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JNathanGThursday 19th of August 2004 08:41:13 AM
Simple grammar question(s?) - I've been trying to shove some grammar down my throat lately(I stink at it). It's not that I don't usually understand, because I do. It's usually that I just don't remember it for long, or it all becomes confused in my itty bitty brain(heh).

I've just gotten back into the common cases of nouns(nominative, accusative, dative, genitive),and I have a few questions. I'm going to try to make this as clear as possible. Anyone please feel free to correct me(I need it!), and expound if you can.

The boy is calling the girl on his mother's telephone.

boy - nominative?
girl - Indirect object / dative?
telephone - Direct object / accusative?
mother's - genitive?

Now for a less rudimentary sentence:

I was going to go to the store, but my brother's car ran out of gas.

I - nominative?
store - accusative?
car - dative?
gas - dative?
brother's - genitive?

And lastly:

That man just hit the small boy and the small boy's head conked into a brick.

man - nominative?
small boy - accusative?
small boy's - genitive?
head - ?
brick - dative?

Do I have it correct, or am I very confused?

Also, in German, how often are the cases used(in writing or speech)? Always? Sometimes? Rarely?

francisco21Thursday 19th of August 2004 10:53:05 AM
cases - In German cases are very often used.
z.B. Ich helfe meiner Mutter.
ich helfe (wem?)-meiner Mutter-Dativ
Ich fahre mit dem Bus.
dem Bus-Dativ (mit always with Dativ)
Das ist das Buch des Lehrers.
das Buch-Nominativ
wessen Buch?-des Lehrers-Genitiv
Ich sehe den Mann.
ich sehe (wen?)-den Mann-Akkusativ
That help by passive voice:
Aktiv: Ich (subject) sehe den Mann (direct object).
Passiv: Der Mann (subject) wird von mir (Dativ) gesehen.
JNathanGThursday 19th of August 2004 10:57:28 AM
Thanks. :) - THanks, francisco. I don't really have time to read all of this right now, but I certainly will.

The more examples I get, the better.
nikiiThursday 19th of August 2004 01:10:29 PM
some basic notes to make - Nominative:: Accusative:: Dative::
(subject) (direct object) (indirect object)
Der den dem
Die die der(*die plural goes to den+n)
Das das dem

aus--out, of, from
ausser--except, besides
bei--near, with, at, at the house of
nach--to, toward, after, according to
von--of, from, by
(*note*-An interesting way to memorize this is to sing the "Blue Danube", from aus to zu..."aus ausser bei mit, nach seit, von zu"....;))

bis--to, until, as far as
durch--through, by means of

Accusative OR Dative::

an--at, on, to
auf--on, upon
in--in, into
neben--beside, next to
über--over, about, across
unter--under, beneath, below, among
vor--before, in front of, ago

SEIN- his
AN- used when next to vertical surfaces
DEM- when no movement is involved; staionary

Setzt euch auf DEN Tisch! <--movement
Sein Fuss ist auf DEM Fussboden. <--NO movement(stationary)
Sein Fuss ist an DER Wand. <-- DIE goes to DER
Sein Fuss ist auf DEM pult. <-- DAS also goes to DEM be continued...

nikiiThursday 19th of August 2004 01:29:22 PM
Genitive and Nominative - Here are some notes that i saved on my computer (which i forgot i even had:P):::

The nominative is used for the subject of a sentence. Roughly speaking, the subject is the one that does something.


EMIL loves Ulrike.

SHE gives Yvonne the book.

ULRIKE is the mother

The third sentence is a special case, because sein (to be) is a special verb. It identifies the subject with something, so its object is actually a further specification of the subject.

nominative articles: die/der/das, eine/ein/ein.


The genitive is used to express that something belongs to someone or something.

DEANS book

the colour OF THE HOUSE


There is no distinction between of the house and the mother's in German, because you just use the genitive articles.

The nouns themselves are modified, too. In genitive case, you often add S or ES at the end of the noun.

Names of persons don't use articles. You form their genitive like in English, except that you don't write an apostrophe before the S.

The genitive articles are DER/EINER (feminine), and DES/EINES (masculine or neuter)

Feminine nouns don't need S or ES, it's only for masculine and neuter nouns, because they have genitive articles ending in S.
As a rule of thumb, just add an S. If this becomes hard to pronounce, use ES. Actually it doesn't really matter whether you use S or ES, because most masculine and neuter nouns allow both forms.
* note that a few masculine and neuter nouns use the genitive ending EN or N instead*

DEANs Buch. [ Dean's book]

Das Auto DER MUTTER. (f) [the mother's car]

die Farbe EINES HAUSES (n) [the color of a house]

die Farbe EINES TISCHS (m) [the color of a table]

die Farbe EINER FLASCHE (f) [the color of a bottle]

die Flasche DES KINDS (n) [the bottle of a child]

der Tisch DES GROSSVATERS (m) [the table of the Grandfather]

nikiiThursday 19th of August 2004 01:40:42 PM
Dative and Accusative - DATIVE::

