The German accusative case

The accusative case shows the direct object of a sentence—the person or thing the action is being done to in the sentence. This is especially important since German masculine nouns used as direct objects change in declension (i.e. den, einen).

Personal pronouns
mich me
dich you (informal sing.)
ihn him
sie her
es it
Sie you (formal sing. & pl.)
uns us
euch you (pl.)
sie them

With prepositions

The prepositions durch, für, gegen, ohne, and um are all accompanied by the accusative case. The prepositions an, auf, hinter, in neben, über, vor, and zwischen all lead to the accusative when they express movement:
  • Wir fahren in die Stadt.
  • We are driving into town.

After a verb

Following a transitive verb, the accusative case is required.
  • Anna hatte den Hund gesehen.
  • Anna had seen the dog.

Describing duration

The accusative can also be used to indicate repetition or a date.
  • Wir müssen jeden Tag arbeiten.
  • We have to work every day.
Additionally, the accusative can be used to indicate a distance.
  • Dann gehen wir den Hügel hinauf.
  • Then we go up the hill.