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German Grammar


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 man?
Beißt den Mann der Hund? Is the dog biting the man?

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 are blue:

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.