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Thread: Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar)

  1. #1 Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar) 
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    The 4 German Cases: Nominative Accusative Dative, and Genitive

    English also has cases, but they are only apparent with pronouns, not with nouns, as in German. When "he" changes to "him" in English, that's exactly the same thing that happens when der changes to den in German (and er changes to ihn). This allows German to have more flexibility in word order, as in the examples below, in which the nominative (subject) case is red:

    Der Hund beißt den Mann. The dog bites the man.
    Den Mann beißt der Hund. The dog bites the man.
    Beißt der Hund den Mann? Is the dog biting the man?
    Beißt den Mann der Hund? Is the dog biting the man?

    "Den Mann" is in the accusative case because it is what is being acted upon.

    German Articles:

    The definite articles are: masculine-"der", feminine-"die", and neuter-"das" in the nominative case

    der changes to den in the accusative case, everything else remains the same

    In the dative case, "der and das=dem" and "die=der"

    Dativ triggers- words and prepositions which automatically make a noun take on the dative case:

    The Dative Verbs: folgen, helfen, reichen, antworten, danken, fehlen, gefallen gehören, glauben, Leid tun (as in, es tut mir Leid), passieren, verziehen, wehtun, ähneln, befehlen, begegnen, bleiben, dienen, drohen, einfallen, erlauben, gehorchen, gelingen, misslingen, geraten, genügen, geschehen, gleichen, gratulieren, glücken, lauschen, munden, nützen, passen, raten, schaden, schmecken, schmeicheln, trauen, vertrauen, widersprechen, winken, zürnen

    The Dative Prepositions: aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, zu

    *NOTE: The genitive prepositions statt (instead of), trotz (in spite of), während (during) and wegen (because of) are often used with the dative in spoken German, particularly in certain regions. If you want to "blend in" and not sound too stuffy, you can use them in the dative also.



    Indefinite Articles:

    nominative: masculine-"ein", feminine-"eine", neuter-"ein"

    accusative: einen, eine, ein

    dativ: einem, einer, einem

    genitive: eines, einer, eines


    Two-way Prepositions (Prepositions which can take on either the accusative or dative case):

    an, auf, vor, in, neben unter, zwischen, über, hinter


    The basic rule for determining whether a two-way preposition should have an object in the accusative or dative case is motion (wohin?, where to?) versus location (wo?, where?, at rest). If there is motion towards something or a specific location, then usually that is accusative. If there is no motion at all or random motion going nowhere in particular, then that is usually dative. Here are two sets of examples:

    Wir gehen ins Kino. (in das, accus.)
    We're going to the movies/cinema. (motion towards)
    Wir sind im Kino. (in dem, dat.)
    We're at the movies/cinema. (location)

    Legen Sie das Buch auf den Tisch. (accusative)
    Put/Lay the book on the table. (motion towards)
    Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch. (dative)
    The book's lying on the table. (location)

    A single German two-way preposition – such as in or auf – may have more than one English translation, as you can see above. In addition, you'll find many of these prepositions have yet another meaning in common everyday idioms and expressions: auf dem Lande (in the country), um drei Uhr (at three o'clock), unter uns (among us), am Mittwoch (on Wednesday), vor einer Woche (a week ago), etc. Such expressions can be learned as vocabulary without worrying about the grammar involved.


    Genitive Case:

    The genitive case in German shows possession and is expressed in English by the possessive "of" or an apostrophe-s ('s). The genitive case is also used with some verb idioms and with the genitive prepositions. The genitive is used more in written German than in spoken form. In spoken, everyday German, von plus the dative often replaces the genitive: Das Auto von meinem Bruder = My brother's car.

    You can tell that a noun is in the genitive case by the article, which changes to des/eines (masculine and neuter) or der/einer (feminine and plural). Since the genitive only has two forms (des or der), you only need to learn those two. However, in the masculine and neuter, there is also an additional noun ending, either -es or -s:

    das Auto meines Bruders
    my brother's car (the car of my brother)
    die Bluse des Mädchens
    the girl's blouse (the blouse of the girl)
    der Titel des Filmes (Films)
    the title of the film


    Genitive Expressions
    The genitive is used in some idiomatic expressions.


    Ende der Woche gehen wir.
    At the end of the week we're going.
    Ich muss das Anfang des Monats bezahlen.
    I have to pay that at the start of the month.


    Sources:

    www.about.com

    Mark Twain's famous essay entitled,"The Awful German Language":

    http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/awfgrmlg.html


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    Forum Ph.D. Steve Miller's Avatar
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    Hi I'm expecting your post to be some kind of a trap or something I'm getting in right now, but what was it good for? Why did you post this German grammar article? You don't seem to have any request or concern about it?

    Steve


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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Miller
    Hi I'm expecting your post to be some kind of trap or something I'm getting in right now, but what was it good for? Why did you post this German grammar article? You don't seem to have any request or concern about it?

    Steve
    Kümmere dich um deinen eigenen Angelegenheiten bitte...es ist mir egal was du denkst :P
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  5. #4 Re: Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar) 
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    This allows German to have more flexibility in word order, as in the examples below, in which the nominative (subject) case is red:

    Der Hund beißt den Mann. The dog bites the man.
    Den Mann beißt der Hund. The dog bites the man.
    But this only works for the masculine gender in the singular. For the feminine and neuter, as well as the plural, you have no flexibility. For example, “the mother loves the child” can only be die Mutter liebt das Kind; since the nominative and accusative forms are the same this time, it is the conventional subject–verb–object order that must decide the cases this time.
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  6. #5 Re: Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar) 
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneBennet
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    This allows German to have more flexibility in word order, as in the examples below, in which the nominative (subject) case is red:

    Der Hund beißt den Mann. The dog bites the man.
    Den Mann beißt der Hund. The dog bites the man.
    But this only works for the masculine gender in the singular. For the feminine and neuter, as well as the plural, you have no flexibility. For example, “the mother loves the child” can only be die Mutter liebt das Kind; since the nominative and accusative forms are the same this time, it is the conventional subject–verb–object order that must decide the cases this time.
    Yes, that is why the masculine singular case was highlighted. It is an exceptional case.
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