Accusative and Dative Strong Masculine Nouns

A verb is a word used to describe an action or a state, and a verb which acts upon something is a transitive verb. For example, in the sentence 'The king throws the spear', the subject is 'The king', the verb is ‘throws’ and the direct object is ‘the spear’. Similarly, in the sentence 'The king goes to Reading', the subject is ‘the king’, the verb is ‘goes’ and the indirect object is ‘Reading’.

A direct object is a noun that is directly acted upon by a verb, while an indirect object identifies ‘to’ or ‘for’ what the action of the verb is performed, as well as who/what is receiving the direct object. In Old English, whether a noun is a direct or indirect object affects which case it takes, with direct objects taking the accusative case and indirect objects taking the dative case.

Ðæs cyninges
Genitive
þegen
Nominative
sloh
Verb
þone biscop
Accusative
on
Prep.
Readingum
Dative

So, in the above sentence, 'the king’s thane slew the bishop in Reading', the bishop is directly receiving the action of the verb while Reading is not directly receiving the action. An easy way to identify the dative case is the use of prepositions.

A preposition is a word that indicates the location of a noun, for example ‘to’, ‘in’, ‘from’, or a relationship between a noun and pronoun, such as 'about', 'instead of', or 'after'. In the graphics on this page, the preposition is coloured white.

Ðæs cyninges
Genitive
þegnas
Nominative
ferþ
Verb
to
Prep.
Readingum
Dative

As can be seen in the above sentence, 'the king's thanes go to Reading', what ending a noun takes is determined not just by its role in a sentence, but also its number. Compare the singular þegen in the first graphic with the plural þegnas in the second.

Strong Masculine Nouns
Singular Plural
Accusative þone cyning þa cyningas
Dative þæm cyninge þæm cyningum
Strong Masculine Nouns
Singular Plural
Accusative þone biscop þa biscopas
Dative þæm biscope þæm biscopum
Strong Masculine Nouns
Singular Plural
Accusative þone þegen þa þegnas
Dative þæm þegne þæm þegnum
Strong Masculine Nouns
Singular Plural
Accusative þone stan þa stanas
Dative þæm stane þæm stanum

You now know the basics of the accusative and dative cases. The next thing to do is practice what you have learned. Feel free to use the table to help you with the first batch of questions. You can hide the table at any point by clicking the orange 'Hide Table' button. Otherwise you can continue on to the next topic.

Return to Nom and Gen Strong Masc Nouns Continue to Demonstratives

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