The 4 cases in German – Part 4 – The accusative case.

In the final part of this series I explain how we use the accusative case or “Akkusativ” in German.

In the last part I talked about how we use the dative case and today I focus on the accusative case.

What is the accusative case?

We use the accusative case to show the direct object of a verb, which is either the thing, the person or  animal affected by the action of that verb.


Sie gibt der Katze ein Schälchen mit Milch  –  She gives the cat a saucer with milk.

You ask what does she give the cat? Answer: a saucer with milk.

Er gab ihr einen Kuss.  – He gave her a kiss.

What did he give her – einen Kuss.

To identify the direct object in German we ask: Wen oder was? Whom or what?


The accusative case is also used with certain prepositions such as:

für – for, to

ohne – without

durch – through

gegen – against, around

um – around, round about, at (time) or by (quantity)

wider – contrary

entlang  – along


Er geht nie ohne seinen Regenschirm aus dem Haus. – He never leaves the house without his umbrella.

Ich würde alles für dich tun. – I would do everything for you.

Haben Sie etwas gegen Kopfschmerzen? – Have you got something for headaches?

Sie mussten durch einen Tunnel fahren.  – They had to drive through a tunnel.

Die Film beginnt um 10 Uhr. – The film starts at 10 pm.

Die Tomaten sind um 30 Cents teurer als beim Aldi. – The tomatoes are more expensive by 30 cents than at Aldi’s.

Das war wider seiner Natur – It was against his nature.

The accusative case 1

The accusative case is also used after prepositions of place when movement is involved.

These include:

zwischen -between

auf – on, in, to, at

hinter – behind

in – in , into, to

unter – under, among

über – over, across, above

vor – in front of, before

neben – next to, beside

an – on, to , at


Sie stellte die Blumenvase auf den Tisch. – She put the vase on the table.

Er parkte sein Auto neben ihres. – He parked his car next to hers.

Die Katze sprang auf den Tisch. – The cat jumped on the table.


Note: when there is no movement involved after these preposition we use the dative case.

Example for the dative:

Er sitzt neben dem Bücherregal.  – He is sitting next to the bookcase.

Some prepositions are followed by both cases.

When movement towards a different place is involved we use the accusative case.

When a location is described or there is movement within the same place we use the dative case.

We use the accusative case also in expressions of time and place which have no preposition and in set expressions.


Jeden Mittwoch geht sie schwimmen. – Every Wednesday she goes swimming.

Die Bushaltestelle war einen Kilometer vom Haus entfernt. – The bus stop was a kilometre away from the house.

Examples for set expressions:

Guten Morgen! – Good morning!

Vielen Dank! – Thank you very much!


How do we use the accusative case?

The definite and indefinite articles change in the accusative case thus:

Masculine: der Junge/ein Junge  –  den /einen Jungen – the boy – a boy

Feminine: die/eine – die Frau/eine Frau – the women – a woman

Neuter: das/ ein – das Pferd/ ein Pferd – the horse – a horse


The accusative case 2

And that’s it for this short grammar series.

I hope you found it useful. Make sure to practice your grammar with exercises. 🙂

Thank you for reading.

Helen x



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