According to the dictionary, aufmachen is used with accusative:

etw.Akk. aufmachen

Then why is

Wann macht der Supermarkt auf?

Instead of

Wann macht den Supermarkt auf?

For example here, but also in some other sites.


Aufmachen can be used as both, a transitive and an intransitive verb. So there you can aufmachen something but you can also just aufmachen. It is the same for the English verb to open.

Er macht den Laden auf. (acc)

He opens the store.

Der Laden macht um 6 auf.

The store opens at 6.

  • Maybe it's even clearer to say Er macht den Laden um 6 Uhr auf. vs Der Laden macht ... – Bertram Nudelbach Aug 13 '13 at 18:30
  • Ja, logisch :)... ich hatte erst "Tür" und hab' dann aber nach was männlichem gesucht, damit man den Akkusativ sieht. Da ist mir dann irgendwie nur Kühlschrank eingefallen. Hab's geändert. Danke – Emanuel Aug 13 '13 at 18:39
  • 1
    Perhaps to clarify for @Luis Sep: Note that "Supermarkt" is the subject here, not the object - that's why it can't be accusative. It would have to be, if the sentence was: "When does the manager open the supermarket?" = "Wann macht der Chef den Supermarkt auf?" – Mac Aug 14 '13 at 11:03
  • And while it is in principle possible that Supermarkt can be used as object to aufmachen, it is surely not the case her: Sentences without ocject are possible, but sentences without subject are not. – Hagen von Eitzen Aug 15 '13 at 18:20

Wann macht der Supermarkt auf? is written with Supermarkt in the nominative case as indicated by the determinative der.

A simple test as to why this is the case would be to ask:

What (or who) is opening?

Answer: The super market. Nominative case nouns represent subjects of sentences or in vernacular: "the who or what, which is doing the action".

Hypothetically, if you were to write Wann macht den Supermarkt auf?, it would imply a subject (noun or pronoun) just before den Supermarkt:

Wann macht der Verkäufer den Supermarkt auf?

This is supplemental material This does not deal directly with the question, but I am including it because I know that understanding cases can result in headaches. It is rare, but sometimes a reversal of the standard dative-accusative word-order occurs for various reasons (e.g. emphasis, contrast)

This is rare, because it happens in rare situations and this usage may depend on where the language user is from). Example of contrast:

Jimmy: Er hat dem Jungen den Lastkraftwagen geschenkt!

Roger: Nein, Jimmy! Er hat das Auto dem Jungen geschenkt, nicht den Lastkraftwagen!

or with pronouns (this syntax occurs when both objects are pronouns):

Der Chef gibt ihn ihr.

But interestingly sometimes without pronouns:

Der Chef gibt den Brief der Sekretärin.

  • Regarding recasting the objects, read this article - Note, however, that it is important that you added examples with two objects as the "Verkäufer-Supermarkt" example does not have a dative object, so you cannot change the word-order. This is, why I didn't understand your addition in the first place. – Em1 Aug 27 '13 at 6:45

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