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How the German Cases work (easy explanation)

Thought I'd post this for beginners as it's a very well done, and compact, explanation of the cases. Hope it helps!


December 8, 2014



Book marked. This helped so much, thank you a lot.


This is one of the better explanations of the German Cases I have seen.

Vielen dank!


Bitte. :) Yeah, I don't know how many times I've read explanations, but the simple, clear, colorful website really helps make it plain! :)


I find this article useful for similar reasons: http://german.about.com/library/blcase_sum.htm

Though it contains a bit more information and larger graphs, making it a tad more difficult to digest. From now on I will be referring to your link when in need to query cases :)

EDIT: This one is great too, for anyone particularly troubled with cases: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Grammatik/Basic_Chart.html


Danke. :) If I had a Swiss franc for every time I've had to read that ;) ... I could buy a lotta chocolate! ;)


Very helpful. danke!


i read this and it still makes no sense


What part is confusing to you? Is the idea of cases new for you? It is not something one hears about when learning English growing up. It may not make sense today, that's okay, but ya might wanna bookmark it because at some point it will make sense and you will appreciate having all this together in one spot. :)


I'm finding this to be an annoying characteristic of German, especially since I started dealing with adjective declensions and those "weak nouns".

I found the cases and their declensions to be much easier and more logical in Modern Greek. Actually they never annoyed me in Greek and I even liked them. I hope I eventually change my mind with German!


Well, let's try together to find the best explanation of that stuff so we can get it under our belts and not worry about it! :) What do you think of this?

I think the advice to remember the gender with the noun is imperative, but people forget to say that you should also ALWAYS learn the plural along with the noun too. They drilled that into us in A2 I remember. Maybe that would help? p.s. I remember the times we drilled this in school and it was kinda tough, not to mention explained to me all in German when I didn't understand much German. You get pretty used to them as you develop your Sprachgefühl (feel for the language). The most common ones always show up on these lists so they stick out when you see them as you go forward. And lastly, when you write sentences in German be sure to write sentences about lions and bears (some words on the lists) so you remember how this works! ;)

We can practice it here too.


Finally starting to understand it, thank you.


Thank you so much! This is truly the best explanation i've seen yet.


Sehr hilfreich! Danke sehr!!


Bitte :) Now I'm reviewing the verbs that trigger the cases too.


Natürlich! :)


Have some lingots -- here's hoping they take off Bitcoin-style........tongue firmly planted in cheek.

I love your pic too. Did you purposely select a virtually radially symmetrical image since it lends itself perfectly to the circular profile pic format?

Have a good one! :D


Well aren't you nice! :) Yeah, I liked that pic cuz it was plain and yet had depth. It's a pic I took. I like fresh flowers. What can I say? ;) But I do get a kick out of the wide range of pics used on here. For the longest time I thought one pic looked like Skeletor scuba-diving and it was kinda scary, but then I zoomed in and saw it was actually a friendly fellow! :) Okay, you have a good one too! Thx for the jewels! :)


Tausend Dank! Tusen tack!


Bitte sehr! :)


Great set of notes! :)


Yes! :) Hey, are you writing a German story for the "Lingots for Stories Contest" this week? :) Seeing your posts is always an inspiration - you write very well!


Well, I'm planning to. Thanks for your interest. :)


Ahh yes I found this a while back and forgot to bookmark it. Danke schön! Ich bin vergesslich!


The other simple thing I wrote down to help myself remember was this sentence (note that these are all masculine nouns):

The man gives the apple to the boy. Der Mann gibt den Apfel zu dem Junge.

(I know "zu dem" could be shortened to "zum", but this helps me remember which conjugation the gender word should take for what noun)

I'm yet to figure out genitive, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually!


Ya, me too. I've found and forgotten it I don't know how many times in the last year or so. (sound of hand slapping head!) ;) This week I decided I wanted to step by step review some things I hope will help improve my writing and I found it again. It is amazing how simple and clear it is. :) I've shuffled it back to the top of my deck!


Thank you! This looks like the most straight forward explanation I have seen yet, and anything that makes cases easier to understand is wonderful!


Riiiight! ;) thanks for the thanks! :)


Danke! This is super helpful, I've been struggling with the German Cases.


I hear ya! :) I've been studying it for a year and it gets easier, but still, sometimes I stare at a sentence and I've gotta run through a mental checklist to sort it all out or (even harder) be able to create one of my own! Good luck! :)


Thank you so much! This explains it better than anything else I've seen.


I just hope one day I can do it without so many mistakes! :) It takes a lot of focus. I'm working on developing a more precise mental checklist to get this right! Good luck! :)


This has been so helpful!! Danke!


Thank you for your kindness! :)


it really helps, thanks for sharing


You make me happy! :)


The explanations are great! Thank you for sharing ♡


I wish I could print them on my brain permanently! ;) Vielen dank!


No offence, but to me it wasn't anything else than a regular, basic way to explain what the cases ARE (not really WORK). I don't know, maybe it's different for english speakers, since the number of cases increases in transition from english to german. Anyway, I don't know if the next part - how the cases work - isn't more about plain learning than understanding. The thing that we actually need to learn, gamified or 'regular' way is Rektion der Verben. Without it, we can't really use the cases properly. Maybe I just got the whole conversation wrong, but it seems like not enough people pay attention to the hard part of learning german language, which unfortunately is tables, tables and more tables filled with grammar rules :)

PS. Of course I forgot to paste the link for Rektionen: http://letconex.blogspot.com/2011/07/deutsche-rektionen-verb.html


Hi friend, That is precisely why some of us find it helpful. It is a compact version of the cases. I think it makes a big difference to see it simplified. If you have another method, by all means use it! There is no one size fits all with learning. I have read about twenty different ways of explaining it and as a teacher myself I found this to be well-done, nothing more, nothing less. If there was a magic pill to get it right every time I'd take that too. I posted it to help beginners because I know they struggle with it, and since I've been there I want to help others by making it easier for them, not bring them down with negativity. I am far enough along with my studies in German to know about, and have trained extensively with the lists of verbs, cases and prepositions, but I will look over this resource you have posted too. Everything helps. It seems overwhelming at first, but now it comes quite naturally. I have worked hard to develop my "Sprachgefühl". Yes, German is tough. I could not have learned it from just looking here, but I am impressed by those who are doing their best and making the best of this helpful free resource. Good luck with your German as well!


Hey, I definitely didn't want to offense anybody or whatsoever, just wanted to point out, that it's also important to remember that understanding what cases are doesn't always fix the problem of using them in real sentences. I'm also aware of the fact, that I'm a native speaker of a language with 7 cases, so it's definitely more natural to me to understand and use 4 cases, than to people without this kind of experience. Anyway, I hope, reading and learning from here and there will lead to better results. Thank you and good luck as well!


"Ich bin nur Mensch."

Is it correct to say this? Is the meaning: "I am only human"?


Nominativ. The subject. Who or what is doing the action?

Akkusativ. Direct object. Who or what is directly affected?

Dativ. Indirect object. Whom is the recipient of the action?

Genetiv. Possession. Whose?

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