Difference Between Accusative and Dative

Accusative vs Dative
 

The key difference between accusative and dative case is what they focus on in a sentence. In the English language, there are mainly four cases. They are the nominative case, accusative case, dative case, and the genitive case. The nominative case refers to the subject of the sentence. The accusative case refers to the direct object of the sentence. The dative case refers to the indirect object of the sentence. Finally, the genitive case refers to the possessive. From this simple explanation itself it is quite clear that the accusative case and dative case refer to two completely different cases. The accusative focuses on the direct object whereas the dative focuses on the indirect object. Through this article let us examine the differences between these two cases further.

What is the Accusative?

The accusative case focuses on the direct object. The direct object of the sentence can be identified quite easily by asking the question ‘what’ or ‘whom.’ Let us comprehend this through some examples.

I closed the door.

She gave the book.

He saw the teacher.

Observe each example closely. First, let us pay attention to the structure of each sentence. There are a clear subject, verb, and an object.

Pay attention to the first example ‘I closed the door.’ I is the subject. Closed is the verb, and the door is the direct object. If we ask the question ‘closed what?’ it brings the direct object to focus. The dative case is a bit different to the accusative case.

Difference Between Accusative and Dative

‘She gave the book

What is the Dative?

The dative case highlights the indirect object of the English language. Unlike the accusative case where the focus is on the direct object, here, it shifts to the indirect object. This indirect object refers to the recipient of the direct object. Let us look at some examples.

She sent him a letter.

I gave the papers to Jack.

The little boy gave flowers to the old lady.

Observe each example. In each case, there exists a direct object and an indirect object. This indirect object is the recipient of the direct object. For instance, in the first sentence ‘She sent him a letter,’ the letter is the direct object. ‘Him’ refers to the indirect object because he is the recipient of the letter.

The accusative and dative cases are not unique to the English language but apply to other languages as well. In some such languages, the different cases bring about changes in the gender as well as the plural forms. However in the English language these are minimal.

Accusative vs Dative

‘She sent him a letter’

What is the difference between Accusative and Dative?

• Definitions of Accusative and Dative:

• The accusative case refers to the direct object of the sentence.

• The dative case refers to the indirect object of the sentence.

• Classification:

• Both accusative and dative cases are considered as objective cases in the English language.

• Direct Object vs Indirect Object:

• The accusative case refers to the direct object.

• The dative case refers to the indirect object of the sentence.

 

Images Courtesy: Book and letter via Pixabay (Public Domain)