Case in English Grammar: Nominative, Possessive, Accusative and Dative Case

Case in English Grammar
Case in English Grammar

Case indicates the function or role that the noun or pronoun plays in the sentence. English has three primary cases: nominative, accusative (also known as objective), and genitive (also known as possessive). However, it’s important to note that English has relatively limited case inflection compared to some other languages like Latin or German.

A case is a grammatical category that reflects the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. (कारक एक व्याकरणिक श्रेणी है जो एक संज्ञा या सर्वनाम और एक वाक्य में अन्य शब्दों के बीच संबंध को दर्शाता है।)

We read four kinds of Case in English Grammar in India:

  1. Nominative Case (Subjective)
  2. Possessive Case (Genitive)
  3. Accusative Case (Objective)
  4. Dative Case (Vocative)

The standard English grammar framework generally recognizes only the nominative, accusative (objective), and genitive (possessive) cases.

1. Nominative Case / Subjective Case

This case is used for the subject of a sentence or a verb. Nouns and pronouns in the nominative case typically perform the action described by the verb or are used as the subject complement.

If Noun or Pronoun is used as the subject, it is called Nominative case.

For example:

  • John is studying. (John is the subject of the verb “is studying.”)
  • They are my friends. (They is the subject of the verb “are.”)
  • She is reading.
  • Mohan is walking.

2. Possessive Case / Genitive Case

The genitive case is used to show possession or a relationship between nouns. It is typically indicated by the use of an apostrophe followed by an “s” (‘s) or just an apostrophe (‘) for singular nouns, and an apostrophe followed by an “s” (s’) for plural nouns.

If the possession or the relation of noun is expressed, it is called Possessive Case.

For example:

  • The dog‘s tail wagged. (Dog’s indicates possession of the tail.)
  • My parents house is large. (Parents’ indicates possession of the house.)
  • Rahul‘s book. (possession)
  • Sharukh‘s brother. (relation)

3. Accusative Case / Objective Case

The accusative case is used for the direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition. Nouns and pronouns in this case receive the action of the verb or indicate the object of a preposition.

If noun or pronoun is used as the object, it is called Accusative case.

For example:

  • She bought a book. (Book is the direct object of the verb “bought.”)
  • He gave the book to me. (Me is the indirect object of the verb “gave.”)
  • I like her.
  • That is Anjali.

4. Dative Case / Vocative Case

The dative case is not a separate case in standard English grammar but is sometimes taught in Indian English grammar. It is used to indicate the indirect object, or the person or thing that receives the direct object. It is similar to the use of the accusative case in this context.

If Noun or pronoun is called or addressed, it is called Dative case.

For example:

  • John, read mindly. (Dative)
  • Come here, Seema. (Dative)

The dative case may be regarded as a separate case used to indicate the indirect object or the object of certain prepositions.

For example:

  • I gave him a book. (Him is in the dative case, indicating the indirect object.)
  • She sent a letter to her friend. (Her friend is in the dative case, indicating the object of the preposition “to”.)

But, before reading Noun and Case in detail, we should study the case of Pronoun.

The case of Pronoun

Nominative(Subjective) Accusative(Objective) Possessive(Genitive)
we us our/ours
I me my/mine
he him his
she her her/hers
you you your/yours
they them their/theirs
who whom whose

Use of the Pronoun’s Case:

1. After ‘let‘ pronouns are used in Accusative Case.

  • Let we read thoroughly. –wrong
  • Let us read thoroughly. –correct
  • Let them, her and we go there. –wrong
  • Let them, her and us go there. –correct

2. After preposition pronoun is used in Accusative Case.

  • There is a nice relation between she and I. –wrong
  • There is a nice relation between her and me. –Correct

3. After ‘than‘ pronoun should be used in Nominative case.

  • Ram is better than her. –Wrong
  • Ram is better than she. –correct
  • But, Ram runs faster than she/her.

As helping verb is not used in comparative degree.

4. After ‘if‘, pronoun is used in Nominative Case.

  • If I were him I would have gone. –wrong
  • If I were he I would have gone. –correct

Possessive Case

Use of the Possessive (Genitive) Case

1. To the end of a singular Noun we put (‘s), apostrophe for Possessive Case.

  • Rajiv’s book,
  • Meena’s mother,
  • President’s bodyguard

2.s‘ ending plural nouns take only ().

  • Boys’ hostel,
  • Girls’ school.


  • Women’s college,
  • Men’s competition,
  • Children’s

3. In compound nouns, we use possessive with the last term.

  • Commander-in-chief’s order
  • Mother-in-law’s house
  • Father-in-law’s problem
  • Engineer-in-chiefs’ office
  • Brother-in-law’s wife

4. lf possessive is used before ‘than‘, it should be used after ‘than‘.

  • Ravi’s sister is more beautiful than Karan. –Wrong
  • Ravi’s sister is more beautiful than Karan’s. –correct.
  • Kareena’s husband is more handsome than Karishma. –wrong
  • Kareena’s husband is more handsome than Karishma’s. –correct
  • Rohan’s brother is more intelligent than Mohan. –wrong
  • Rohan’s brother is more intelligent than Mohan’s. –correct

5. If possessive is used before ‘as‘ it should also be used after ‘as‘.

  • Doly’s sister is as beautiful as Sony. –wrong
  • Dolly’s sister is as beautiful as Sony’s. –correct

6. If two Nouns are closely related, we are to use possessive with the last Noun.

  • Kapoor and son’s shop.
  • Choudhury and grand son’s shop.


