The Nominative case is used when the noun is the subject of the sentence, that is, the person or thing carrying out the action or performing the action of the verb.
As already mentioned, word order isn't very cruical in German, thus the subject of the sentence doesn't always come first. To easily identify it, always ask yourself 'Who or what is performing the verb?'
Cases are important in German because they affect the form of the noun by altering the ending of the various words linked to it. The table below shows endings in the nominative case for the definite articles, indefinite articles, negative articles (discussed thoroughly in a later lesson), and possessive articles (articles like 'my, your, his, our).
|Endings in the Nominative Case|
Remember the pronouns you studied during the first unit? These were all in the nominative case (hence they were called subject pronouns), they are given here again for the sake of completeness.
|Nominative Personal Pronouns|
|Singular Pronoun||Plural Pronoun|
|du||you - informal||ihr||you - informal|
|Sie||you - formal||Sie||you - formal|
Remember that when a noun or pronoun is the subject of a sentence, it determines what kind of conjugational ending the verb needs. These endings were already thoroughly discussed in the previous unit.
The Nominative case comes after certain verbs no matter what role the noun plays,
these verbs are 'sein' (to be) & 'werden' (to become).
Clearly in both examples the noun isn't performing the verb, however it's still treated as a nominative due to the verb preceding it.
In the nominative, the interrogative pronoun 'wer' remains 'wer', while the interrogative 'welcher' is declined according to the noun it's attached to.
|'Welcher' in the Nominative Case|
Here are a few example sentences in which the nominative nouns/pronouns are pointed out: