What are the Different Cases of Nouns in the English Language - Part I
Nouns and Pronouns in English are said to display case according to their function in the sentence.
Nouns have three cases:
The case of the noun depends on how the noun functions in the sentence. Is the noun used as the main subject of the sentence? Is the noun used to show possession of something else? Is the noun in the sentence receiving something from another object? Does the noun follow a preposition? Answering the above questions can help you determine the type of nouns found in a sentence.
Cases of Nouns: Subjective
Subjective nouns are sometimes referred to as nominative nouns. These nouns either are the subject of the sentence or they are used as a predicate noun, which follows a ‘be’ verb and renames the main subject of the sentence. These are likely the easiest nouns to spot, as they are typically the subject of the verb in the sentence.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of subjective/nominative nouns:
- Mary drove to the store. Mary is a subjective noun; she is the one who drove.
- Elvis sang for many years. Elvis was the one doing the singing; Elvis is the subjective noun.
Cases of Nouns: Objective
Nouns are referred to as objective when they function as the recipient of action or are the object of a preposition. Locating the objective nouns can be a bit trickier than spotting a subjective or predicate noun, but with a little practice, you will have no trouble identifying these cases of nouns in a sentence.
- Please send him immediately. (In this example, the pronoun him is in the objective case.)
Dad prepared the dinner.
Our dog crawled under the fence.
Mom gave us the money.
Important Points to remember
Examine these sentences:-
- John threw a stone.
- The horse kicked the boy.
In sentence 1, the noun John is the Subject. It is the answer to the question, “Who threw a stone?”
The group of words threw a stone is the Predicate.
The Predicate contains the verb threw.
What did John throw?
- A stone.
Stone is the object which John threw. The noun stone is therefore called the Object.
In sentence 2, the noun horse is the Subject. It is the answer to the question, "Who kicked the boy?”
The noun boy is the Object. It is the answer to the question, "Whom did the horse kick?”
Note: To find the Nominative, put Who? or What? before the verb.
To find the Accusative put, Whom? or What? before the verb and its subject.
Cases of Nouns: Possessive
Nouns are considered possessive when they are used to show ownership of something. They will sometimes use an apostrophe, but this is not always the case. Pronouns can also be used in the possessive case, as in ‘his backpack’ or ‘her purse’.
Examine the sentence:-
This is Ram's umbrella.
Ram's umbrella = the umbrella belonging to Rama.
The form of the noun Rama is changed to Rama's to show ownership of possession. The
Noun Rama’s is therefore said to be in the possessive (or Genitive) Case
The Possessive answers the question, ‘Whose?’
Whose umbrella? - Rama's.
The Possessive Case does not always denote possession. It is used to denote authorship, origin, kind, etc. as,
- Shakespeare's plays = the plays written by Shakespeare
- A mother's love = the love felt by a mother
- The President's speech = the speech delivered by the President
- Mr Aggarwal's house = the house where Mr Aggarwal lives
- Ashok's school = the school where Ashok goes
- A children's playground = a playground for children
- A week's holiday = a holiday which lasts a week
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