  • Keats’ and Shelley’s poems.
  • Smith’s and Adam’s definitions.

These two nouns are not closely related.

7. If there is too much sound of ‘hiss, ses, sus‘ etc., of the last syllable of a noun, we use only ().

  • Moses’ death,
  • Jesus’ love,
  • Consciences’ sake,
  • For justices’ sake,
  • For goodness’ sake.

8. Possessive is also used with some personified phrases.

  • At death’s door,
  • Fortune’s favour,
  • The soul’s prayer,
  • God’s mercy,
  • India’s heroes,
  • Nature’s laws,
  • At duty’s call.

9. The Possessive can also be used to show ‘time, distance, weight, edge‘ etc.

  • A mule’s distance.
  • A bat’s edge.
  • A stone’s throw.
  • A week’s leave.
  • A kilo’s weight.
  • A day’s match.
  • In a year’s time.
  • A month’s holiday.
  • A foot’s length.

10. Possessive can too be used to indicate ‘school, shop, clinic, church, house, college, hospital, theatre‘ etc.

  • Sonia reads in St.columbu’s. (in St.Columbus school)
  • Kamia went to barber’s. (the shop of barber)
  • Kavita went to doctor’s. (the cliníc of doctor)
  • To-night l dine at my uncle’s. (house of uncle)
  • Anand was educated at Xavier’s. (Xavier school)

11. The following phrases are also commonly used.

  • At his wit’s end.
  • For mercy’s sake.
  • A boat’s crew.
  • At his finger’s end.
  • To his heart’s content.

Some other rules to use Possessive (Genitive) Case:

1. प्रायः सजीवों के साथ apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग किया जाता हैं। जैसे-

  • Man‘s life = The life of man
  • Ram‘s wife = The wife of Ram
  • Dog‘s like = The like of dog

2. निर्जीवों के साथ ‘s का प्रयोग तब किया जाता है जब उन्हें सजीवों की तरह दर्शाया जाए। जैसे-

  • At eleventh hour he can easily feel death‘s icy hand.
  • He is fortune‘s favourite.
  •  When a humpty-dumpty sits on a chair then we can easily hear chair‘s weeping.

3. प्राकृतिक चीजों (Natural Things) के लिए भी ‘s का प्रयोग किया जाता हैं। जैसे-

  • You can not escape mountain‘s wrath(anger).
  • Sun‘s rays.
  • The earth‘s area

4. स्थानों को इंगित करने वाले शब्दों (Space Indicating Words) के साथ ‘s का प्रयोग होता है। जैसे-

  • Razor‘s edge is very sharp.
  • Needle‘s point
  • The earth‘s area

5. भार दर्शाने वाले शब्दों के साथ यदि weight शब्द लिखा है तो apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग किया जाता है। जैसे-

  • A ton‘s weight is too heavy for anyone to carry on his head.
  • A gram‘s weight is negligible.

6. यदि पैसे की इकाई के साथ Value/Worth लिखा है तो apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग होता है। जैसे-

  • A dollar‘s value is very high these days.
  • A rupee‘s worth is nothing.

7. जब दो noun एक दूसरे से घनिष्ठ संबंधित हों तो दूसरे noun के साथ apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग करें। जैसे-

  • I visited John‘s and Mary‘s houses twice. (John और Mary के घर अलग-अलग हैं, इसीलिए plural noun का प्रयोग हुआ है)
  • I visited John and Mary‘s house twice. (John और Mary के घर एक ही हैं, जो घनिष्ठता को दर्शाते हैं, इसीलिए singular noun का प्रयोग हुआ है)

इसी प्रकार-

  • Ram and Sita‘s son.
  • Ram and Shyam‘s son. –wrong(क्यूंकि राम और श्याम दोनों नाम पुरुष जाति को दर्शाते हैं, अतः दो पुरुषों का एक पुत्र संभव नहीं है)
  • Ram‘s and Shyam‘s son/sons.

यहाँ दो वाक्य दिए गए हैं जो दूसरी noun पर apostrophe (‘s) के उपयोग को प्रदर्शित करते हैं:

  1. I borrowed John’s car for the weekend.
  2. She admired Emily’s painting skills.

In the first sentence, the possessive form “John’s” indicates that the car belongs to John. In the second sentence, “Emily’s” shows that the painting skills belong to Emily.

8. Somebody, Nobody, Anybody, Everybody, Someone, No-one, Anyone, everyone इन pronoun के साथ apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग कर सकते हैं। जैसे-

  • Everybody‘s business is nobody‘s business.
  • It is important to take care of one‘s physical and mental well-being.
  • Somebody‘s bag was left behind in the classroom.
  • Has anybody‘s phone been found? It was misplaced earlier.
  • Can I borrow somebody‘s pen? I forgot mine at home.
  • No-one‘s opinion should be disregarded; everyone‘s voice matters.
  • Is this everyone‘s book? It seems to have multiple names on it.

परंतु इन pronoun के साथ else का प्रयोग हो तो apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग else के साथ किया जाता है। जैसे-

  • You know it well that your success in life depends not on my advice but on somebody else‘s.
  • Nobody else‘s
  • Anybody else‘s

9. “a + noun + of + noun” की संरचना में अंतिम noun के साथ apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग करें। जैसे-

  • A fiend of my brother‘s
  • A house of Ram‘s

10. Compound noun के अंतिम word के साथ apostrophe (‘s) का प्रयोग होता है। जैसे-

  • His son-in-law‘s appointment to the post shocked many.
  • The Govt. of India‘s order has many takes.
  • The Govt. of India has given order.

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