The Accusative Case – Akkusatiivi
The case called ”the accusative” has been the cause of many arguments among linguists. It’s a case used to mark the object in a sentence. Please get familiar with how the object works so you can understand what we’re talking about on this page!
The Accusative: History and Controversy
Originally, the accusative was seen as a case that could have several different-looking endings based on the context. These endings were: -n (which looks like the genitive), -t (which looks like the T-plural) or no ending at all (which looks like the nominative). The reason these were all grouped under the accusative name was purely grammatical: it was used to mark the total object of a sentence.
However, some linguists (and Finnish teachers) found that basing a case on its function was not the most logical way to look at it. Much easier would be to base it on its looks. Hence:
- when a total object looks like a genitive (Ostan auton), we will call the case the genitive
- when a total object looks like the nominative (Osta auto), we will call the case the nominative
- when a total object looks like the T-plural (Ostan autot), we will call the case the plural nominative.
This leaves the ”accusative” with a role that is much smaller than before.
The Accusative Case Currently
These days, the accusative is usually only used to indicate personal pronouns which appear as a total object in a sentence.
- Sinä kutsut minut juhliisi.“You invite me to your party.”
- Minä kutsun sinut juhliini. “I invite you to my party.”
- Me valitsimme hänet. “We chose him.”
- Pomo lomauttaa meidät. “The boss lays us off.”
- Teidät on valittu meille töihin! “You have been chosen to work with us!”
- Hän näki heidät eläintarhassa. “She saw them in the zoo.”
- Kenet valittiin puheenjohtajaksi? “Whom was chosen as the spokesperson?”
You can find more verbs that will get minut or sinut as their object in this article, which contains total object verbs which can have a person as their object.