Have you been struggling with the German cases? If yes, you have reached the right place! In this post, we will be taking you through the accusative case in German. The case is known as der Akkusativ in German.
We already know that there are four cases in German. They are Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ and Genetiv. The nominative case is used for subjects, accusative case for direct objects, dative case for indirect objects and the genitive case is used to signify possession or belonging.
We have already introduced you to the 4 cases in German in this post. If you are a German language beginner, make sure you check the article before going through this one.
If you want to learn about the other 3 German cases in detail, check out the lessons here –
1. Nominative Case in German
2. Dative Case in German
3. Genitive Case in German
What is the Accusative Case in German?
The accusative case describes the direct object of a sentence. Direct object is a person or thing that is acted upon. It is known as der Akkusativ in German.
This case answers the question “whom?” or “wen?” and “what?” or “was?”. The question is asked to the subject.
Definite and Indefinite Articles in the German Accusative Case
The German Definite Articles in Accusative Case
A definite article is used before a noun when the reader or listener knows exactly what is being referred to. It normally points out to a specific person or thing. In English, “the” is a definite article. Example – The man is suffering from cold. Here, a specific man is suffering from cold.
Examples of the bestimmter Artikel or definite articles in the accusative case in German are -: den Hut 👒 – the hat, die Bluse 👚 – the blouse, das T-Shirt 👕 – the T-shirt, die Blumen 💐- the flowers.
Erica mag den Hut. -> Erica likes the hat.
Erica mag die Bluse. -> Erica likes the blouse.
Erica mag das T-Shirt. -> Erica likes the T-Shirt.
Erica mag die Blumen. -> Erica likes the flowers.
The German Indefinite Articles in Accusative Case
An indefinite article is used when we talk or write about an indefinite person or thing. In English, “a” and “an” are indefinite articles. Example – A man is suffering from cold. Here, a man could be any man.
In English, for the plural form, we do not say “I buy an apples.” or “I buy a grapes.”, as it is incorrect. We only say “I buy apples.” or “I buy grapes”. Similarly, in German there is no indefinite article for the plural forms.
Indefinite article in the accusative case in German for the masculine gender is “einen“, for the feminine form it is “eine” and for the neuter gender it is “ein“. There is no plural form.
Examples of the unbestimmter Artikel or indefinite articles in the German accusative case are -: einen Hamburger 🍔 – a hamburger, eine Wohnung 🏠 – an apartment, ein Buch 📓- a book.
Er nimmt einen Hamburger. -> He takes a hamburger.
Wir kaufen eine Wohnung. -> We buy an apartment.
Ich lese ein Buch. -> I am reading a book.
|Definite Article / Bestimmter Artikel||Indefinite Article / Unbestimmter Artikel|
Negative Articles in the Accusative Case in German
Negative articles are used to negate nouns. Although in the plural case we don’t have an indefinite article, we do have a negative article “kein” in case of the negations. Below are examples for each gender.
Hast du einen Bleistift? -> 🖊️ (Do you have a pencil?) [der Bleistift]
Nein, ich habe keinen Bleistift. (No, I don’t have a pencil.)
Ich habe einen Kuli. (I have a pen.) [der Kuli]
Hast du eine Lizenz? -> 💳 (Do you have a license?) [die Lizenz]
Nein, ich habe keine Lizenz. (No, I do not have a license.)
Ich habe eine Kreditkarte. (I have a credit card.) [die Kreditkarte]
Hast du ein Ei? -> 🥚 ( Do you have an egg?) [das Ei]
Nein, ich habe kein Ei. (No, I don’t have an egg.)
Ich habe ein Eis. (I have an ice cream.) [das Eis]
Isst du Eier? -> 🥚🥚🥚 (Do you eat eggs?) [Pl. die Eier]
Nein, ich esse keine Eier. (No, I don’t eat eggs.)
Ich esse Würstchen. (I eat sausages.) [Pl. die Würstchen]
Indefinite Pronouns in the Accusative Case in German
There are a few pronouns which refer to persons or things in a general way, but they do not refer to a specific person or thing. These are called the indefinite pronouns. In English, these pronouns are one, none, all, some, many, few, nobody, anybody etc. Example– One hardly knows what to do. / Few escaped unhurt. / Do good to others. / All were drowned.
In German, some of the indefinite pronouns which can be used to express an indefinite number are “jed-“, “ein-“,”kein-“,”all-“,”viel-” and “wenig-“. The endings of these stems will depend on the gender and cases.
Other indefinite pronouns in their accusative form include:
einen [one] – to talk about people in general. Verbs are used in singular form when man is used in a sentence.
jemanden [someone] – to talk about an indefinite person.
niemanden [nobody] – to refer to nobody or no one.
etwas [something] – to talk about an indefinite object or thing.
nichts [nothing] – to refer to no object or thing.
Personal Pronouns in the German Accusative Case
A pronoun is a word which is used instead of a noun or for a noun. A personal pronoun is a word which replaces a person or a thing. For example, if you talk about Anita who is running late due to traffic, it would be appropriate to say “Anita is running late, because she is stuck in traffic.” rather than “Anita is running late, because Anita is stuck in traffic.”
Der Fremde hat ihn etwas gefragt. (The stranger asked him something.)
Kannst du mich verstehen? (Can you understand me?)
Reflexive Pronouns in the German Accusative Case
Reflexive pronouns are used to refer back to the subject of the sentence. German reflexive verbs use the reflexive pronouns, which mean “oneself”. For example, sich ausruhen, sich duschen, sich rasieren etc.
Ich wasche mich. (I wash myself.)
Er rasiert sich. (He shaves himself.)
