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I'm taking German lessons using Rosetta Stone, and am confused as to why the sentence below is "Akkusative".

It's a fill in the blank lesson with multiple choice.

Ich brauche _________ __________ Regenschirm.

The choices are "einen neuer" and "ein neuer".

"einen neuen"is the correct answer, but I don't understand why. To me, the "Ich" indicates Nominativ, and brauchen, as far as I can tell, isn't a special case verb.

Could someone please explain?

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The sentence, as a whole, is not in accusative case. Each sentence consists of different parts of speech, and some of them are in some grammatical cases.

The subject of a sentence is always in nominative case. In sentences in active voice the subject names the thing or person who performs the action. The verb is the action and all other parts either describe details of the action or are the target of the action or endure it. These parts can either be in no case at all or in some grammatical case other than nominative case. Which case this is, is always dictated by the verb. (The verb is the king of every sentence, it rules everything.)

And the verb brauchen (to need) wants its object to be in accusative case. And this is why only this version is correct:

Ich brauche einen neuen Regenschirm.
I need a new umbrella.

  • Ich
    This is the subject. The subject is always in nominative case. Here it names the person who needs something.
  • brauche
    This is the verb. It is the king of the sentence. It tells the reader what is going on in this sentence. And it is the regent of the object and forces the object to appear in a grammatical case the verb wants.
  • einen neuen Regenschirm
    This is an object. It is an accusative object. It is in accusative case because the verb wants it so.
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  • Thank you! Very helpful answers. What's kind of funny, is that I had three years of formal German language education several decades ago, so I still have some familiarity with the language. Details like the above, have long since faded away. – BoLoMT Jan 7 at 23:40
  • Just a minor correction to the otherwise good answer: The case is dictated by the verb and/or, if existing, the preposition. – Björn Friedrich Jan 8 at 7:47
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Ich is nominative. This means that the role of the subject is already taken by it, and Regenschirm is the object. Because brauchen is a transitive verb, Regenschirm must be accusative (even if it looks the same as nominative, see declination table in "Grammatik" section of Duden).

The attributes of Regenschirm must have the same case as Regenschirm, which is why they must be in accusative too. Therefore, it's einen neuen.

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    »Regenschirm« is not the object. The object is a nominal group that consists of 3 words: »einen neuen Regenschirm«. The word »Regenschirm« is the core of the object, but not the object itself. – Hubert Schölnast Jan 7 at 22:06

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