English also has cases, but they are only
apparent with pronouns, not with nouns, as in German.
When "he" changes to "him" in English,
that's exactly the same thing that happens when der
changes to den in German (and er changes to ihn). This
allows German to have more flexibility in word order,
as in the examples below, in which the nominative (subject)
case is blue:
Der Hund beißt den Mann. The dog bites the man.
Den Mann beißt der Hund. The dog bites the man.
Beißt der Hund den Mann? Is the dog biting the
Beißt den Mann der Hund? Is the dog biting the
Since English does not have the same case markers (der/den),
it must depend on word order. If you say "Man bites
dog" in English, rather than "Dog bites man,"
you change the meaning. In German the word order can
be changed for emphasis (as above) without altering
the basic meaning.
English also has cases, but they are only apparent
with pronouns, not with nouns, as in German. This section
of our summary is devoted to the German personal pronouns,
which also take on different forms (i.e., are "declined")
in the various cases. Just as nominative "I"
changes to objective "me" in English, nominative
ich changes to accusative mich in German. Oberve the
following German-English examples in which the pronouns
Er (der Hund) beißt den Mann.
He (the dog) bites the man.
Ihn (den Mann) hat der Hund gebissen.
The dog bit him (the man).
Wen hat er gebissen?
Whom did he bite?
Wer ist das?
Who is that?
Du hast mich doch gesehen?
You did see me (didn't you)?
Die hat keine Ahnung.
She/That one has no idea.
Most of the German personal pronouns have different
forms in each of the four cases, but it can be helpful
to observe that some (similar to English "you")
do not always change. An example is "she"/sie
(also "they"/sie and "you"/Sie).
This pronoun, regardless of its meaning, remains the
same in the nominative and accusative cases. In the
dative it changes to ihnen/Ihnen, while the possessive
(genitive) form is ihr/Ihr. Two German pronouns use
the same form in both the accusative and the dative
(uns, euch). The third-person pronouns (he, she, it)
follow the rule that only the masculine gender shows
any change in the accusative case. Neither neuter es
nor feminine sie changes. But in the dative case, all
of the pronouns take on uniquely dative forms.
Info about studying German language:
- Learn German in Austria: Young and dynamic agency born with the aim of connecting schools and students from all over the world. Find here more information about German language schools and German language courses in Austria.
Info about studying in German countries:
- Guide to Study in Austria: Find universities and colleges in Austria. It offers also pratical information for students that are planning to study in Austria.