Better German Podcast with Susi

Susanne Schilk-Blümel

Episode 36 - Introduction to German Cases Part 2

The Names and Basic Usages of the 4 German Cases (Fälle)

2024-05-15 13 min

Description & Show Notes

In this episode you will learn the names and basic usages of each of the four cases of the German language.
Want to learn German without worrying about cases: Better German with Susi Beginner Course

In this episode of Better German, host Susi Blumel continues her mini-series on cases in the German language. She emphasizes the importance of understanding cases, while also acknowledging the challenges they may pose to beginners. Susi breaks down the four cases in German - nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative - providing a brief explanation of each and offering insights into their usage. She also hints at a cheat sheet for a clearer understanding of cases and invites listeners to sign up for the newsletter to stay updated. In the next episode, she promises to delve into how specific prepositions in German correspond to different cases. If you're struggling with German cases, this episode is a must-listen!

Key Points
Primary Topic: Introduction to Cases
- Importance of understanding cases in learning German
- Recognition of challenges for beginners when encountering cases
- Overview of different types of cases in the German language
Primary Topic: The 4 Cases in German
  - Nominative case (basic form, naming the subject)
  - Genitive case (possession, something belonging to or with someone)
  - Dative case (used when an action goes over to something, after the verb)
  - Accusative case (used for the object of the sentence)
Primary Topic: Learning Sequence of Cases
  - Suggested learning sequence for cases in German language
  - Discussion of learning priorities for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students
Primary Topic: Determining the Case to be Used
  - Understanding what determines which case is used
  - Emphasis on the accusative case as the most frequently used case
Primary Topic: Verbs and Cases
  - Relation between verbs and cases 
  - Focus on how most verbs use the accusative case
Primary Topic: Prepositions and Cases
  - Discussion of how each preposition requires a specific case
  - Explanation of the relationship between prepositions and cases
Primary Topic: Introduction to German Beginners Course
  - Reference to a German beginners course as an alternative approach to learning the German language
  - Emphasis on simplified language learning approach without extensive use of grammar rules
The podcast episode provides a detailed overview of cases in the German language, including the identification of each case, the learning sequence, determining the case to be used, the relationship between verbs and cases, as well as the impact of prepositions on cases. Additionally, it presents an alternative approach to learning German through a specific beginners course.

