German Tips & Tricks

German Cases Made Easy

You know in the first Lion King movie when the hyenas said “Mufasa” and the rest of them would shiver? That is the way most people feel when they hear the word ‘’cases’’.

I do not know if you have read my post about genders, but with cases it works the same as genders. If you teach your brain to correct way to do it, it will do it automatically later.

The big question is how do you know in which case a noun is. I might just be able to help you on that one. This post might seem like an English lesson, but in fact it simply makes German so much easier. So, bear with me.

You can divide sentences into different sections. The ones we will be using is the subject, verb and object. If you know how to identify those, it is easy. The subject is in the nominative case, the direct object usually in the accusative case (it can sometimes be in the dative case, but that can really complicate things, so I’ll be explaining that in another post) and the indirect object in the dative case. The genitive case will also be discussed in another post.

The first step is to identify the verb. Draw a circle around it if you’d like.

Circle the verb in the sentence. In 'Der Junge singt das Lied in der Schule' the verb is 'singt'.
Translation: The boy sings the song at school.

The subject is the person or thing doing the verb. So, you will ask the question: Who + the verb? Go ahead and underline the subject.

Underline the subject in the sentence. In 'Der Junge singt das Lied in der Schule' the subject is 'der Junge'.
Translation: The boy sings the song at school.

The object is the person or thing that is affected by the action the subject carries out. The object can be split into two categories namely the direct and indirect objects.

Direct objects can be identified by asking: Subject + the verb + who/what? The answer is the direct object, which I drew a rectangle around:

Draw a rectangle around the direct object in the sentence. In 'Der Junge singt das Lied in der Schule' the direct object is 'das Lied'.
Translation: The boy sings the song at school.

The indirect object can only exist in the presence of a direct object, therefore once you have determined the direct object and there are nouns or pronouns left, you can identify the indirect object. The indirect object is the object which is affected by the action performed by the subject using the direct object. Quite confusing? Let me show you, I wrote that in blue:

Mark the indirect object in the sentence. In 'Der Junge singt das Lied in der Schule' the indirect object is 'der Schule'.
Translation: The boy sings the song at school.

The dative case can be quite tricky so if this doesn’t cover your needs have a look at my post about the dative case.

Hopefully the word ‘’cases’’ won’t make you shiver anymore, if it does, feel free to ask me to explain again.

xoxo,
Charlé

P.S. If you liked this post and would like to be notified when I post new content, feel free to join my mailing list.

  1. Ich hab mich so sehr gefreut ueber die “14 Words Own to German” … Thanks for sharing … Daghang Salamat…

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