Nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, what exactly are these related to grammar?

1 Answer
Feb 1, 2017




Nominative, accusative, dative and genitive are all grammatical cases.

They vary in function in different languages.

Here is what they look like in English:

nominative - subject

e.g. I ate some pie.

Here, I would be in the nominative since it is I that was doing the verb (eating).

accusative - direct object

e.g. Do you have money?

Here, money would be in the accusative since it is the pet that the verb is being done to- the pet is owned by the person.

dative - indirect object

e.g. I bought a horse for my friend.

Here, the dative is 'for my friend'. The reason why this is not in the accusative is that I am buying a horse (the direct object in this sentence), rather than my friend.

genitive - possession

e.g. The boy's balloon is gone.

This case is easier to notice since the word itself usually changes. "'s" is added to the nominative word, so 'the boy -> the boy's'. Personal pronouns also change (e.g.he, she, it -> his, her, its).

It is worth saying that cases only affect nouns in English, though in other languages they can affect adjectives.