"I do not eat porridge."
Translation:Я не їм кашу.
Ukrainian nouns, adjectives and some pronouns have several forms called ‘cases’. (Nouns are words naming things, situations or phenomena, such as ‘porridge’ or ‘table’. Adjectives are words naming qualities, such as ‘cold’ or ‘good’. Pronouns are words referring to some thing, phenomenon or quality without naming it, such as ‘I’ or ‘this’.)
Ка́ша is the nominative-case form. Nominative case is used for the grammatical subject of the sentence. Grammatical subject shows who is doing the action. Here, it’s я ‘I’. ‘I’ am not doing the action of ‘liking’. In English, grammatical subject comes in the beginning of the sentence. For example, you would use nominative in the following sentences:
- Ка́ша холо́не. ‘The porrige is getting cold.’ (porridge is the grammatical subject, it does the action of ‘getting cold’)
- Ка́ша має ди́вний смак. ‘The porridge has a strange taste’ (каша is the grammatical subject, it does the action of ’having’ a strange taste)
Another usage of nominative case is in ‘X is Y’ sentences. In those sentences, both X is always in the nominative case, and Y can be in nominative case:
- Ка́ша холо́дна. ‘The porridge is cold.’ (both ка́ша and холо́дна are nominative-case forms)
- Ка́ша смачна́. ‘The porridge is tasty.’ (both ка́ша and смачна́ are nominative-case forms)
Ка́шу is the accusative case, it is used for direct objects. Direct object is someone what or who is influenced by the action. Каша is influenced by us eating it, so it’s the direct object. Some examples:
- Я їм ка́шу. ‘I’m eating [the] porridge’ (Porridge is the direct object, it’s affected by my eating it; ‘I’ is the nominative case)
- Я варю́ ка́шу. ‘I’m cooking [the] porridge’. (Porridge is the direct object, it’s affected by my action of cooking it)
English has something similar: ‘I’ is the form for the subject, ‘me’ is the form used for the object (but it has a number of other uses, too). This is not unlike Ukrainian nominative «я» and accusative «мене»:
- Я ба́чу ка́шу. ‘I see the porridge’
- Ка́ша ра́дує мене́. ‘The porridge makes me happy.’
«Я» is the nominative-case form, «мене́» is the accusative-case form. This is not unlike ‘I’ and ‘me’ in English. But in Ukrainian, all words have those forms. While in English this is an exception, and only a few words have them. (English used to be like Ukrainian in the past, but the languages diverged as more time passed.)
Note that for many words, nominative case looks same as accusative:
- Я ба́чу стіл. ‘I see the table.’ (стіл is nominative)
- Стіл ра́дує мене́. ‘The table makes me happy.’ (стіл is accusative)
Those are words that describe non-living things (known as ‘inanimate nouns’) if they don’t end in -а.