Suppose I have "der Koenig" and then I add "die armen Menschen" to it by genitive:

der König der armen Menschen

Then what type of object is the whole phrase above?

1 Answer 1


This can't be an object because it's in nominative case.

The whole thing is one noun group, consisting of 5 words, and the whole noun group is in the case of the core of this group which is the word "König." It is in nominative case (as can be seen from the article "der" left of the core), and when the whole group is in nominative, then it is a subject like here. (Subjects are not objects.)

Der König der armen Menschen schläft.

Only when the verb is a form of sein, bleiben or werden, then it also can be an extension of the predicate called "Gleichsetzungsnominativ" like in this example. (Extension of the predicate are not objects.)

Georg ist der König der armen Menschen.

That inside this 5-word noun group is also a 3-word attribute in genitive case (der armen Menschen) does not matter. Seen from outside (from the rest of the sentence) still the whole 5-word noun group is one compact thing in nominative case. The genitive attribute that is packed inside this nominative noun group is not visible from outside.

  • I would call it a "noun phrase". Noun phrases can be arbitrarily long and can include entire subclauses with the help of relative pronouns.
    – RDBury
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 2:37
  • Why can't a phrase in Nominativ be an Objekt? There are Nominativobjekte: "Hans kann König werden." "Hans" is the Subjekt, "kann" is the Prädikat.
    – bakunin
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 10:11
  • @bakunin. Good question. I can't answer it, so I asked it here: german.stackexchange.com/q/72213/54398
    – Alina
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 7:49
  • The predicate isn't kann but kann werden and werden is a copula as sein is. This is still a copula phrase.
    – Janka
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 10:07

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