How to tell apart the nominative and the accusative?

In simple sentences like "The cat sees the woman." and "The woman sees the cat.", both can translate to "Die Frau sieht die Katze." and also "Die Katze sieht die Frau."? As far as I know, in German you can change the word order. Of course if any of the nouns is masculine, then it's easy to determine because the pronoun is different, but with feminine and neutral pronouns, I don't get how you can tell them apart. Is there no way? Do I have to know the context of the sentence?

December 15, 2017


Technically it is true, "Die Katze sieht die Frau" can mean both, "the woman sees the cat" and "the cat sees the woman". But in reality you would almost always put the subject first, so that, without context, you would assume it means "the cat sees the woman".

December 15, 2017

I think, in these cases, it is better to use the Subject Verb Object order, to make it understandable which one do you mean.

December 15, 2017

Good question!

December 16, 2017
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