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I really thought it funny how English has so few cases and so I decided to give a brief explanation about this. The three cases in English are [NOM] or nominative, [GEN] or genitive and [ACC] or accusative. Generally, grammar books explain in great detail when to use them, but I found that it is easier with fewer rules. So, generative grammar helps here. Nominative is used for the subjects of finite clauses - I am here. We love biscuits. He spoke to me. Genitive is used for possessors - That's my hat. She's his mother. Accusative is the default case and is used everywhere else - Give her the book. I spoke to him about it. This is for him. For him to be absent... So, basically, the rule for Case assignment is as follows: If it's a subject of a finite clause/ verb, assign feature [NOM]. If it's a possessor, assign [GEN]. Everywhere else, assign [ACC]. This then covers a whole range of situations where accusative appears, including direct and indirect object (in English, it appears that accusative has taken over the role of dative as well) and the subjects of non-finite clauses with preposition for, as well as the prepositional objects (to me, for him).
tomincognito posted a topic in General Discussion about Language LearningHello all, New to the forum here, hope you don't think my question is stupid so I'll try to explain. In England we don't actually learn English grammar, so I've always felt it's more difficult to learn foreign languages. Especially in my own experience of learning German where the grammar system is so much more complex. Four cases and 16 situation dependent versions of the word 'the'... I want to know: Are German speakers actually aware whether a sentence is accusative, nominative, genitive or dative as they say it? Do they know instinctively if something is the subject, object, indirect object etc, and form their sentences instantly according to the case? OR, is it mostly learned whilst growing up, through repetition and context? I basically, would love to find a new way to learn that involves minimal grinding of the grammar terminology... much of which is somewhat alien to me because English grammar was never taught. If anyone could share any resources or tips to learn by context or examples you will have my sincere gratitude! And if anyone can empathise and understand where I'm coming from that would be nice as well. I want to take the next step with my German education but I feel stuck and confused about how best to push on. Thanks all! Tom