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 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 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 parrty.”
- 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?”