What is the Dative Case? Definition, Examples of English Dative Case

Dative case definition: The dative case is an English grammatical case that is used to show the indirect object of a verb.

What is the Dative Case?

What does dative case mean? The dative case is a grammatical case for nouns and pronouns. The case shows a noun’s or pronoun’s relationship to other words in the sentence.

The dative case shows the relationship of an indirect object to a verb.

An indirect object is the recipient of a direct object. The indirect object receives the direct object.

Dative Case Examples:

  • He gave an assignment to me.
    • Verb: gave
    • Direct object: an assignment
    • indirect object in the dative case: me
  • He wrote the letter for her.
    • Verb: wrote
    • Direct object: the letter
    • Indirect object in the dative case: her

Intro to Cases: What is Grammatical Case?

dative verbs An English grammatical case shows the relationship of a noun or pronoun to other words in a sentence. There are four main cases in English.

Nominative Case

What is the nominative case? The nominative case refers to the case used for a noun or pronoun when it is the subject of a verb.

  • I forgot my watch.
  • Subject/Nominative case: I
  • Verb: forgot

Genitive Case

dative in englishWhat is the genitive case? The genitive case refers to the case used for a noun, pronoun, or adjective to show ownership.

  • I forgot my watch.
  • Possessive pronoun/Genitive case: my

Accusative Case

What is the accusative case? The accusative case refers to the case used for a noun or pronoun that is a direct object.

  • I forgot my watch
  • Verb: forgot
  • Direct object: watch

Dative Case

dative definition What is the dative case? The dative case refers to the case used for a noun or pronoun that is an indirect object.

  • You showed a watch to him.
  • Verb: gave
  • Direct object: a watch
  • Indirect object in the dative case: him

Dative vs. Nominative Case

dativ case The nominative case refers to the case used for a noun or pronoun when it is the subject of a verb. The nominative case uses nouns and pronouns as subjects. The nominative case is also called the subjective case.

The dative case refers to the case used for a noun or pronoun that is an indirect object. The dative case uses noun and pronouns as objects. The dative case is also called one of the objective cases.

Notice the difference between the sentences below. The subjects and indirect objects change depending on their use in the nominative or dative case.

  • She gave a bracelet to him.
    • Subject in the nominative case: she
    • Verb: gave
    • Direct object: a bracelet
    • Indirect object in the dative case: him
  • He gave a bracelet to her.
    • Subject in the nominative case: he
    • Verb: gave
    • Direct object: a bracelet
    • Indirect object in the dative case: her

Prepositions Can Take the Dative Case

Prepositions can take the dative case because they generally introduce indirect objects.

dative pronouns The nouns and pronouns in the dative case are often objects of a preposition. The object of a preposition is the noun or pronoun that receives the preposition. Together the preposition and its object create a prepositional phrase.

Example:

  • We built a desk for them.
    • Indirect object in the dative case (also object of the preposition): her
    • Preposition in the dative case: for
    • Prepositional phrase: for her

Summary: What is the Dative Case?

Define dative case: the definition of dative case is a grammatical case denoting the indirect object of a verb.

To sum up, the dative case:

  • is an English grammatical case
  • is a type of objective case
  • refers to nouns or pronouns used as indirect objects