In this sentence Der Saal war voll Menschen.
I am wondering: Of which grammatical case is the Menschen here: the nominative, the genitive or the dative?


1 Answer 1


Adding an adjective to the noun makes it clearer:

Der Saal war voll grüner Menschen.

So we know it is genitive plural. It is even clearer if we use a noun whose genitive and dative plural forms are distinct:

Der Saal war voll kleiner Kinder.

So it is definitely genitive plural.

  • Ist der Dativ nicht grünen Menschen?
    – Carsten S
    May 5, 2016 at 20:33
  • @CarstenS Hmm, stimmt. Ich hab mehr auf das Substantiv geachtet, und dabei gar nicht gemerkt, dass das Adjektiv ja auch wechselt …
    – Jan
    May 5, 2016 at 20:35
  • @Jan : thanks for your answer; I found the following examples: ,,Die Straßen lagen voll Schnee'' (from Duden); ,,Die Straßen lagen voller Schnee'' (from DWDS); would you consider the two as genitive constructions as well, with the genitive affix (Schnee-s) being omitted from explicit marking but UNDERSTOOD instead?
    – Eunice
    May 6, 2016 at 1:31
  • @Lynnyo Schnee, being a singulare tantum, works slightly differently, akin to words added onto trotz. I think I would understand voll Schnee to be in dative (but maybe it is nominative, I can’t think of an example where the cases would be different atm), which switches to genitive if an adjective is added: voll gelben Schnees.
    – Jan
    May 6, 2016 at 10:27

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