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Noun Gender




Adjectival Nouns

Adjective Endings



Grammar Review Home

Dartmouth German
    Studies Department

In English:

In standard English, the subject of a sentence is in the nominative case, which is marked either by word order or by certain forms of personal pronoun (I, we, he, she, and they). Thus the difference between "Dog bites man" and "Man bites dog" is clear, as is the difference between "I see her" and "She sees me."

There is also an official "predicate nominative," although it is rarely used in colloquial speech: "It is I," "If I were she."

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In German:

German marks case in a variety of ways, with word order being the least important. The nominative personal pronouns are:

 ich = I  wir = we
 du = you  ihr = y'all 
   Sie = you 
 er = he
 sie = she
 es = it
 sie =they 

Four further nominative pronouns are man, jemand, keiner, and wer:

Man sagt das nicht. One doesn't say that.
Das kann man nie wissen. One can never know that.
Jemand soll ihr helfen. Someone should help her.
Ihn kennt keiner. No one knows him.
Wer wohnt hier? Who lives here?
Ich weiß nicht, wer das gesagt hat.   I don't know who said that.

Articles and adjective endings also mark the nominative case. Note that the adjective endings depend not only on gender, but also on whether they follow a "der-word," an "ein-word" or no article at all:1

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
der rote Stuhl die neue Lampe das alte Buch die roten Stühle
kein roter Stuhl keine neue Lampe kein altes Buch keine neuen Lampen
roter Stuhl neue Lampe altes Buch alte Bücher

The nominative case is used in five settings:

1 The so-called "der-words" are the articles der, die, das; dies-, jed-, jen-, manch-, solch-, welch-. The "ein-words" are ein, kein, and the possessive pronouns: mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr, ihr.

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