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Accusative Case

What is the Accusative Case?

  • We use the accusative case after certain verbs and prepositions
  • It is also known as the direct object.
  • The direct object is the thing that is acted upon (it „receives“ the action)
  • The question for the accusative case is : „Wen?“ or „Was?“

Accusative Case – Examples

  • „Der Mann hat ein Pferd.“Declension in Accusative Case

What does the man have? – Ein Pferd!

The accusative case is always used after the verb „haben“. The noun in the accusative case is also the direct object.

  • „Der Junge schenkt einer Freundin die Blumen.“

What does the boy give to a friend? – Die Blumen!

„Die Blumen“ is the direct object, which is acted upon!

Declension in Accusative Case

The article must match the case:

Definite Article
Indefinite Article
Masculineden MannMasculineeinen Mann
Femininedie FrauFeminineeine Frau
Neuterdas KindNeuterein Kind
Pluraldie ElternPlural- Eltern

Use of the Accusative Case

Use: Direct Object

In sentences with only one object, the object uses the accusative case unless the verb or preposition specifically requires the use of the nominative, genitive, or dative case.

  • „Er gibt der Frau die Blumen.“ 

(The flowers are acted upon, but they don’t do anything on their own and don´t receive anything ⇒ direct object)

  • „Er schenkt ihr ein Auto.“

(The car is acted upon, but it doesn’t do anything on its own and it doesn´t receive anything ⇒ direct object)

Use: Accusative Object

In sentences that have just the subject and a single object, the nouns use the accusative case, except when the preposition or the verb requires nominative, dative or genitive.

  • „Ich habe ein Eis.“
  • „Er singt ein Liebeslied.“
  • „Er spielt den Ball.“

The verbs require the accusative case. (More about that in unit: Verbs with Complements) That´s not that hard because at the same time it´s the direct object. It is acted upon; it doesn’t do anything on its own and doesn’t receive anything.

 ⇒ direct object ⇒ Accusative Case

Use: After Prepositions

›The prepositionsum“, „durch“, „ohne“, „bis“, „für“ and „gegen“ ALWAYS use the accusative case

  • „Er fährt durch den Tunnel.
  • „Die Blumen sind für meine Freundin.“
  • „Der Mann geht um das Haus.

The prepositions don´t care if it´s a direct or indirect object. It also doesn’t matter which case the verb requires. If you have a preposition in front of a noun, the preposition determine the case. ALWAYS! (More about that in Chapter 6: Prepositions)

Memorize: If you have a preposition in front of a noun, none of the other rules apply anymore. Only the rule of the preposition is still valid. Direct or indirect object doesn´t matter, the same with verbs that require a special case! The preposition shows you the case, ALWAYS!

Further Information:

The Dative Case
Cases │ Dative case │ Usage, Declension, examples and an easy explanation about dative case. │ When do we use dative case? │ Irregularities? │ EasyDeutsch
The Genitive Case
Cases │ Genitive case │ Usage, Declension, examples and an easy explanation about genitive case. │ When do we use genitive case? │ Irregularities?
Nominative Case
Cases │ Nominative case │ Usage, Declension, examples and an easy explanation about nominative case. │ When do we use nominative case? │ Irregularities?

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