The most frequent use of the dative case is after a preposition. A preposition is a small word like to, after or under. So if there is a noun (possibly with adjectives and/or an article) behind a preposition, you should use the dative case there.
Actually it's a little more complicated. The special cases are illustrated by the following examples:

1. Ulrike gives the book to Emil.
Ulrike gives Emil the book.
Sarah asks her brother a question.

2. The book is on the table.
I put the book on/onto the table. (no dative)

3. Günther helps his friend.

The nouns don't change in this case:
Ulrike gibt EINER/DER MUTTER das Buch. [Ulrike gives the book to A/THE MOTHER]

Das Buch ist auf EINEM/DEM TISCH. [The book is on A/THE TABLE]

Jan hilft EINEM/DEM KIND. [Jan helps A/THE CHILD].

This is quite similar to the genitive articles, except that you don't change the nouns: The feminine dative articles are der and einer, just like in genitive. The masculine and neuter articles are dem and einem, so you have an M instead of an S here.


The use of the accusative is quite similar to the dative, and the two can be confused easily.

In most cases, the accusative is used for objects without prepositions, which are known as direct objects.
In the English sentence "Emil sees Ulrike," Emil is the subject (in nominative case) and Ulrike is the direct object (in accusative).

As with the dative, there are a few special cases:
1. Ulrike gives THE BOOK to Emil.
Ulrike gives Emil THE BOOK.
Sarah asks her brother A QUESTION.

2. I put the book on/onto THE TABLE.
The book is on the table. (no accusative)

3. This is for YOU.
We go through THE COUNTRY.

1. If a verb has two objects, a thing and a person to which the thing is directed (for example to give something to someone), then the actual thing is in accusative case.

2. If a preposition can be used to mark the location of something or its direction, the accusative is only used to indicate a direction.
3. This distinction is necessary, because there is no difference between "in" and "into" or between on" and "onto."

The accusative case is also used after a few preposition, which usually indicate some kind of direction.

Das Buch ist für DIE MUTTER. [The book is for THE MOTHER.]

Er legt das Buch auf DEN TISCH. [He puts the book on THE TABLE.]

Sarah liebt DAS AUTO. [Sarah loves THE CAR]

Ulrike gibt Emil EINE FLASCHE. [Ulrike gives Emil A BOTTLE.]

Sie spricht über EINEN TISCH. [She talks about A TABLE.]

Jan sieht EIN KIND. [Jan sees EIN KIND]

Definite articles:
(f) (m) (n)
nom. die der das
gen. der des des
dat. der dem dem
acc. die den das

Indefinite articles:
(f) (m) (n)
nom. eine ein ein
gen. einer eines eines
dat. einer einem einem
acc. eine einen ein

JNathanGFriday 20th of August 2004 06:32:04 PM
:) - This is exactly the stuff I hoped I'd get! Thank you both!
nikiiFriday 20th of August 2004 06:57:16 PM
No problem! - :D We're/I'm glad to help anytime:D
Leto_AtreidesTuesday 09th of November 2004 04:48:50 AM
argh - Thanks for your post Nikki

It did gave me a better view of some situations, and what words I need to use for them.
However,I do think that there are a lot of examples instead of direct explanation of the grammar.
But that's me talking.
Thanks for your info!

tmoonTuesday 09th of November 2004 08:01:14 AM
- Yeah, that's well-explained... other thing though, just a small point but one that I noticed wasn't there. It's about plurals of nouns in the dative case.

Unless a noun's plural ends in an 's' or an 'n', add an 'n' to the pluralised form if the noun is in the dative case.


Ich gebe das Beispiel... = I give the example...

...zum discussbenutzer. = the discuss user.
...zu den discussbenutzern. = the discuss users. (normal plural is "discussbenutzer")

...zur Person. = the person.
...zu den Personen. = the people. (the same as normal)

I think that's right anyway...
LaneaTuesday 09th of November 2004 11:45:50 AM
- As german is my mother language I can't say to much to the grammar explanations. They seem to look alright. :) (ever tried to read a grammar book of your mother tongue?)

But heres a correction of your last example sentence:

give to is in german geben + dativ

geben zu is wrong.

Ich gebe das Beispiel dem discussbenutzer.
Ich gebe das Beispiel den discussbenutzern.
Ich gebe das Beispiel der Person.
Ich gebe das Beispiel den Personen.

Ich hoffe ich konnte damit helfen. :)

tmoonWednesday 10th of November 2004 08:13:33 AM
- Oh yeah!, cheers, thanks!
JNathanGThursday 11th of November 2004 04:34:15 PM
Hrmm.. - ... I'm still working on all of this grammar stuff(but fortunatly, slowly, slowly assimilating it.) I have a question about a prior example:

"Ich gebe das Beispiel der Person."

Why "der" here? Isn't that the nominative masculine singular?

