6.1 - Introduction to cases

In Unit 5 the aim was to show the importance of noun endings, and to indicate in general terms how these endings may change. Some mention was also made of the functions of nouns in a sentence. The time has now come to expand on these functions, which in grammar terminology are known as "cases".

The cases – Відмінки

Name of case

Ukrainian name




Subject of the sentence; "doer" of the action.

e.g. The caller put down the phone. Who put down the phone? The caller.



Denotes possession; "of"; " 's".

e.g. This is Robert's house. Whose house? Robert's.

e.g. We saw the committee's report. Whose report? The committee's (of the committee).



Indirect object, e.g. giving, showing, telling to (someone or something).

e.g. The assistant gave the goods to the client. To whom did the assistant give the goods? To the client.



Direct object; the focus of the action of the verb.

e.g. We saw the film yesterday. What did we see? The film.



Denotes "by means of", "through the agency of", "with".

e.g. Ian went to the concert with Helen. With whom did Ian go to the concert? With Helen.

e.g. I repaired my watch with a screwdriver. With (by means of) what did I repair my watch? With a screwdriver.



Denotes the place where someone or something is or happens.

e.g. He lives in Leicester. Where does he live? In Leicester.



Used when calling, greeting or addressing someone.

e.g. Hello, Sophie!

Dear Alex, (when writing a letter)

Well done, Mr. Brown!

To practise recognising the "cases" (functions) of nouns in English, go to Exercise 6.1A.

(We have put the word "case" in inverted commas since it is customary to say that a language has cases only if the functions of nouns are indicated by their endings, whereas in English the functions of nouns are indicated predominantly by the order of the words in a sentence.)

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala