In the German language, we could replace accusative to the beginning of the sentence, like so:

Der Hund beißt den Mann. Den Mann beißt der Hund.

So is this

Der Hund beißt die Frau. Die Frau beißt der Hund.

also correct?


What if we say

Die Katze beißt die Maus. Die Maus beißt die Katze.

In this case, we can't use the meaning of the sentence to distinguish between accusative and nominative!
My intention is to know is it correct that in the german language we could not bring accusative to the beginning of the sentence if nominative and accusative cases are feminine or neutral?

  • 6
    Yes, this is correct. What makes you doubt it or what needs clarification? Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 18:05
  • 1
    It was never my intention that this question is closed and neither do I think it's a bad one. I'll disregard your comment about torture. My mere intention was, in order to answer at the best possibility, to ask about what exactly OP finds unclear, as his first example was already correct. Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 10:37

2 Answers 2


In den genannten Beispielen ist jeweils klar, was Subjekt und was Objekt ist. Da die einzige Regel lautet, dass das Verb an zweiter Stelle stehen muss, sind auch beide Varianten möglich.

Der Hund beißt die Frau.

Die Frau beißt der Hund.

Die Unterscheidung zwischen Subjekt und Objekt ist nicht immer eindeutig anhand der Fälle zu erkennen. Wenn sowohl Subjekt als auch Objekt weiblich sind, ist der Nominativ nicht vom Akkusativ unterscheidbar.

Die Katze frisst die Maus. Wen frisst die Katze? Die Maus frisst die Katze.

In einem solchen Fall wird in mündlicher Kommunikation die Betonung zum Verständnis beitragen. In schriftlicher Kommunikation bleiben nur der Kontext und die Wahrscheinlichkeit als Hinweise auf die Bedeutung. Mäuse fressen in der Regel (soviel ich weiß) keine Katzen. Was die Grammatik angeht, sind aber beide Varianten möglich und richtig.

In your examples there is no doubt about what is subject and what is object. There is only one rule: the verb must be in second position. Thus both sentences are right.

Der Hund beißt die Frau.

Die Frau beißt der Hund.

The differentiation between subject and object is not always clearly marked. If both subject and object are female, there is no way to distinguish nominative from accusative formally.

Die Katze frisst die Maus. Wen frisst die Katze? Die Maus frisst die Katze.

In such a case emphasis will help in spoken language. In written communication there are only context and plausibility to get the meaning right. Mice usually don't eat cats (as far as I know). Grammatically both variants are possible and correct.

  • Yes the shown phrases are correct. But we should point out that the accusative-first version is very uncommon, thus it will be easily misunderstood and make a strange impression. The emphasize case is one rare case to use it but I'd avoid it in normal speech because I see nobody do that.
    – puck
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 8:05

Yes, that is correct. But you should be aware that it is somewhat odd phrasing unless you mean to emphasize the accusative part. E.g., in an exchange like this:

„Der Hund beißt die Frau.“
„Der Hund beißt den Baum?“
„Die Frau beißt der Hund!“

  • What if we say: 'Die Katze beißt die Frau. Die Frau beißt die Katze.'?
    – Eftekhari
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 18:20
  • 6
    @Eftekhari you can of course switch the sentence order. That is still grammatically correct. However, you risk of being ambiguous and you'll definitely will be in this case. Just stick to the old rule: "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should" Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 18:39
  • 3
    @Eftekhari, your question would perhaps been better received if you had explained your motivation in it.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 18:51
  • 2
    If someone wrote Die Frau kratzt die Katze, I would assume the cat scratches the woman, not vice versa, just because it is more likely. In speech, it depends on the tone on die Frau.
    – Janka
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 5:54
  • 2
    @Janka I wouldn't. I would think "the woman scratches the cat" and would start wondering why.
    – mic
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 9:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.