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The nominative case (2)

This table shows the use of the nominative case without definite or indefinite articles.



Number no article
singular, male roter Tisch
singular, female weiße Tasse
singular, neuter blaues Buch
   
plural, all genders or mixed rote Tomaten

Please note:


The table "The nominative case (1)" illustrated the adjective endings with article, whilst above they are shown without. You will notice that the adjective endings in singular without article are the same as in singular with indefinite article. However, in the plural they are different.


Compare:

Ein roter Tisch (singular, male, with indef. article) vs. Roter Tisch (no article)
Eine weiße Tasse (singular, female, with. indef. article) vs. Weiße Tasse (no article)
Ein blaues Buch (singular, neuter, with indef. article) vs. Blaues Buch (no article)


Die roten Tomaten (plural, with def. article) vs. Rote Tomaten


General use of the nominative case with or without article:


Please remember: the subject of a phrase is (usually) in the nominative case, and this case is also always used after the verbs werden und sein. This is a general rule, which applies whether there is an article or not. In most phrases, either a definite or indefinite article or a possessive adjective such as mein/meine, dein/deine etc., is used. Then, accordingly, the table "The nominative case (1)" would be applicable.


When we say that the verbs werden und sein are followed by the nominative case, we think of phrases as:


  • Susanne ist wirklich ein hübsches Mädchen.
  • Der Mann dort ist ein bekannter Künstler.
  • Du wirst sicher mal eine gute Lehrerin.
  • Guy Fawkes ist in England ein bekannter Mann.
  • Man wird nicht leicht ein erfolgreicher Musiker.

Here, indeed, sein und werden are followed by the nominative, because the following parts of the phrases refer back to the subject ("ein hübsches Mädchen" refers back to "Susanne" etc.). Then sein und werden are always followed by the nominative, and in phrases of the same type this also applies to the verbs:

bleiben and scheinen (to remain, to appear)


  • Susanne scheint wirklich ein intelligentes Mädchen zu sein.
  • Der Mann dort bleibt immer ein armer Schlucker.
  • Das scheint eine ausgezeichnete Idee zu sein!
  • Die Tower Bridge wird immer ein berühmtes Wahrzeichen von London bleiben.

It is important to keep this type of phrases in mind, because it is, obviously, easy to construct phrases containing sein, werden, bleiben or scheinen where no nominative follows:


  • Susanne ist im Garten.
  • Der Junge wird in den Unterricht gehen.
  • Ich bin am Meer.
  • Wir bleiben in den Bergen.

Here the subjects are, as usual, in the nominative case, but then we have 'im Garten' (dative), 'in den Unterricht' gehen (accusative, 'wird' is here used as an auxiliary to form the future tense), 'am Meer' (dative) and 'in den Bergen' (dative) and no nominative at all. We give these examples to illustrate that sein und werden are not always and necessarily followed by the nominative.

Please note that in comparisons using the verbs above both 'members' of the comparison are in the nominative:


  • Der größe Baum ist größer als die moderne Villa dahinter.
  • Mein moderner Porsche ist zehnmal besser als dein alter Wagen.
  • Natürlich schmeckt englisches Bier nicht annähernd so gut wie deutsches Bier.
  • Wird mein neuer Rosenstrauch einmal so groß wie der alte Rosenstrauch dort?


It is typical not to use an article:


>>> in all phrases which are meant to be very short, often reduced to the smallest number of words necessary to convey the meaning. This could be the case:


  • in newspaper headlines
  • in small advertisements
  • in short expressions eg of admiration or astonishment
  • on signs
  • on posters

These are examples where the language cannot be epically long, instead it has to be short, spot on, bare.

>>> after numbers. While a possessive adjective 'behaves' like an indefinite article (which means table (1) applies) , numbers do not 'behave' that way, so using a number is like not using an article and the table above applies.


>>>after certain adverbs. The table above does apply to adverbs such as viele, wenige, andere, einige, ein paar, ein Paar, folgende, mehrere, verschiedene (unless there is an article in front of these adverbs).


Examples:


"Neuer Präsident gewählt!" (New president elected)


"Alte Frau nachts beraubt" (Elderly lady robbed at night)


"Kostbares Diadem gestohlen!" (Precious diadem stolen")

"Flüchtende Einbrecher von Polizei gefasst" (Escaping thieves caught by police)


"Tolles Auto!" (Great car!) - - - - - "Toller Typ!" (Great guy!) - - - - "Tolle Frau!" (Great woman!)


"Unglaubliche Vorstellung!" (Unbelievable performance!)


"Frische Pilze heute billig" (Fresh mushrooms cheap today)


"Drei große Salatköpfe zwei Euro" (Three large heads of lettuce two euro)

"Roter Ferrari und zwei neue Motorräder zu verkaufen" (Red Ferrari and two new motor bikes to be sold"


"Zwei kleine Wohnungen frei" (Two small appartments available)


Here now some examples which show you the different endings depending on wether an article is used or not:

Die vielen jungen Musiker auf der Bühne sind alle sehr begabt. (The many young musicians on the stage are all very gifted.


Viele ehrgeizige Musiker wollen in der Berliner Philhamonie spielen. Nur wenige begabte Musiker erreichen dieses Ziel. ( Many ambitious musicians strive to perform in the Berlin Philhamony. Only a few gifted musicians achieve this aim)


Vier große Gläser Bier stehen auf dem Tisch (but: Die vier großen Gläser Bier kosten 12 Euro.). (There are four large glasses of beer on the table. The four large glasses of beer cost 12 euros)


Mehrere junge Personen betraten das Haus. (Several young persons entered the house)


Die vielen jungen Leute haben sicher Hunger! (The numerous young people will certainly be hungry)


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