Podcast Episode 5 - Introduction to German Articles
Podcast Episode 27 - Introduction to Parts of Speech in German (Worarten)
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Welcome to the Better German podcast. My name is Susi Blümel, and I will teach you German and everything around the language , the countries and the culture. Welcome to this new episode. This is number two of my mini series on cases. And if you haven't listened to the last episode, which is the first of the miniseries about cases then as a gesture to do that. You can find it by going on 35, because it's episode 35. Also I want to start right away, if you're confused about cases and learning German, I highly suggest you to take a look at My German beginner's course. In my courses you will learn how to make correct sentences, but you will deal with no theoretical grammar rules, and will learn how to build sentences in a more natural way, like you learned your own language. So, go to, and there you will find the info on how to enroll in the very new, I'm very proud of it, German beginner's course. And if you want to hear more about this approach with less grammar, then I suggested to listen to the podcast episode that I made about it. It's the podcast episode eight. and it's called How Much Grammar do We Need? You can find it by going on, or just finding episode eight, wherever you're listening to this podcast. And this one you can also find on YouTube. All right. So let's get into this next part of What are Cases. Maybe you're wondering why am I even making these episodes, if I don't believe in teaching them? First of all it's on entirely true. Cases are a phenomenon in the German language and you will have to learn them if you want to learn German. However, it's more a question of how you teach them and if you're a beginner, German beginner and you get thrown at a lot of rules. And maybe they're not even properly explained, then it will be very hard for you. If you have a language that has cases and you are very familiar with your own grammar, maybe this is not going to be a problem for you, but in that case, you will probably not listen to this episode. I'm doing this episode because I feel for all the students that try to learn German and have troubles because they're running into things they don't understand. And one of the things that you may run into or maybe have run into, or could run into his cases. So that's why I'm doing this mini series about what are they. So. The next thing we're going over is. what are these? We have four of them. And I'm going to tell you the name of them And I'm going to give you a little bit of an idea of each one's usage. At the end of the entire series, there is going to be a cheat sheet. I'm working on it. There's going to be a cheat sheet about cases, which is going to be a summary, with written up examples, of what I'm going to go over in these episodes. So definitely continue listening. And if you want to just make sure that you don't miss it. Then just sign up for the newsletter. Okay. Let's going to this episode. and the cases. We have four of them. Traditionally they're numbered. I'm going to give you a very short. Explanation of each of the cases. So the first case is called "der Nominativ". Nominativ basically means, that's giving the name. So that's the name of the word and that's what you are learning when you learning a vocabulary thing, like when you're learning a new word, or when you look in the dictionary, that's the basic form. In German we usually, use the article with it, "der", "die" and "das" are the articles that go with the nouns, these are the basic forms. "der Mann" that's the basic form, the man, or "der Computer". In a sentence, when we use this basic form, then it means that this is the thing that is, doing something to keep it simple. So that's the, Nominativ, the first case. The second case, is called "der Genitiv". It's actually, if you learn German usually the one that you the last, because it is not used as often as the others, and. it's hardly used in spoken communication. But what it is, it's basically when you say something like Peter's dog, so "Peter's" that you would write with apostrophe and then s, Peter's. That would be in German, "der Genitiv". And it's actually similar for many words, you just add an s for names for example, and then you have the Genitiv, so Maria's Peter's blah, blah, blah. The basic meaning of it is something belongs to someone or something belongs with someone. So when I say Peter's daughter, Peter's Tochter, she doesn't belong to him, she belongs with him, there is a connection. So that's the second case, the Genitiv. You probably learned it in a different sequence, I'm going to tell it to you in a second. So the third case is the Dativ. For the beginning you just learn the specific verbs that want this case. And everything else is the Akkusativ. And the Akkusativ is the fourth case. And it is the case that you use in most cases, when you have a sentence and you have more than just a two words sentence, like "The dogs sleeps", "Der Hund schläft", three words, but you have a sentence like. "I see the tree" - "Ich sehe den Baum".. Oder (or). "He drinks coffee" - "Er trinkt Kaffee", then this thing, "coffee" (Kaffee), "den Baum", that is Akkusativ. So whenever you have an action of the verb, going over to something. Then it's usually Akkusativ. So these are the meanings. So when you learn German, And also in my courses, how you learn it, you learn first, the Nominativ, which is every word. The basic form. Then you learn Akkusativ, which is the form which is used most, other than the basic form. And it's the form that is used when an action in the sentence goes over to something. So when you have more than an extremely short sentence, you usually have an Akkusativ case. And then you learn the Dativ and then the last one is the Genitiv, that's quite advanced. So before you're quite an advanced student, you probably don't bother about the Genitiv. By the way that doesn't mean that the Genitiv is not used at all, some people say that. I disagree, but it's used less than the others and it is used very little in day-to-day spoken communication. Now we have a little bit of an understanding, as I said, you can download the cheat sheet. that will give you a better understanding even. So now let's look what determines which case, which is the most important thing for you to understand. Now that you understand why we even have these cases, the most important thing for you to understand is, what's determines then what causes which case to be used. If you have a sentence, anything more than a two-part sentence, so when you have: I see the tree. She likes the dog. I feed the cat. I cooked dinner. All of these things after the verb, are Akkusativ. So I'll give you a few examples. Ich sehe das Bild.. I see the picture "das Bild" ist Akkusativ. Ich liebe meinen Mann. I love my husband "meinen Mann" is Akkusativ. Ich kaufe das Kleid. I buy the dress. "das Kleid" is Akkusativ So that's something you need to know. The most changes regarding Akkusativ are if the word is "der" so if it's a "male" word. Then you learn which verbs, which special verbs, and the most frequent ones are just 20 or 30, want Dativ So to give you a short summary, the Nominativ, the first case is the thing that we talk about in the sentence. The Genitiv, which is the second case for some reason, I don't know who made up the sequence, is something that you will not learn until you're quite a little bit more advanced. And it shows possession, as its basic meaning, then the most important case and the one other than the Nominativ you will learn first, is the Akkusativ, it's numbered the fourth case. The Akkusativ is the case that you're going to use most. And, for most sentences that have an object, in the grammar sense. Meaning, something that the activity of the sentence is going over. And that is, the most used case and basically how you learn this is you can safely assume that most verbs will use Akkusativ, except for a list of maybe 20. At least for a beginner. That you will just learn. And these other cases, they want Dativ. So this is the basic thing about cases, the verbs wanting cases. And then there is, a whole other thing that I'm going to go in a little bit in the next episode. And that is certain small words like in, on, under, with, by and things like that. In English they're called, prepositions in German they're called Präpositionen. And each one of these prepositions in German asks for a specific case. And. That's something I'm gonna start going into in the next episode And again, if you're looking for a course, which makes this a little bit simpler, and doesn't use so many big grammar words. then take a look at my German Beginners Course, I'm going to link it in the show notes and. here you, or I hope that you hear me in the next episode is a pleasure for me to talk to you as always bye-bye.

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