The nominative case


As mentioned before, the most important role of the nominative case is to indicate the subject in a sentence. The subject directs the action and can be a person, thing or idea, either in the singular or in the plural:

Der Junge spielt heute allein.
The boy is playing alone today.

Die Zeiten sind hart.
These are hard times.

A good way of identifying the subject is to ask:

Who or what is doing the action?
– Who is playing alone? → The boy

The nominative after verbs

The nominative is also used after the verbs sein ‘to be’, werden ‘to become’ and scheinen ‘to seem’:

Heinz war immer ein guter Vater.
Heinz was always a good father.

Das Mädchen wird sicher eine berühmte Sängerin werden.
The girl will surely become a famous singer.

Er scheint ein fähiger Trainer zu sein.
He seems to be a capable coach.

Nominative case endings

Here is an overview of the most common determiners in the nominative:

Definite articleder Mann die Tochter das Kind die Leute
Demonstrativedieser Manndiese Tochter dieses Kinddiese Leute
Indefinite articleein Manneine Tochterein Kind– Leute
Possessivemein Mannmeine Tochtermein Kindmeine Leute