Skip to main content


Today I begin learning a new language, German. So, I decided to create a couple of tools to help in translating. Here is my basic explanation of the cases of nouns. In most languages the nouns will appear in a number of different cases. This is especially evident for those who study Greek, Latin, German, etc. Knowing what the noun case means is essential for interpretation. This is because the same word takes on a different meaning in a sentence based upon its case. Take, for example, the same noun - God - used in two different cases in the following two sentences. "The love of God is unending." "We show our love to God by loving one another." In both sentences we have a noun, God, in the first sentence it is the Genitive case, in the second sentence it is in the Accusative case. In the first sentence the love that is talked about is the love that belongs to or is possessed by God. In the second sentence God is the beloved who is receiving the love. In both sentences "love" is also a noun, and in both sentences love is in a different case. Can you figure out which case "love" is in? The main noun cases that are found in the majority of languages are as follows.

1.      Nominative – The nominative is the subject of the sentence. It is used for designation. In many languages the nominative will be preceded by either a definite or indefinite article. For example, in English we use the definite article “the” and the indefinite article “a” or “an”. In languages such as Latin, Greek and German the nouns will be either masculine, feminine or neutral. The gender of the noun is frequently shown by the form of the article. In French, which only has the masculine and feminine genders “le” designates the masculine noun, and “la” designates a feminine noun. In German “Der” designates a masculine noun, “Die” a feminine noun, and “Das” a neutral noun. Greek and Latin integrate the gender of the nouns into the word itself.

2.      Vocative – The vocative is the subject when it is addressed by the speaker. It designates the person being spoken to. As when I speak to my son for any reason. “Israel, let’s go play Baseball.” Israel is the vocative case of the noun. The Vocative will have the same form as the Nominative.

3.      Genitive – The genitive is the compliment of the noun or pronoun. In French it is preceded by “de”, which in English would be translated as “of”, or “from”. It is used for describing the noun by attributing a quality to the noun.

4.      Ablative – The ablative is the circumstantial complement (referring to origin or usage, instrumentality), and is usually preceded by a preposition. It is used to describe the indirect object of a verb.

5.      Dative – The dative is the compliment of the verb, expressing the indirect object of the verb. In French it is preceded by “à”, in English by “to”.

6.      Accusative – The accusative is the complement of the direct object of the verb. It marks the limit or end of an action.

7.      Locative – This case describes the place where an action took place, the location or the position. Seeing as it has the same form as the dative it is frequently described as a form of the dative.

Popular posts from this blog

How Kant’s Synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism resulted in Agnosticism

Immanuel Kant, presented with the extreme empiricism of Hume and the extreme rationalism of Liebniz, which he discovered through the writings Wolff, sought to take a middle road between these two extreme philosophical positions. I would submit that Kant’s synthesis of these two views leads to an agnosticism about what Kant called “the thing-in-itself”, and ultimately to the philosophical positions known as Atheism, determinism, and nihilism.

Kant’s Sources
First of all, Kant was influenced by Hume’s empiricism and Newton’s physics. He saw that the physical sciences, in contrast to rationalistic metaphysics, were actually making advances. They were making discoveries, and building a system of knowledge that accurately described the world of our sense perceptions. Rationalistic metaphysics, on the other hand, was floundering amidst the combating systems that the philosophers were erecting. It did not provide new knowledge, and only led to unacceptable conclusions, such as the Absolute Mon…

A Short outline of Charles Taylor's: The Malaise of Modernity

            This is simply an outline of Taylor’s basic argument in this short work written by Charles Taylor. The idea of this outline is to help the reader understand the book by providing a simple outline of the basic argument that Taylor is presenting here. The book, which is essentially the manuscript is the fruit of a series of presentations that Taylor made at the Massey Conferences which are hosted by Massey College and Radio-Canada, is divided into 10 chapters. In the first chapter Taylor essentially proposes three causes (recognizing that there may be more) of the Malaise of Modernity: (1) Individualism or the Loss of Sense, (2) The Primacy of Instrumental Reason or the Loss of Ends, and (3) The effect on society and politics in general of the loss of sense to an inauthentic individualism and the domination of instrumental reason, or, the loss of true freedom. Taylor considers the first Malaise in chapters 2 to 8, the second in c…


Leisure: The Basis of Culture & the Philosophical Act. Josef Pieper. Translated by Alexander Dru. 1963. Reprint, Ignatius Press, 2009. 143 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-58617-256-5.
            This book is composed of two articles written by the German philosopher Josef Pieper. Though the two articles are intimately connected, they form two distinct works; as such, this book review will begin by giving a brief introduction to the works in question, followed by and exposition of each of the works individually. The two articles that are included in this book, Leisure: the Basis of Culture and The Philosophical Act, were both published in 1947, and, as such, were written during the cultural crisis in Germany that followed the Second World War. Not only did Pieper have the cultural crisis in mind when he wrote these articles, but he was also writing in light of the works of the most well-known German philosopher of the time – Martin Heidegger. As such, any reader who is familiar with Heidegg…