Accusative Case in German (der Akkusativ)

In this lesson, we will focus on the accusative case in German.

Accusative Case in German

German cases describe a noun or a pronoun’s grammatical role in a sentence. First, take a quick look at the roles of the cases in German shown in Table 1.1:

subjecttakes action
direct objectreceives action
indirect objectto/for whom action is taken
possessiveindicates the owner of someone or something
Table 1.1

The accusative case in German is the equivalent of the direct object in English and shows us who or what is affected by the action in a sentence.

Der Mann (Nomiative case) hat einen Hund (Accusative case).
The man has a dog.

“Der Mann” is a subject doing the action in the nominative case. As you know, subjects conjugate verbs. So in this sentence, “haben” is conjugated “by der Mann”. “Einen Hund” is a direct object affected by the subject’s action, which is why it is accusative.

❗ You can find the direct object in German by finding the verb and asking, “wen (whom) or was (what)”.

Julia liebt ihren Mann. (Wen liebt Julia?)
Julia loves her husband. (Whom does Julia love?)
Ich habe einen Hund. (Was hast du?)
I have a dog. (What do you have?)

❗ The primary function of the accusative case in German is to mark the direct object (direktes Object = Akkusativobjekt) of transitive verbs.

Er hat einen Hund
He has a dog.

❗ Accusative is also used with accusative prepositions.

Ich habe einen Tasche für meinen Bruder.
I have a bag for my brother.

❗ Accusative case is can be used with time expressions (mit Zeitangaben)

Jeden Tag gehe ich joggen.
Every day I go jogging.

Some of them are shown in Table 1.2:

jeden Tagevery day
jeden Morgenevery morning
letzten Sommerlast summer
diesen Winterthis winter
den ganzen Abendthe whole evening
Table 1.2

❗ Verbs with accusative case (verben mit Akkusativ) are used in the accusative.

-Ich habe einen Hund
I have a dog.
-Ich möchte eine Cola
I would like a cola
-Ich nehme einen Hamburger.
I’ll have a hamburger.

Some German accusative verbs are shown in Table 1.3:

suchento search
findento find
kaufento buy
lesento read
besuchento visit
bestellento order
trinkento drink
essento eat
Table 1.3

German articles change in the accusative case is shown in Table 1.4:

Table 1.4 – Articles in the accusative case

Object in the accusative case can be a person (Person) or a thing (Sache), and also it can be singular or plural:

Thomas sieht KoJo.
Thomas sees KoJo.
Thomas sieht einen Papagei.
Thomas sees a parrot.
Thomas sieht seinen Papagei.
Thomas sees his parrot.
Thomas sieht ihn.
Thomas sees him.


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