Verben mit Nominativ

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On this page you'll learn everything about verbs with nominative complements. ( = Verben mit Nominativ)

Complements are really important to help you know whether you should use the nominative, accusative, dative, or genitive case. But first, you have to know what a complement is. If you aren't sure, take a look at this page on complements in the German language. It is necessary to understand teh concept of complements to understand the topic: Verben mit Nominativ.

Nominative Complements (Verben mit Nominativ)

Verbs always require a noun in the nominative case

The verb can‘t function by itself and needs a subject → The subject is in the nominative case, so we call this a nominative complement.

The subject can be a person or a thing.


  • Der Mann geht mit ihr spazieren.“
    „Der Mann“  is the subject ⇒ Nominative
  • Wir sind mit dem Zug nach Berlin gefahren.“
    „Wir“ is the subject ⇒ Nominative
  • Das Haus steht direkt am Strand.“
    „Das Haus“ is the subject ⇒ Nominative

Verbs with two Nominative Complements (Double Nominative)

The verbs „sein“, „werden“, „bleiben“ and heißen“ require a second nominative complement in addition to the subject:

  • Der Mann ist ein Idiot.“
  • Mein Sohn wird ein Pilot.“
  • Er bleibt ein Lehrer.“

When you use these verbs without a Preposition, the corresponding object is always in the Nominative form.

Why? Both nouns/pronouns are referring to the same person!

Attention: Verben mit Nominativ

If these are followed by measurements (weight, length, time, …), we need to use the accusative case! (The question is "how?" → No nominative case possible.)

  • Der Schrank ist einen Meter  hoch.“

But: Der Schrank ist ein alter Schrank.“ 

  • Er bleibt einen Monat im Krankenhaus.“ 
  • Der Tisch ist einen Meter Achzig lang.“

Sentences without the Nominative case

When we give commands (Imperative), we don’t need a nominative complement, since we talk to the person we want to perform the action. (The subject is implied, just like in English):

  • "Komm sofort nach Hause!"

In impersonal passive, the subject could be unknown. In passive voice, the person who is performing the action is not important. → Therefore, it is possible to have a sentence without a subject and therefore without nominative.

  • „Auf den Mann wurde geschossen.“

Summary - Verben mit Nominativ

  • In general, every verb needs a subject → Every verb has a nominative complement. 
  • Only the imperative and impersonal passive can be used without the nominative complement.

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