Eine Ente ist ein Vogel.

Vogel is supposed to be masculine, why isn't it "... ist einEN Vogel" ? isn't it accusative declension, or did I missed something ?

May 17, 2012


It is still in the nominative. A duck is a bird. It is just an equality. The bird is not the recipient of any action.

May 17, 2012

As Talat said, the verb "sein" answers questions "Wer?" or "Was?", thus takes nominativ object not an accusative one.

May 17, 2012

In many languages, a certain class of verbs called either copulae (singular: copula) or linking verbs don't take a subject and an object (a do-er and a do-ee, i.e. 'He{subject} hit her{object}'). Instead, they take what's called a nominal predicate or a subject compliment. Instead of being the recipient of an action, it completes the information about the do-er. Take the example you gave: Eine Ente ist ein Vogel. 'Eine Ente' can't stand alone as a sentence, because there's no verb. The copula 'ist' joins 'Eine Ente' to its compliment, 'ein Vogel'. You can think of it as being a case where the subject 'eine Ente' is on both sides of the verb, because both sides of the verb are the same in some way.

June 1, 2012

Crataegus provides some good information, but when referring to the "adjective, noun, or pronoun that follows a linking verb" one should refer to it as a "subject complement," not a "subject compliment."



For more on subject complements, see the following:

Subject complement

March 21, 2016

Have a look at the "My mother is an architect" example

May 20, 2012

I once heard someone talk about verbs that always took nominative case on either side, eg sein and heißen. There is a name for these kinds of verbs---does someone know it? I'd like to find out more about these verbs, such as what other German verbs are like this, and if the always that I said above is true.

May 21, 2012

Linking verb

December 12, 2012

Imagine sein to be an equals sign. "A duck is a bird" becomes "A duck = a bird." With sein ( = ), both things on each side of the verb equal each other, so since you use nominative one one side, you must use nominative on the other. Also, I believe it's called a reflexive verb, @diN0bot.

June 19, 2012

It is a predicate nominative case:

April 24, 2013

Nouns on the left and right of "be" verbs are nominative. This is true in English as well.

January 1, 2014

Maybe it has no problem :-!?

May 7, 2013

I think your comment would apply if ussing "isst". But with "is eating" the phrase doesn't have sense. :)

September 5, 2013
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.