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When is the accusative form different from the nominative?

I'm trying to figure out rules for safely skimming over redundancies in declension tables.

Please tell me what corrections/additions have to be made to the rules below.

  1. For nouns, adjectives, definite articles, and indefinite articles, the accusative is the same as the nominative in every gender and number except masculine singular.

  2. Pronouns have distinct accusative forms (ich/mich, wir/uns, etc).

  3. Is that it? Is there any other situation where the accusative form can be different from the nominative?

January 13, 2018




You should be careful with adjectives, because there are three ways to conjugate them (how they can change their endings). For instance: I. Ein schöner Mann, eine schöne Frau, ein schönes Kind II. Der schöne Mann, die schöne Frau, das schöne Kind, die schönen!! Kinder, III. Schöner Mann, schöne Frau, schönes Kind, schöne Kinder (without articles). The conjugated forms listed above are only the nominatives.

Here are the accusatives:

I. Einen schönen Mann, eine schöne Frau, ein schönes Kind II. Den schönen Mann, die schöne Frau, das schöne Kind, die schönen!!! Kinder III. Schönen Mann, schöne Frau, schönes Kind, schöne Kinder

Although most of the endings are the same, it's not the case in other cases (Dativ and Genitiv)

Hope this makes it clear! :)


Even for those forms, doesn't the rule still hold that accusative = nominative except in masculine singular?

These are all the same in accusative and nominative:

  • eine schöne Frau, ein schönes Kind

  • die schöne Frau, das schöne Kind, die schönen Kinder

  • schöne Frau, schönes Kind, schöne Kinder

For a break from declension tables, here's Connie Francis on German TV in 1962 singing Schöner fremder Mann. In the accusative, sie liebt den schöne fremde Mann. If it was a Frau or a Mädchen she liebted, it would be sie liebt die schöne fremde Frau or sie liebt das schöne fremde Mädchen accusative = nominative.

I think that's how it works anyway, correct me where I'm wrong.


Must be Sie liebt den schönen fremden Mann .


Yes, of course, thank you. I don't have a good ear for this yet.

The declension table for the soft adjective ending is what suggested this line of thinking to me. That Tetris-block shaped area of -e within the -en invites the speculation that the distinction between nominative and accusative is just not applicable for feminine and neuter nouns. If that's assumed, then the whole declension table can be defined by the rule "-e for nominative singular, else -en".


I do not have anything to add here. Just spent the past five minutes running all possible combinations through my head. Seems to be complete to me. But I must confess I did not learn German by grammar rules, so perhaps take it with a grain of salt.

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