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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. 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 as a term to indicate personal pronouns, when they 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 valitsemme hänet. “We chose him.”
  • Pomo lomauttaa meidät. “The boss lay us off.”
  • Teidät on valittu meille töihin!You have been chosing to work with us!”
  • Hän näki heidät eläintarhassa. “She saw them in the zoo.”
  • Kenet valittiin puheenjohtajaksi?Whom was chosen as the spokesperson?”

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Gulcin
Gulcin

Very Clear, kiitos!

Noah
Noah

Teidät on valittu meille töihin!
Kenet valittiin puheenjohtajaksi?

Aren’t these the subject of the sentence?

Inge (admin)
Inge (admin)

They’re passive sentences. Valittiin and valittu are the verb valita conjugated in passive tenses.

Teidät on valittu -> “You were chosen”, you weren’t doing any choosing yourself
Kenet valittiin -> “Who was chosen”, they didn’t chose themselves.

This article could definitely use some translations and links to other articles, I will work on that.