Now that you’ve mastered the nominative, let’s have a look at the German accusative. The German accusative is used for the direct object of a sentence. The direct object is a person, animal or thing the action of the sentence is happening to, or being acted upon.
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Paul liebt Anna.
Paul loves Anna.
In this example “Anna” is the direct object, “Paul” is the subject and “loves” is the action. As you know you can use the questions “who” (“wer”) or “what” (“was”) in the nominative case to find out what the subject of the sentence is.
The questions for the accusative are “whom” (“wen”) or “ what” (“was”). In German the accusative is also called the “whom-case” (“der Wenfall”).
The masculine articles “der” and “ein” change when used in the accusative. “Der” turns into “den” and “ein” into “einen”. Feminine articles (“die” and “eine”) and neuter articles (“das” and “ein”) don’t change. Here is an example to make it more clear:
Die Frau liebt den Mann.
The woman loves the man.
Whom does the woman love? The man. In this sentence “den Mann” (the man) is the person the action is happening to, therefore “den Mann” is accusative. Even without asking the “whom ” question you can see that “den Mann” is accusative because “der” changed into “den”.
You might wonder why “ein Buch” doesn’t change into “einen Buch”. This is because the noun “Buch” is neuter (“das Buch”). Only masculine articles change in the accusative.
Paul mag den Rotwein.
Paul likes the red wine.
Das Kind kauft einen Apfel.
The child buys an apple.
Sarah trinkt einen Tee.
Sarah is drinking a tea.
Sandra liest ein Buch.
Sandra is reading a book.
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Paul Weber: Rocket German
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!