Declension of the Nominative

Introduction

Nominative = first case

The nominative is the basic form of a noun. The subject of a sentence is in the nominative case – it is the thing or person performing the action.

Example

Der Fußball liegt im Gras.

Den Fußball hat der Junge zum Geburtstag bekommen.

Der Junge will einmal Profifußballer werden.

Usage

  • subject of a sentence
    Example:
    Der Fußball liegt im Gras.The football is lying in the grass.
    Den Fußball hat der Junge zum Geburtstag bekommen.The boy received the football for his birthday.
    Der Junge will einmal Profifußballer werden.The boy wants to become a football pro someday.
  • predicate noun
    There’s often a noun in the nominative form after the verbs sein/werden/bleiben – this is, however, not the real subject of the sentence, but rather a predicate (it assigns a characteristic to the subject).
    Example:
    Der Junge will einmal Profifußballer werden.The boy wants to become a football pro someday.

Construction

definite articleindefinite article
masculine der Vater ein Vater
feminine die Mutter eine Mutter
neuter das Kind ein Kind
plural die Eltern Eltern

Exceptions

  • In the plural, we do not use an indefinite article.
    Example:
    nette Elternnice parents

To Note

The subject is often found at the beginning of a sentence, but it can also be in the middle of the sentence (see sentence construction). We can find the subject by asking the question “Who/What is performing the action?”

Example:
Der Fußball liegt im Gras.The football is lying in the grass.
(Question: Wer/Was liegt im Gras? – der FußballWho/What is lying in the grass? – The football.)
Den Fußball hat der Junge zum Geburtstag bekommen.The boy received the football for his birthday.
(Question: Wer/Was hat den Fußball zum Geburtstag bekommen? – der JungeWho/What received the football for his birthday? – The boy.)

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