The Info List - Nominative Case

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 dictionaries.


1 Etymology 2 Linguistic characteristics

2.1 Subjective case

3 Examples

3.1 Subject 3.2 Predicate noun or adjective

4 References 5 External links

Etymology[edit] Nominative comes from Latin
cāsus nominātīvus "case for naming",[1] which was translated from Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
ὀνομαστικὴ πτῶσις, onomastikḗ ptôsis "inflection for naming",[2] from onomázō "call by name",[3] from ónoma "name".[4] Dionysius Thrax in his Art of Grammar refers to it as orthḗ or eutheîa "straight",[5] in contrast to the oblique or "bent" cases. Linguistic characteristics[edit] 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, etc. 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 as well. 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. Subjective case[edit] The English language
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.[6][7][8][9][10] 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. Examples[edit] Subject[edit] 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[edit] In copular sentences, the nominative is used for both subject and predicate.

Socrates was a wise man. Socrates was wise.


^ nominativus. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin
Dictionary on Perseus Project. ^ ὀνομαστικός. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project ^ ὀνομάζω ^ ὄνομα ^ Dionysius Thrax. τέχνη γραμματική (Art of Grammar), section ιβ´ (10b): περὶ ὀνόματος (On the noun). Bibliotheca Augustana. ^ "Personal pronoun". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-01-29.  ^ "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 2015-09-23.  ^ "Subjective and Objective Case @ The Internet Grammar of English". www.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-23. 

External links[edit]

German nominative case A lesson covering the nominative case in the German language The Nominative Case - Russian Grammar A lesson covering the nominative case in the Russian language

v t e

Grammatical cases

List of cases Declension Morphosyntactic alignment


Morphosyntactic alignment

Absolutive Accusative Direct Ergative Intransitive Nominative Oblique Partitive Pegative

Location, time, direction

Ablative Addirective Adelative Adessive Allative Antessive Apudessive Approximative Delative Distantitive Distributive (–temporal) Egressive Elative Illative Inelative Inessive Initiative Intrative Lative Limitative Locative (–qualitative) Medial Perlative Pertingent Postdirective Postelative Postessive Prolative Prosecutive Proximative Separative Subdirective Subelative Subessive Sublative Superdirective Superelative Superessive Superlative Temporal Terminative

Possession, companion, instrument

Abessive Associative Caritive Comitative Dative Genitive Instrumental (–comitative) Ornative Possessed Possessive Privative Sociative

State, manner

Adverbial Comparative Equative Essive (–formal, –modal) Exessive Formal Identical Instructive Modal Multiplicative Orientative Revertive Semblative Translative

Cause, purpose

Aversive Benefactive Causal (–final) Evitative Final


Dubitive Postpositional Prepositional Vocative


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