German Cases

The topic of the German cases is probably the most fundamental (and tricky) of all grammar topics in the German language.

Many of you ask WHY does der sometimes change to den, dem oder des?

Good news though, we only have 4 cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive 😄

In this article I will teach you:

  • How to identify the direct object, indirect objection, and possession
  • How to use my German cases chart
  • How to apply the German cases with my podcast
  • Exercise about the German cases

I have put some thought into creating this chart that explains the German cases. I will explain in more detail, but in the meantime feel free to print it out and stick it to your window.

Nominativ case

The Nominativ case is used for the subject of the sentence. The subject of the sentence is the person, animal, or thing that is doing the action.


Der Mann kauft einen Kaffee.

Here “der Mann” is the subject, because he is doing the action. And therefore we use the Nominativ case.

Make sure that you are using the correct German articles.

Listen to my podcast to learn more about the cases.

Akkusativ Case

The Akkusativ case is about the direct object.


Die Frau kauft einen Kuchen. (The women is buying a cake)

Here “der Kuchen” is the direct object, because cake is the thing that is being bought. It receives the action.

We also have certain prepositions that are follow by the Akkusativ case. These are: für, ohne, gegen, durch, um, bis, entlang


Ich spiele gegen den Mann.

Dativ case

The Dativ case is signaling about the indirect object. Think about: to whom or for whom is the action being done.

Some verbs are always followed by the dative case.


Ich gebe der Frau eine Blume.

Here “der Frau” is in the Dativ case because something is done for the woman. To whom do I give the flower? The woman.

Nominativ: die Frau > Dativ: der Frau

Genitiv Case

This case shows possession or belonging.


Das Haus des Mannes befindet sich in Berlin. (The house of the man is located in Berlin.)

There are also prepositions that are followed by the Genitiv case.

german cases exercises

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