Following are the reflexive pronouns in the accusative case in German :-
Possessive Pronouns in the Accusative Case in German
Possessive pronouns show that something belongs to someone. It shows possession or belonging. Examples in English are : his, hers, yours, theirs, ours, mine etc. A possessive pronoun is used without a noun.
My jeans were more expensive than hers.
Meine Jeans war teurer als ihre.
Possessive Articles in the Accusative Case in German
Possessive articles, similar to possessive pronouns show possession or ownership. The difference is that possessive articles are used before nouns.
I have lost my key.
Ich habe meinen Schlüssel verloren.
|my||meinen Bruder||meine Mutter||mein Buch||meine Blumen|
|your||deinen Bruder||deine Mutter||dein Buch||deine Blumen|
|his||seinen Bruder||seine Mutter||sein Buch||seine Blumen|
|her||ihren Bruder||ihre Mutter||ihr Buch||ihre Blumen|
|it||seinen Bruder||seine Mutter||sein Buch||seine Blumen|
|our||unseren Bruder||unsere Mutter||unser Buch||unsere Blumen|
|your||eueren Bruder||eure Mutter||euer Buch||eure Blumen|
|their||ihren Bruder||ihre Mutter||ihr Buch||ihre Blumen|
|your (formal)||Ihren Bruder||Ihre Mutter||Ihr Buch||Ihre Blumen|
Question Word “Welch-” in the German Accusative Case
“Welch-” is a commonly used interrogative pronoun in German. It is used to ask question about a person or thing. It replaces a person or a thing. This question word takes endings similar to definite articles.
Which skirt do you find better?
Welchen Rock findest du besser?
|Question Word “Welch-“|
Demonstrative Pronouns in the German Accusative Case
Demonstrative pronouns are used to point out the objects or things they refer to clearly. Words such as this, that or those are used in English as demonstrative adjectives. Demonstrative pronouns are used directly, without a noun.
Which skirt do you find better? -> This.
Welchen Rock findest du besser? -> diesen/den
|Masculine||Welchen Hut?||diesen / den|
|Feminine||Welche Socke?||diese / die|
|Neuter||Welches T-Shirt?||dieses / das|
|Plural||Welche Jacken?||diese / die|
Demonstrative Articles in the German Accusative Case
Demonstrative articles, similar to demonstrative pronouns are used to point out the objects or things they refer to clearly. The difference between the two is that demonstrative articles are used before a noun.
Which hat do you find better? -> This hat.
Welchen Hut findest du besser? -> diesen/den Hut.
|Masculine||Welchen Hut?||diesen / den Hut|
|Feminine||Welche Socke?||diese / die Socke|
|Neuter||Welches T-Shirt?||dieses / das T-Shirt|
|Plural||Welche Jacken?||diese / die Jacken|
Adjective Endings in the Accusative Case in German
An adjective is a word that describes the noun. When adjectives are used to describe a particular noun, they take the adjective endings. In English, there are no adjective endings.
Neu is the adjective below which has been given an ending based on the gender of the noun Bleistift (der) which is masculine.
Do you have a new pencil?
Hast du einen neuen Bleistift? (der Bleistift)
Schön is the adjective below which has been given an ending based on the gender of the noun Jacke (die) which is feminine.
She is wearing a beautiful jacket.
Sie trägt eine schöne Jacke. (die Jacke)
Rot is the adjective below which has been given an ending based on the gender of the noun Auto (das) which is neuter.
The red car belongs to me.
Das rote Auto gehört mir. (das Auto)
Alt is the adjective below which has been given an ending based on the gender of the noun Bücher (die) which is plural.
He has the old books.
Er hat die alten Bücher. (Pl. die Bücher)
|Definite Article||Indefinite Article||Without Article|
|Masculine||den netten Mann||einen netten Mann||netten Mann|
|Feminine||die schöne Frau||eine schöne Frau||schöne Frau|
|Neuter||das kleine Kind||ein kleines Kind||kleines Kind|
|Plural||die alten Bücher||– alte Bücher||alte Bücher|
Relative Pronouns in the German Accusative Case
A relative pronoun is a word which is used to refer to nouns mentioned previously or in a previous sentence. Relative pronouns can be used to join two sentences. Some of the relative pronouns in the English language are which, that, whose, whoever, whomever, who, and whom.
I have found the pen. I lost the pen.
I have found the pen which I lost.
Similarly in German, depending on each case and the gender of the nouns, relative pronouns can be used instead of the nouns. Below is an example as well as a table of relative pronouns in the accusative case in German.
Ich habe den Kuli gefunden. Ich hatte den Kuli verloren. (der Kuli)
Ich habe den Kuli gefunden, den ich verloren hatte.
- That is the man we are talking about.
Das ist der Mann, über den wir sprechen. (der Mann)
We will be elaborating on this topic in the future posts soon so don’t forget to come back and check how to build relative sentences!
Prepositions in the Accusative Case in German
Below is a list of accusative prepositions. The nouns and pronouns following these prepositions will always be in the accusative case. For more information on this, check out our lesson “Learn German Prepositions the Easy Way.”
German Verbs which take the Accusative Case
Majority of the verbs take the accusative case. We have already written a lesson on this topic “70 Basic Dative Verbs and Accusative Verbs in German” so don’t forget to check it out! Some of the German accusative verbs are as follows :-
|suchen||to search / seek|
|kaufen||to buy / purchase|
|haben||to have / possess|
|möchten||wish / would like (to)|
|finden||to find something|
|es gibt||there is|
|buchen||to book something|
|tragen||to wear / carry|
German Accusative Case Summary
Save this picture to learn everything about the accusative case in German together!