I have to write the differents possesives in the following sentences. Nominative case works as a personal pronoun and Accusative case as direct object. Shouldn't both answers be accusative?

"Wessen Hut ist das? Das ist mein/sein/... Hut (Nominative)

Wessen Freund sieht er? Er sieht meinEN/deinEN/... Freund (Accusative)"


1 Answer 1


German "sein", and other copulative verbs such as "werden" and "bleiben" have a nominative subject and a nominative object. This differs from English where the usual pattern is to use object case following "to be". For example "I am him" in English becomes "Ich bin er" in German, not "Ich bin ihn" or "Ich bin ihm." (There seem to be a few English speakers who prefer "I am he." I don't know any of them personally though.) The most famous example of this is JFK's line "Ich bin ein Berliner." Notice that "ein Berliner is nominative, not accusative "einen Berliner" or dative "einem Berliner". (I assume JFK wasn't fluent in German, but knew people who were.)

As we keep iterating on this site, it's best to forget your notions of direct object when it comes to German. A direct object in English can translate to accusative, dative, or even nominative as in this case.

  • thank you so much for your detailed answer
    – user
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 7:26

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