Accusative Verbs in German (Verben mit Akkusativ)

In the German language, certain verbs always require an object in the accusative case. These verbs, known as “accusative verbs,” directly affect the object in the sentence, necessitating the use of the accusative case. In this section, we will delve into a list of common German accusative verbs and explore their usage with examples.

Understanding Accusative Verbs in German

German, unlike English, has four cases: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. Each case has a different role and function in a sentence, as shown in Table 1.1:

NominativeSubjectTakes action
AccusativeDirect objectReceives action
DativeIndirect objectTo/for whom action is taken
GenitivePossessiveIndicates the owner of someone or something
Table 1.1

❗Note: In English, there are just two cases: the subject (nominative) and the object (accusative & dative combined into “the objective case”).

In German, the direct object, which is the person or thing receiving the action of the verb, is usually expressed in the accusative case. However, certain verbs require the direct object to be in the dative case. In this lesson, we will only be focusing on the verbs that require the accusative case.

You can find the direct object in English by finding the verb and asking, “What or whom?”. Similarly, in German, we find the accusative case by asking “was” or “wen” to the verb.

wen (whom)was (what)
Table 1.2
  • Subject + verb + direct object (Accusative)
    • Step 1 ➡️ Find the verb!
    • Step 2 ➡️ Ask, “What (was)” or “Whom (wen)”
      • 🇩🇪 Harry mäht das Gras. (was)
      • 🇺🇸 Harry mows the grass. (what)
      • 🇩🇪 Jane gießt die Blumen. (was)
      • 🇺🇸 Jane waters the flowers. (what)
      • 🇩🇪 Ich habe den Hund gefüttert. (was)
      • 🇺🇸 I fed the dog. (what)
      • 🇩🇪 John hat Sarah zu der Party eingeladen. (wen)
      • 🇺🇸 John invited Sarah to the party. (whom)

In German, certain verbs specifically require an “accusative object” (Akkusativobjekt). This means that when you encounter these verbs in a sentence, you will know that they will be accompanied by a direct object. The most common of these verbs are listed in Table 1.3.

abschließento close
anhaltento stop
anrufento call
anschauento look at
aufmachento open
backento bake
bekommento receive
beratento advise
besuchento visit
bezahlento pay
brauchento need
einladento invite
erfindento invent
essento eat
findento find
fragento ask
habento have
heiratento marry
holento fetch
hörento hear
kennento know
kaufento buy
legento lay
lernento learn
lesento read
machento make
mögento like
nehmento take
sehento see
sprechento speak
suchento look for
trinkento drink
öffnento open
verstehento understand
wählento choose
Table 1.3 – Accusative Verbs in German
  1. Sehen (to see)
    • 🇩🇪 Ich sehe den Hund.
    • 🇺🇸 I see the dog.
  2. Hören (to hear)
    • 🇩🇪 Ich höre die Musik.
    • 🇺🇸 I hear the music.
  3. Finden (to find)
    • 🇩🇪 Sie findet das Buch.
    • 🇺🇸 She finds the book.
  4. Essen (to eat)
    • 🇩🇪 Er isst einen Apfel.
    • 🇺🇸 He eats an apple.
  5. Trinken (to drink)
    • 🇩🇪 Wir trinken das Wasser.
    • 🇺🇸 We drink the water.


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