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My friend sent me a message about her habits in German:

Jeden Samstagmorgen lasse ich meine Haare waschen und föhnen.

Now, I see that Haare is accusative because it receives the action of the washing.

I can see the case for Haare being accusative but I'm just a bit stuck with Samstagmorgen.

Is Samstagmorgen in this case dative as it receives the action taking place? And if so, is this generally the case with most times when talking about habits on specific days of the week?

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In German definite time expressions without prepositions are in the accusative

Jeden Samstag geht er einkaufen
Nächste Woche mache ich das

Indefinite time without a preposition is in the genitive

Eines Tages wird er das verstehen
Samstags spielt er Golf

If there is a preposition involved, then the preposition determines the case

An irgendeinem Tag wird es passieren
Sie studiert seit einem Jahr in München
Während des ganzen Tages hat es geregnet

  • What about An irgendeinem Tag, in irgendeinem Jahr? Those are indefinite but dative. – infinitezero Jan 31 at 23:47
  • @infinitezero Thank you, my answer was missing "without a preposition" – PiedPiper Jan 31 at 23:59
  • The genitive is today quite rare. "Des Nachts werde werde ich häufig vom Straßenlärm wach" sounds pretty old-fashioned. The accusative, however, is still common. – RHa Feb 1 at 7:40
  • "Am Samstag wasche ich mir die Haare" is definitively dative. "Jeden Samstag wasche ich mir die Haare" is accusative. "Samstags wasche ich mir die Haare" is a degenerated genitive. "Samstag werde ich meine Haare waschen" (colloq.) is nominative - I pretty much doubt there is a rule that says time expressions are in the accusative – tofro Feb 1 at 8:13
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    @RHa "Nachts schlafe ich schlecht" is genitive and very common. "Eines Tages" is also still used a lot – PiedPiper Feb 1 at 9:41
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The form jeden indicates that Samstagmorgen is in accusative (dative would be jedem). It's always accusative when you want to use jede/-n/-s with a noun saying when or how often something happens:

  • ich wasche mein Auto jede Woche.
  • sie wechselt ihren Wohnsitz jedes Jahr.
  • wir haben uns jeden Monat getroffen.
  • Accusative is the wen-oder-was-Fall. You wouldn't ask wen oder was, not even welchen, but simply wann. That this isn't quite clear cut, and the -n/-m rule not helpful is obvious from "nächsten Dienstag, den/dem vierten drölften", where "der" would be acceptable, den would be logical, but dem is seen rather often, too, and I can't tell why. – vectory Feb 1 at 16:40
  • @vectory Grammatical case is determined by the inflection form, not by the question. – Eller Feb 1 at 16:52
  • It's not determined by the inflectional form. Try "immer Samstagmorgen". I'd argue that both cases could be nominative, and that's the only reason the later case works. You cannot lean on the preposition either, because of "Samstag wasche ich meine Haare". At the very least it can't be genitive, because just "Samstag wasche ich ..." would make "Samstag" the direct object of the washing. And accusative would make saturday the agent of the verb. "Wen lässt du deine Haare waschen?", "Jeden Samstag morgen lasse ich meine Haare waschen". Though Welchen? would be ambiguous, and that's ok with me. – vectory Feb 1 at 17:28
  • It is determined by its inflectional from because grammatical case is mostly expressed through inflectional form. The thing is that in German, unlike in many other languages, inflections are expressed mostly by an article. So put an artcile in all your examples and you know which case is it. PS: "immer Samstagsmorgen" proves nothing at all, because it's not just an abstract combination without any context. Depending on the rest of the sentens, it can be nominative, dative or accusative. – Eller Feb 4 at 8:51

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