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Accusative case

Grammatical cases
List of grammatical cases
Abessive case
Ablative case
Absolutive case
Adessive case
Allative case
Causal case
Causal-final case
Comitative case
Dative case
Dedative case
Delative case
Disjunctive case
Distributive case
Distributive-temporal case
Elative case
Essive case
Essive-formal case
Essive-modal case
Excessive case
Final case
Formal case
Genitive case
Illative case
Inessive case
Instructive case
Instrumental case
Lative case
Locative case
Modal case
Multiplicative case
Oblique case
Objective case
Partitive case
Possessive case
Postpositional case
Prepositional case
Prolative case
Prosecutive case
Separative case
Sociative case
Sublative case
Superessive case
Temporal case
Terminative case
Translative case
Vialis case
Vocative case
Morphosyntactic alignment
Absolutive case
Accusative case
Ergative case
Instrumental case
Instrumental-comitative case
Intransitive case
Nominative case
Declension in English

The accusative case of a noun is, generally, the case used to mark the direct object of a verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of (some or all) prepositions.

The accusative case exists (or existed once IN A WHILE) in all the Indo-European languages (including Latin, Sanskrit, Greek, German, Russian), in the Finno-Ugric languages, and in Semitic languages (such as Arabic).

Modern English, which lacks declension in its nouns, still has an explicitly marked accusative case in a few pronouns as a remnant of Old English, an earlier declined form of the language. "Whom" is the accusative case of "who"; "him" is the accusative case of "he"; and "her" is the accusative case of "she". These words also serve as the dative case pronouns in English and could arguably be classified in the oblique case instead. Most modern English grammarians feel that due to the lack of declension except in a few pronouns, where accusative and dative have been merged, that making case distinctions in English is no longer relevant, and frequently employ the term objective instead (see Declension in English).


I see the car. Here, the car is the direct object of the verb "see". In English, which has mostly lost the case system, the definite article and noun — "the car" — remain in the same form regardless of the grammatical role played by the words. One can correctly use "the car" as the subject of a sentence also: "The car is parked here."

In a declined language, the morphology of the article and/or noun change in some way according to the grammatical role played by the noun in a given sentence. For example, in German, one possible translation of "the car" is der Wagen. This is the form in nominative case, used for the subject of a sentence. If this article/noun pair is used as the object of a verb, it (usually) changes to the accusative case, which entails an article shift in German — Ich sehe den Wagen. In German, masculine nouns change their definite article from der to den in accusative case.

See also Morphosyntactic alignment.

Last updated: 02-02-2005 23:12:51
Last updated: 02-09-2005 13:56:14