German Cases made Easy- Nominative and Genitive

Hello everyone,

and welcome to another episode of our German is Easy Learn German online course, specifically, the module on everyone’s favorite aspects of German grammar:

German Cases

 

And just in case you came through Google… of course nothing has changed about them in 2023.
Just used this headline as clickbait :).
But be happy, because this site is actually a goldmine of information, not just on German cases, but on all kind of things German.

We already took a more general look at what cases are and how they work in different languages in the first article in this module.
It’s a bit theoretical, but I really recommend reading it, because having this background helps a LOT and cases are less intimidating.
So if you want to check that out, you can find it here:

What are Cases (and why are they)

In a nutshell, cases are a way to mark the function or role of an element in a sentence. You can theoretically mark all kinds of roles, like “time” or “destination”  or “reason” and so on.
“Understanding” German cases means knowing what role they each usually mark in a sentence, and that’ll get you the correct case about 80% of the time. The rest being “Meeeh… it’s just idiomatic that way.”

Now, technically, there are four cases in German. Here they are together with their old Indian tribe names, because they actually knew what’s up:

  • the Nominative (aka “He who does things”)
  • the Accusative   (aka “He who’s the second best choice”)
  • the Dative          (aka “He who gets things”)
  • the Genitive       (aka “He who owns things”)

Now, four sounds quite a lot, but in as you’ll see, it’s really only two.
Because as we’ll see the Nominative is the default case anyway, and the Genitive… well, it’s kind of useless, at least for beginners.
The real challenging ones are Accusative and Dative, but that’s really not that bad.
In this series, we’ll look at the role of each case and ALSO we’ll talk about some differences between German and English with how it uses ITS own cases, or whatever is left of them.

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