LaneaSaturday 13th of November 2004 02:51:21 AM
- you're right, thats one of germans crazy parts of grammar.

The person in german is feminine.
nominative singular: Die Person

The dative case of feminine words in german has the definite article: der

so the dative singular is: der Person


nominative singular: die Frau
genitive sg: der Frau
dative sg: der Frau
accusative sg: die Frau

Example sentences:

Die Frau hat einen warmen Mantel an.
(The woman is wearing a warm robe.)
Der Mantel der Frau ist warm.
(The woman's robe is warm.)
Ich gebe der Frau den Mantel.
(I give the robe to the woman.)
Ich sehe die Frau.
(I see the woman.)

My english is far from beeing perfect, so I am not sure if my Phrases would appear like that in a grammar book. But the german sentences are correct and I am sure you can make out the sense... :)

Macht weiter so!


JNathanGSunday 21st of November 2004 12:55:24 PM
Ahhh... - ...Thank you so much. After I left the computer I remembered that person is feminine in German. I much appreciate your(and everyone elses' help. (Your English sentences are excellent, Lanea.
JenkieMonday 22nd of November 2004 08:36:57 AM
Prepositions - case - Prepositions also play a big role when we're talking aobut cases in German.

Heard those:




All the prepositions in the first group ALL take accusative.

All the prepositions in the second group ALL take dative

The 3rd group is kinda weird. Cos they can take accusative as well as dative.

They take accusative when:

1) When it expresses a movement from one place to another
2) When you can ask with "wohin"'

- Der Lehrer geht AN die Tafel
- Er stellt die Lampe AUF den Tisch
- Er trat HINTER den Tisch
- Der Hund legt sich UNTER den Stuhl

They take dative when:

1)When it expresses a staying at the same place
2)When you can ask with "wo"

- Der Lehrer steht AN der Tafel
- Die Lampe steht AUF dem Tisch
- Er stand HINTER dem Tisch
- Der Hund lag UNTER dem Stuhl
(compare to those above)

an das = ans an dem = am
in das = ins in dem = im

syksyTuesday 23rd of November 2004 02:02:54 AM
- it may also be useful if you learn the verbs with their constructions in German. the difference between “jemanden” und “jemandem” can help you to distinguish Akkusativ and Dativ.


jemandeN mögen/lieben/hassen (= to like/love/hate sb.)
Ich liebe ihn. (I love him)
wen liebt sie?  ihn = Akkusativ

jemandeN treffen (= to meet sb.)
Ich habe gestern meinen Chef getroffen. (Yesterday I met my boss.)
wen hast du getroffen?  meinen Chef = Akkusativ

jemandeN anrufen (=to call sb)
Er ruft mich morgen an. (He is calling me tomorrow.)
wen ruft er an?  mich = Akkusativ


jemandeM etwas sagen (= to tell sb. sth)
Tom hat mir gesagt, dass ich gehen soll. (Tom told me to go.)
wem hat er es gesagt?  mir = Dativ

jemandeM etwas geben (to give sb sth)
Der Lehrer gibt den Schülern Noten. (The teacher gives marks to the pupils)
wem gibt er Noten?  den Schülern = Dativ

jemandeM vorsingen (to sing to sb)
Die Mutter singt ihrem Baby ein Lied vor. (The mother is singing a song to her baby)
wem singt sie ein Lied vor?  ihrem Baby = Dativ

Unfortunately this doesn’t work with constructions with „etwas“ (z.B. etwas werfen = to throw sth.), since the Akkusativ- and Dativ-forms are the same. ;)

syksyTuesday 23rd of November 2004 02:06:39 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by JNathanG
Also, in German, how often are the cases used(in writing or speech)? Always? Sometimes? Rarely?[/quote]

I'm afraid I have to answer with "always"... either written or spoken.... :(
JenkieTuesday 23rd of November 2004 03:12:04 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by syksy
jemandeN mögen/lieben/hassen (= to like/love/hate sb.)
Ich liebe ihn. (I love her)
wen liebt sie?  ihn = Akkusativ

"ihn" means "him" ;)

it's a nice way to remember the case, but unfortunately I only think it works for fluent german speakers. Cuz a student (like me) of German won't have any possible change to hear wether it's jemandeN or jemandeM. Perhabs after three or four years of studying but I bet cases wont be a big problem around then.
JenkieTuesday 23rd of November 2004 03:38:55 AM
Complete Grammar Explanation - Hi,

Here's an almost complete explanation of the German grammar. It's in Danish, but it shouldn't be too hard to understand. All the latin names are almost the same as in English.

Just press on, "Hent Grammatikhæfte (134KB)"
syksyTuesday 23rd of November 2004 03:54:56 AM
- [quote]Originally posted by Jenkie
"ihn" means "him" ;)

oh, of course... *roll eyes* sorry, I corrected it. ;)

well, you're right. probably you wouldn't hear it, but maybe you have this constructions completely written down and then it would be useful to learn them.