The nominative case (abbreviated NOM), subjective case, straight case
or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other
part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the
predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or
other verb arguments. Generally, the noun "that is doing something" is
in the nominative, and the nominative is often the form listed in
2 Linguistic characteristics
2.1 Subjective case
3.2 Predicate noun or adjective
5 External links
Nominative comes from
Latin cāsus nominātīvus "case for naming",
which was translated from
Ancient Greek ὀνομαστικὴ
πτῶσις, onomastikḗ ptôsis "inflection for naming", from
onomázō "call by name", from ónoma "name".
Dionysius Thrax in
Art of Grammar refers to it as orthḗ or eutheîa "straight",
in contrast to the oblique or "bent" cases.
The reference form (more technically, the least marked) of certain
parts of speech is normally in the nominative case, but this is often
not a complete specification of the reference form, as it may also be
necessary to specify the number and gender. Thus the reference or
least marked form of an adjective might be the nominative masculine
singular. The parts of speech which are often declined and therefore
may have a nominative case are nouns, adjectives, pronouns and less
frequently numerals and participles. The nominative case often
indicates the subject of a verb but sometimes does not indicate any
particular relationship with other parts of a sentence. In some
languages the nominative case is unmarked, and it may be said to be
marked by a zero morpheme. Moreover, in most languages with a
nominative case, the nominative form is the lemma; that is, it is the
reference form used to cite a word, to list it as a dictionary entry,
Nominative cases are found in Arabic, Estonian, Slovak, Ukrainian,
Hungarian, Lithuanian, Georgian, German, Latin, Greek, Icelandic, Old
English, Old French, Polish, Serbian, Czech, Romanian, Russian, and
Pashto, among other languages. English still retains some nominative
pronouns, which are contrasted with the accusative (comparable to the
oblique or disjunctive in some other languages): I (accusative me), we
(accusative us), he (accusative him), she (accusative her), they
(accusative them) and who (accusative whom). A usage that is archaic
in most, but not all, current English dialects is the singular
second-person pronoun thou (accusative thee). A special case is the
word you: Originally, ye was its nominative form and you the
accusative, but over time you has come to be used for the nominative
The term "nominative case" is most properly used in the discussion of
nominative–accusative languages, such as Latin, Greek, and most
modern Western European languages.
In active–stative languages there is a case sometimes called
nominative which is the most marked case and is used for the subject
of a transitive verb or a voluntary subject of an intransitive verb
but not for an involuntary subject of an intransitive verb; since such
languages are a relatively new field of study, there is no standard
name for this case.
English language is now often described as having a subjective
case instead of a nominative, to draw attention to the differences
between the "standard" generic nominative and the way it is used in
English. The term objective case is then used for the
oblique case, which covers the roles of accusative, dative, and
objects of a preposition. The genitive case is then usually called the
possessive form, rather than a noun case per se. In this system,
English is said to have two cases: the subjective and the objective.
The nominative case marks the subject of a verb. When the verb is
active, the nominative is the person or thing doing the action
(agent); when the verb is passive, the nominative is the person or
thing receiving the action.
The boy saw her.
She was seen
Predicate noun or adjective
In copular sentences, the nominative is used for both subject and
Socrates was a wise man.
Socrates was wise.
^ nominativus. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A
on Perseus Project.
^ ὀνομαστικός. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A
Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
^ Dionysius Thrax. τέχνη γραμματική (Art of Grammar),
section ιβ´ (10b): περὶ ὀνόματος (On the noun).
^ "Personal pronoun". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press.
^ "Grammar Handbook « Writers Workshop: Writer Resources
« The Center for Writing Studies, Illinois".
www.cws.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
^ Shrives, Craig. "What Is the Subjective Case? (grammar lesson)".
www.grammar-monster.com. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
^ "What Is the Subjective (or Nominative) Case?". Retrieved
^ "Subjective and Objective Case @ The Internet Grammar of English".
www.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
German nominative case A lesson covering the nominative case in the
The Nominative Case - Russian Grammar A lesson covering the nominative
case in the Russian language
List of cases
Location, time, direction
Possession, companion, instrument
Essive (–formal, –modal)
English (Middle English, Old English)
German (Old High German)