Why is "Herzlichen" an accusative form? Because there was "I wish" omitted in front?

  • 5
    Short answer: Yes. Long answer: You are exactly right. What you wish someone is put into accusative. It's a congratulation and herzlichen is an adjective which describes it nearer.
    – Janka
    Feb 10, 2017 at 14:41
  • Ok glad my guess was correct. Danke.:)
    – Chan Kim
    Feb 10, 2017 at 14:52
  • 6
    By the way: This is the same as in "Guten Tag!" Feb 10, 2017 at 17:53
  • @jonathan.scholbach Oh, I see. it was also accusative form! I guess it is a reduced phrase of "I wish you have a good day", or "have a good day". Then if I want to say "Birthday is a good day", I should say "Geburtstag ist ein guter tag". guter in masculine nominative form. I learned a good one today :)
    – Chan Kim
    Feb 11, 2017 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
Guten Tag!
Schönen Abend!
Gute Reise!
Alles Gute!

In all those congratulations is an "Ich wünsche dir" or "Ich wünsche Ihnen" ommited in front. The describing adjectives are therefore all in accusative case.

Ich wünsche dir einen herzlichen Glückwunsch!
(but no one would actually say this, because of the repetition of "Wunsch")

Ich wünsche dir einen guten Tag!
Ich wünsche dir einen schönen Abend!
Ich wünsche dir eine gute Reise!
Ich wünsche dir alles Gute!

The accusative cases depend on the article of the noun:


Glückwunsch, Tag, and Abend are masculine,
Reise is feminine, and
Gute is neutrum.

  • I see. But about the form, it's not what I understand. The table I'm seeing on the web says if definate article is in front, the assusative form of the adjective is M:-en F:-e N:-e P:-en. And for indefinate article, M:-en, F:-e, N:-es. bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/german/grammar/…
    – Chan Kim
    Feb 12, 2017 at 8:08
  • 1
    @ChanKim, you are right. I uploaded the wrong table.
    – Iris
    Feb 12, 2017 at 12:51

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