The cases are: Nominative, Genitive, Dative and Accusative. Understanding the Basics of German Cases. Default to putting the next noun in the accusative ‘slot’, except, after a dative (or two-way functioning as dative) preposition. how they’re interacting with each other). German cases. Keep reading for a simple definition (with examples!) Weak declensions do not indicate the gender/case of the noun because they have almost no variation (there are just two options: -e or -en). Check out the chart snippet again and compare the following examples (with ‘ein’, though that makes no difference now — the declension patterns are the same): I help a chubby boy — Ich helfe einem pummeligen Jungen.I help a rich woman — Ich helfe einer reichen Frau.I help a tall child — Ich helfe einem großen Kind. In English, adjectives keep the same, basic or ‘root’ form regardless of position (stand-alone or in front of nouns). If you think of a sentence as ‘having slots to fill’, fill up the nominative slot first. Now, notice in the following examples how the adjectives here take strong declensions: Masc., Nom. The words in front of nouns are called modifiers because they modify (describe) the noun. Notice in both sets of the following examples, ALL determiners take the strong declension and ALL adjectives take the weak declensions. The second reason why German noun case is often scary to English speakers is because German is an inflected language. Well, now you’re going to learn why we have those subcategories. As far as using the case system goes, only attributive adjectives matter. For example, welch- (which), dies- (this), jed- (every). Those few principles will guide you true in the vast majority of situations! (Here’s the oddball part:) If you want to use the definite article (‘the’), it will be die in both instances (feminine & plural). For example: 1. the dog:derHund 2. the cat: dieKatze 3. the horse: dasPferd As you can see, German nouns can have one of three genders: 1. der(masculine form of “the”) 2. die(feminine form of “the”) 3. das(neuter form of “the”) Tip – when you learn new German vocabulary, try to learn the gender as well. Feminine & plural’s strong declension -e gets added onto to determiners such as jed- (every), welch- (which), kein- (not any) as is, to look like this: jede, welche, keine. The final oddball spot is in the neuter nominative & accusative. That is a terrible waste of time. After we’ve filled the nominative case slot with a subject, we default to putting the next noun into the accusative case as a direct object. Well, my friend, welcome to the wonderful topic of German Noun Cases. The ‘ein’ takes no declension and the adjective must then take the strong declension. German has very flexible word order without the meaning of the sentence changing. BUT! There are similarities and and also differences between how English and German use noun case. For these 3 exception instances, we use basic declension #2 from our graphic above. Remember that the different cases are ‘slots’ in our sentence that get filled up with nouns that play different roles in relationship to each other. Now look at these examples using ein. For example: Feminine Nominative: Jede nette Frau heißt hier willkommen (Every nice woman is welcome here). Do not memorize each isolated noun in all four cases (e.g. The German case system. You can see not only the der, die, das, with which you are familiar, but also the adjectives. no determiners) in front of the noun (e.g. I see a chubby boy — Ich sehe einen pummeligen Jungen.I see a rich woman — Ich sehe eine reiche Frau.I see a tall child — Ich sehe ein großes Kind. Just as English has two indefinite articles — a and an — that you use with singular nouns, German also has two indefinite articles (in the nominative case): ein for masculine- and neuter-gender words and eine for feminine-gender words. Did you also notice that the declensions for masculine and neuter nouns are identical? ; neut., nom. If you’re feeling confused, that’s exactly the point. If that’s you, then this whole idea of noun cases probably sounds extra foreign, complicated, and intimidating. Same idea, applied differently. It introduces German people and culture through the medium of the language used today, covering the core material which students would expect to encounter in their first years of learning German. But all this grammar fun comes at a cost. Determiners and/or adjectives preceding any given noun in a German sentence take ‘grammar flags’ (a.k.a. Buckle up! Easy! : Mein schwarzes Pferd (my black horse), dein krankes Kind (your ill child), ihr junges Baby (her/their young baby)Neut., Acc. traditional primary-school terminology for German cases (1. German grammar exercises about cases and declension. The genitive [possessive] case is used to indicate, IF there is only an adjective (no determiner), it breaks our typical rules by taking the. So, that really just leaves us with the more specific questions of when to use the accusative vs. dative. and the adjectives (if present) always follow the determiner by filling up the very next available category to the right. But there’s always another, simpler, more common way to formulate the same idea using either the accusative or dative. 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