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Best way to learn the cases?

Needing to learn cases and whatnot. Could anyone help with learning it? Thanks.

November 16, 2017



There are four:

Nominative: the subject, the thing(s) doing the verb.

Accusative: the objects (nouns) that the verb directly affects. "I eat CHEESE." Some prepositions always indicate accusative: bis, durch, für, gegen, ohne, um.

Dative: the objects (nouns) that are more indirectly affected by the verb. "I gave HIM the ball." Some prepositions always trigger dative: aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, zu, etc.

Other prepositions are two-way, and can trigger either acc./dat. depending whether there's movement. For example: auf. -- Der Hund ist AUF DEM Tisch. (The dog is ON THE table... dative). Der Hund springt AUF DEN Tisch. (The dog jumps ONTO THE table... accusative).

Genitive: the objects that indicate possession, or "of _". Some prepositions always trigger genitive: trotz (in spite of), während (while/during), statt (instead of), wegen (because of), etc. Genitive is must less common than the other three, but is still an integral part of the language, and should not be ignored no matter what anyone says.

Because of the cases, a more flexible sentence structure than that of English can occur because of the way articles/adjectives/nouns(sometimes) inflect to show their purpose regardless of where they are in the sentence.

That's enough for now. There's lots to talk about. :) Viel Erfolg beim Deutschlernen!


I would recommend the following "cheat sheet" to everyone learning German. It has been invaluable to me, and I would often refer back to it in my early stages.


Don't worry if you don't understand everything on it for now. Eventually you will.


Another way of explaining cases is relating them to questions.

Wer, who = nominative. Meine Freundin kommt heute. My girlfriend is coming today.

Wessen, whose = genetive. Die Mutter meiner Freundin kommt heute. Die Mutter = nominative, meiner Freundin = genetive. The question is: Wessen Mutter? Whose mother?

Wem, whom, to whom = dative. Ich schenke meiner Freundin ein Buch. Wem schenkst du ein Buch? Meiner Freundin, dative.

Wen oder was, whom or what = accusative. Ich schenke meiner Freundin in Buch. Was schenkst du deiner Freundin? Ein Buch, accusative.

As mentioned by Deutscher Elliott, certain prepositions require certain cases and the only way for me to learn those in any language has been rote memorizing. :-(

The subject of a sentence always is in the nominative, the object in either dative or accusative.

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