Sunday, 18 March 2007

The Accusative Case

The accusative case is used for the direct object (that's the noun or pronoun to which an action is done). It's like the shark in Peter ate the shark where shark is the noun that gets eaten. It also follows certain preopstions (words like for, through and without).

Only singular (i.e. not plural) masculine nouns change in the accusative. All the determiners and adjectives that stand before these always end in -en. The other nouns stay the same as in the nominative.

Some pronouns also change. The most important ones to remember are ich (I) becomes mich (me) and du (you) becomes dich (you). As you can see, that means that not all pronouns change in English to mark the object either.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Laura,

I keep learning new things in this podcast: I wasn't aware that "angehen" takes two objects in the accusative. Well, I would have used it correctly but if you had asked me which verbs take two objects in the accusative I only knew "fragen", "lehren" and "kosten". In fact, I learned this list of three verbs only two years ago.

I would assume that the reason for the accusative in greetings ("Guten Morgen!", "Gute Nacht!", "Guten Tag!", "Gute Reise!") and also some other phrases ("Guten Appetit!" (engl.: enjoy your meal!), "Gute Besserung!" (engl.: get well soon)) is that they are abbreviations for phrases with a verb that needs an accusative, in particular "Ich wünsche (dir/euch/Ihnen) eine(n)..." (I wish (you) a ...), for example: "Ich wünsche dir einen guten Morgen." or "Ich wünsche Ihnen eine gute Reise." or "Ich wünsche euch einen guten Appetit." or "Ich wünsche gute Besserung." In fact, you can still here these full phrases from time to time.

In the case of "Vielen Dank!", the full phrase might be "Ich sage (dir/euch/Ihnen) vielen Dank." but I never heard this phrase (you would say "Ich bedanke mich (vielmals/herzlich/recht herzlich)." if you want to write or speak in a more formal way).

Cheers

Martin