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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.

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 genetive), -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 genetive (Ostan auton), we will the call the case the genetive
  • 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 as a term to indicate personal pronouns, when they appear as a total object in a sentence.

  • Sinä kutsut minut juhliisi.
  • Minä kutsun sinut juhliini.
  • Me valitsemme hänet.
  • Pomo lomauttaa meidät.
  • Teidät on valittu meille töihin!
  • Hän näki heidät eläintarhassa.
  • Kenet valittiin puheenjohtajaksi?

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Very Clear, kiitos!