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Accusative Case Question "Der Berater ist unserem Vater. ":

This might be a silly question but I just can't seem to figure out why the sentence:

'The adviser is our father'

Translates to:

'Der Berater ist unser Vater.'

It appears to me that 'unser' should be 'unseren' because the possesive pronoun refers to a masculine noun in the accusative case.

Thank you :)

November 12, 2012



I am sure many can give you a much better answer, but in general when you use "sein" verb, your "object" is actually used at Nominativ. I can tell you that this is different from the logic in Latin, where this would be Accusative, as you'd like it to be. The reason behind it is that you are not referring to an object, or there is no action directed to the object. When you use "to be" you are telling what the object actually IS. So in the German logic this is Nominativ. Another way of looking at it is that you can invert subject and object without upsetting completely the sentence (although it becomes different, obviously). You cannot do the same if you use "haben" or any other verb which requires accusative. Teh oucome would be a non-sense.


rstars, I am not sure to understand what you mean with missing words. nwin2 was only confused about the form of the adjective, whether nominative or accusative. German unfortunately is quite complex and it requires you to use the right declination for pronouns and adjectives. German uses cases and you must learn them if you want to speak it correctly. It's difficult, sure. The missing words concept is just confusing here, there is no way you can avoid to use unser(em) in a similar sentence without changin its meaning. French, Spanish, Italian make no difference. Latin languages can omit the use of a personal pronoun, but this is a totally different case.


"I never learned about accusative case in school, (plus other ones I've never heard of) ever, and it gets So complicated and long, that I can''t learn it because it takes too Much time, to process/figure it out."

This might be the worst advise I've ever read on Duolingo. Are you seriously saying you've never heard of the accusative case and find the whole case system not necessary to learn? I agree that it's challenging and complicated to figure out, but saying that therefore one should not learn this essential part of German grammar is truly nonsense.


@pbraiuca: "Marcus pater meus est." In which both Marcus and my father are nominative.


@siebolt: five years in high school studying Latin completely thrown away... You're 100% right. Let's say that in Italian, the closest language to Latin that I speak (it's my mother tongue), pater meus is considered "object", corresponding to the Latin accusative, although there are no declinations in Italian (fortunately).


Thank you so much pbraiuca for the excellent answer. I wish you the best of luck with your studies!


@pbraiuca: Me being fluent in Italian I wondered about your statement about the nominal predicate being object. In fact I thought it was not right and looked it up on the internet beause my Italian grammar is somewhere in a box. (www.dizionario-italiano.it/grammatica-italiana-174.php). It is a combination of noun + to be + noun or adjective. "Marco e' mio padre". Marco = subject. mio padre = nominal predicate. It can't be both an object and a nominal predicate at the same time. In German and Latin a nominal predicate is Nominativ. Just be happy that Italian is so much easier in this respect.


maybe I just didn't get the point from everyones answers, but how come it's not nominative and "unser" is not used ? Thanks !


@siebolt: it seems like you blew away some dust from my rusty memory of my mother tongue... :)) Of course the nominal predicative! So, although not causing any effect to the Italian version of the sentence, it explains everything on the Latin and German side. Thanks!


@staso: that is the wrong answer. As you say, "der Berater ist unser Vater" is the right form. I believe I contributed to the confusion with my digressions (and grammar conceptual mistakes), sorry! :)


To add to pbraica's coments, these verbs are referred to as copular (linking) verbs. They can link two nouns, both in the nominative case. Sein and werden are the two main copular verbs. Also, bleiben, heißen, and scheinen. Exp: Er bleibt mein Freund (He remains my friend), rather than Er bleibt meinen Freund.

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