Thursday, 29 January 2009

An introduction to the case system

There are four cases in German system, nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. The four cases are roughly equivalent to the subject, object, indirect object and the possessive cases in English. The subject is the doer of the verb. The object is the thing that is 'done to'. The dative case has a few uses. We use indirect objects in English by putting 'to' or 'for' in front of the word but you will have to look for German verbs that only take the dative, and there are German prepositions other than 'to' and 'for' which take the dative. The genitive case shows possession. In English we say 'of the' or we can use an apostrophe.

As in English there are definite and indefinite articles. This is nothing to do with lazy articles but it means that you either know 'the' thing you are talking about (you are definite), or you are more vague and you talk about 'a' thing.

The definite and indefinite articles change depending on the case and can be masculine, feminine or neuter. I will look at these changes in later blogs, but I can't finish today's blog without writing some words in German. The nominative definite article is der, die and das, and the indefinite article is ein, eine and ein.

Bis bald

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