. The dative case is used to express the idea of to or for someone or something. The indirect object is the person or thing to whom something is offered, given, etc. Der Junge gibt dem Mann ein Geschenk. The boy gives a present to the man. The boy gives the man a present. or The English equivalent of the indirect object is to… but this idea is often hidden (but understood) in English.
The dative case is also required after these prepositions: a b g m n s v z = aus = bei = gegenüber = mit = nach = seit = von = zu (from, out of) (at) (opposite) (with) (to, after) (since) (from, of) (to)
The dative case is also required after these verbs: erklären (to explain [to]) erzählen (to tell [to]) geben (to give [to]) helfen (to [give] help [to]) sagen (to say [to]) schenken (to give [to] as present) zeigen (to show [to])
The genitive is hardly used in spoken German but is often found in written German. The genitive case translates of the/my etc. You use it to talk about who or what things belong to. If you are using the genitive with a name, you can simply say Gabis Schwester, Peters Onkel, etc. But you do NOT need an apostrophe before the s. Der Regenschirm der Frau. In German you say the car of my mother (not my mothers car).
MasculineNeuterFemininePlural derdasdie ein eine- Back
MasculineNeuterFemininePlural dendasdie eineneineine- Back
MasculineNeuterFemininePlural dem derden einem einer- Back
MasculineNeuterFemininePlural des der eines einer- Back
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