Akkusative vs Nominative



Hi , Could someone please explain me why we use accusative in the following question? Was macht dich glücklich ? ( What makes you happy) When we ask someone (a friend) what are you doing today we ask "was machst du heute?" Similary why can't I say "Was machst du glücklich" ? Could someone please clarify. Thanks.


I don't know, but I found a great video where they ask people "Was macht dich glücklich?"


Wow, they do a really good job, don't they? Thank you for posting this phrase. Those videos on YouTube are priceless.

Ok, so I will try an answer based on this answer from Yahoo:


NOMINATIVE - Used for the subject of a sentence. 
For example in the sentence "Rob kicks the ball," Rob is the subject, as he is the one doing the kicking. 
In the sentence, "Ich hasse dich," Ich is the subject and is in the nominative form 
Thus, du is used in cases such as "Du hasse mich," where "du" is doing the hating. 

ACCUSATIVE - Used for the direct object of a sentence. 
The direct object is the person or thing receiving the verb, or getting (verb)-ed. 
For example in the sentence "Rob kicks the ball," the ball is the direct object, as it is what is being kicked. 
In the sentence, "Ich hasse dich," dich is the direct object as it is receiving the hate, and is in the accusative form.

Was macht dich glücklich?  It is like saying "What makes happiness", but we don't say that in English, so the proper translation to give meaning is "What makes you happy?" This is why it is accusative.

Was machst du heute? Is saying "What are you doing today?".

Was machst du glücklich? doesn't work because it's like saying "What are you doing happiness?" I tried to find some other examples, but nothing really is perfectly satisfying.

Du machst mich glücklich.
Arbeit allein macht auch nicht glücklich.  (dict.cc)
Geld allein macht nicht glücklich. (dict.cc)
Macht dich das glücklich?  (http://en.bab.la/dictionary/german-english/macht-gluecklich)

Let me know if that helps you or if I have any mistakes you want me to correct.




Hi Jason,

Thanks a lot for your comments and clarifications. It really helps.

- Karthik.



Hi Karthik and Jason,

I will just ad a few things. "Macht" is the third person singular "Er/sie/es macht das"="He/she/it makes that" whereas "machst" is the second person singular which is "du machst das"="You are doing that". Third person singular form is also used for article and nouns. "Der Sommer macht mich glücklich", "die Schule macht mich glücklich". You'll ask "Wer oder was macht dich glücklich?" "Die Schule". 

Example of other verbs:
"Er/sie/es hat es" = "He/she/it got it" 
"Du hast es"= "You got it"
"Der Sommer hat mir Glück gebracht"
"Du hast mir Glück gebracht"

You are right Jason "Was machst du glücklich?" doesn't work but it's actually saying "What are you doing happy?
"Du hasse mich," should be "du hasst mich".

Lieben Gruß 

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