The nominative, accusative, dative and genitive cases. The declension of nouns, adjectives, articles and numbers.
We know that verbs are conjugated (I eat vs. he/she eats) but it is rather simple in English; there are not many changes in the conjugation depending on the person and number.
German declension consists of adding an ending to:
according to the case (Fall or Kasus), gender and number.
In German there are 4 cases:
The nominative is used if
*("Name" is nominative)
Mein Name hat 5 Buchstaben*
My name has five letters
*("Mein Name" has the function of a subject and is declined in the nominative)
María ist mein Name*
Maria is my name
*("Ist" is part the verb "sein" (copulative) and therefore the object is declined in nominative)
Accusative is used if:
Ich sagte meinen Namen*
I said my name
*("sagte" is from the verb "sagen", which is a verb that is not copulative. For that reason, it is accusative)
Depending on the verb, the objects can be accusative, dative or with a preposition. Fortunately, most cases coincide with English ones all of the time. Be careful!
Ich gehe in die Schule*
I am going to school
*("die Schule" is declined in accusative because it follows the preposition "in" and going which indicates movement)
Ich schenke dir ein Heft*
I give you a notebook
*("ein Heft" (the thing that is
given) is accusative and whom it is given to is dative)
Die Zukunft des Buches ist schwer*
The future of the book is difficult
*(In English genitive’s expressed with "of" or by adding an apostrophe to show possession. "Des Buches" is translated as "of the book" or "the book’s")
The genitive is not used as often by Germans as the three other previous cases. Often, a noun object is made with the preposition "von" + Dative and the genitive preposition are sometimes used incorrectly as if they were dative.
You have to keep in mind that one word can fit the rules of different cases simultaneously. For example, it can be a subject while being a part of a noun object and follow a preposition that is dative. Which case would it be then? Nominative because it’s the subject, Genitive, because it’s the noun object or dative because it is after a preposition?
The answer is that the priorities are in this order:
There are 2 types of noun declension: Regular and N-declension.
Applicable to most nouns.
Example: das Gas (the gas)
For more info, visit: Regular declension of nouns
Applicable to some masculine nouns and a few neuter ones.
Example: der Name (the name)
For more info, visit: N-Deklination
There are three types of declension for adjectives: Weak, mixed and strong. Visit the following link if you’d like to see them in detail: Adjective declension.
The most common case for weak declension is the construction: (definite article) + (adjective with weak declension) + (Noun)
Das schöne Sofa
The beautiful sofa
The most common mixed declension is the structure: (indefinite article) + (adjective with mixed declension) + (Noun)
Ein schönes Sofa
A beautiful sofa
The most common case of strong declension is: (strong declension of adjective without article) + (Noun)
There are 3 types of declensions for pronouns: weak, mixed and strong but not all pronouns have the three declensions.
If you’d like more in-depth info, we suggest that you visit:
|ich||I||mich||me||mir||me, to me||meiner||mine|
|du||you||dich||you||dir||you, to you||deiner||yours|
|er||he||ihn||him||ihm||him, to him||seiner||his|
|sie||she||sie||her||ihr||her, to her||ihrer||hers|
|es||it||es||it||ihm||it, to it||seiner||its|
|wir||we||uns||us||uns||us, to us||unser||ours|
(speaking to a group)
|euch||you||euch||you, to you||euer||yours|
|Nominative||der (the)||die (the)||das (the)||die (the)|
|Nominative||ein (a/an)||eine (a/an)||ein (a/an)||--|
Numbers are declined as well. If you’d like more info, visit the article: Number declension
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