by Thomas Sims
A grammar category of case is represented in different languages by the inflected forms of a noun, adjective, pronoun or prepositions, as well as with the certain word order in a sentence. The case expresses the semantic relation of the word to other words in the sentence.
Syntactic relations that are expressed by a case, usually have semantic and sometimes communicative meaning. However, there are cases of semantically degenerate syntactic relations, when a case does not bear any meaning and expresses only the fact of syntactical relation of inflected word with other element (elements) of the sentence structure.
The main object of theoretical grammar different lanuages are case categories of nouns (and other substantive words, such as pronouns, cardinal numerals etc), which have complicated system of functions and meanings.
In Old English there were nominative, vocative, genitive, dative, accusative, and instrumental cases of nouns. Over time, they lost value and merged into subjective (nominative), objective (accusative) and possessive (genitive) cases in modern English language.
A noun does not change its form in any of the cases except of the possessive case. A pronoun, however, changes its form in all the cases, so it requires addional attention. In the table 1 you will find cases of English pronouns.
|Nominative (subject)||Accusative (object)||Genitive (possessive)|
Possessive case of English nouns is formed by the addition of an apostrophe with or without adding an “s”:
Bob Miller’s house, Martha’s book, students’ tests.
In Italian language there are four cases, that describe functions of nouns, pronouns and noun phrases, marking whether they are the subject or a subordinate object in the clause. All the cases in Italian language are conveyed by prepositions and pronouns in one of their grammatical forms.
The nominative case in Italian language (also called subjective) marks the subject in a sentence.
|III||Lui, Lei||He, She
(people and objects)
The objective case is used for pronouns, which function as objects. It is also could be combined with the accusative or dative cases.
|I||a me||a noi|
|II||a te||a voi|
The accusative case deals with direct objects.
The indirect objects in the sentence are marked with dative case.
German language has only 4 cases: nominative, genitive, dative and accusative. The cases in German language affect the changes in endings of adjectives, indefinite articles and also the use of personal pronouns.
The nominative case answers to questions “Who?” (wer?) and “What?” (was?).
Das Baby schläft. ⇨ Who sleeps?
Es ist eine schöne Blume. ⇨ What is beautiful?
The genitive case is German language answers to question “Whose?” (wessen?) and is used to show relations of possession/belonging.
Die Tasche der Frau ist schwarz. ⇨ Whose bag is black?
Das Haus des Mannes ist hoch. ⇨ Whose house is high?
The dative case marks the indirect object of a verb and answers the question “Whom?” (wem?)
Er hilft die Mutter beim Putzen. ⇨ Whom did he help to clean?
There are several prepositions, which are always used with Dative case:
mit, nach, aus, zu von, bei.
meiner Meinung nach ⇨ in my view
aus dem Weg gehen ⇨ keep out of the way
Note: in the genitive case, -s is added to masculine and neuter nouns ending in: en, el or er.
der Lehrer → des Lehrers
der Geldbeutel → des Geldbeutels
das Eisen → des Eisens
and -es is added to the most masculine and neuter nouns of one syllable ending in a consonant.
der Mann → des Mannes
das Pferd → des Pferdes
The accusative case describes the person, the animal or the thing that is directly affected by the predicate of the sentence. The accusative case gives answer to “What?” (was?), “Who?” (wen?) and “Where?” (wohin?) question.
Ich sehe das Auto. ⇨ What do I see?
Wir haben die Suppe gegessen. ⇨ What have we eaten?
Er hat ein Bild gemacht. ⇨ What has he made?
The prepositions bis (before), durch (through), für (for), gegen (around, opposite, to), ohne (withous), um (about, around) are always followed by accusative case.
bis zum Ende ⇨ until the end
durch den Wald ⇨ through the forest
Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe ⇨ Many thanks for your help
gegen Uhrzeigersinn ⇨ counterclockwise
Thomas Sims is the treacher of the Italian language. Also he knows Japanese, Russian and a bit of German. Permanently works as an editor at EduBirdie writing service.