What Does Case Mean in English Grammar and Why Does it Really Matter?

What Does Case Mean in English Grammar and Why Does it Really Matter?
What Does Case Mean in English Grammar and Why Does it Really Matter?

Making a Case for Phrases in English

Many issues in English come from utilizing the target case the place the subjective case ought to have been used or utilizing the subjective case for the place the target case is appropriate. The errors happen largely with pronouns, the phrases that take the place of nouns in order to keep away from annoying repetition.

A few of these errors are so prevalent that it seems they might ultimately turn out to be a suitable a part of English regardless of their blatant incorrectness.

For instance, if there’s a knocking on the door, the response to the query, “Who’s it?” needs to be, “It’s I.” However the tendency is to make use of, “It is me.” That’s clearly a violation of pronoun and antecedent settlement the place IT is subjective and ME is goal. However, to aim to alter the habits of the world is as troublesome as to alter the rotation of the earth.

One other instance is the inaccurate utility of topic case or goal case in every of the next:

Me and her are going to feed Heathrow his meat and potatoes.

Heathrow took the meat and potatoes from my good friend and I.

The proper kinds needs to be:

She and I are going to feed Heathrow his meat and potatoes.

Heathrow took his meat and potatoes from my good friend and me.

Since pronouns nonetheless have variations in case type, in contrast to the nouns whose place they take, that’s the place the issues happen.

To place the names to which the pronouns refer would resolve the issue.

Larry and Hermione are going to feed Heathrow his meat and potatoes.

Heathrow took his meat and potatoes from my good friend Hermione and Larry (That’s I.) [See how awkward the correct form, That is I, sounds because it is so rarely used?

Pronouns still use CASE forms to identify their particular usage in the context of the sentence. Unfortunately, inadequate teaching, poor learning, or a combination of the two has perpetuated the problem. One cannot correct what he doesn’t recognize as incorrect. Before you can understand the problems of CASE, you must first know WHAT case is, where it comes from, and why it is called what it is.

The past participle of the Latin infinitive cadere (to fall) is casus, from which English has derived one of its most difficult concepts for students to grasp: Case! What kind of convoluted ideology went into making THAT a part of English grammar? It is a remnant of Latin via Greek. The term merely refers to the fact that the inflections (endings attached to a base to signify meaning) actually had been depicted on a graph to show how the patterns fell progressively from the Nominative through the Locative. Use your imagination to focus on what I mean. I will give you two methods with which to work.

1. Visualize a straight line just like any one of the horizontals on a sheet of lined paper. Place, in your mind a perpendicular from its center upwards (like a huge plus sign (+) without the part sticking down below the horizontal).

Perhaps a right triangle without the hypotenuse would be easier to grasp.

2. The area between the top of the vertical and the right end of the horizontal is the “falling zone” or that area in which the Greeks considered where the incidents of the cases would fall (fell: casus) in order from the nominative to the locative.

3. Consider the vertical leg to be the NOMINATIVE CASE and the horizontal to be the last case in the series to be the LOCATIVE CASE.

4. Now consider 5 straight lines beginning at the vertex, the inner part of the right angle, shooting outward to form decreasing degrees in 20 degree increments.

5. Each of these lines represent the seven cases which are enumerated below:

a. NOMINATIVE: This is the case for all words that function (act like, perform as, are designated as, look like) SUBJECTS, or PREDICATE NOMINATIVE.

b. GENITIVE: The genitive case {from the past participle of gignere [to beget ( see John, I, 1), genitus]} refers to all phrases that present possession, measurement or supply.

Hunh? You understand, this ball is John’s ( possession), I.e., it is the ball of John. That’s possession.

What about measurement? Ahhh – John walked a distance of a mile. OF A MILE measures a distance in order that the phrase MILE in Latin would take the genitive case.

Supply: We’re residents OF ROME; the guide is made OF PAPER PRODUCTS ( double genitive: supply and possession).

c. DATIVE: By its identify alone and with none information of Latin, a reader would don’t have any clue why this mysterious case is named DATIVE. Take a look at the supply. It comes from the Latin phrase DARE [pronounced dah ray] which is the infinitive for the English phrase GIVE (etymology is discovered on the finish of the entry in a great dictionary). How is “give” pertinent to DATIVE? The DATIVE case applies to phrases that symbolize recipients of that which is given. Therefore, in the sentence: Mama gave Heathrow his share of meat and potatoes, – Mama is the giver; Heathrow is the receiver; and meat and potatoes are what got to Heathrow ( who was actually in the temper for pasta). Heathrow, in Latin, can be in the Dative case; however, in English it can be referred to as an oblique object for no different cause than there was no good approach to categorical the connection instantly. In reality, the time period Oblique Object in English sheds no gentle on its which means or relevance. That’s most likely the explanation for its atrophy – its final disuse – as a related time period in English grammar.

d. The third line would symbolize the ACCUSATIVE case, the one into which any phrases which are DIRECT OBJECTS (For no matter cause they’re referred to as that – ) in English. The phrase ACCUSATIVE itself is definitely a mistaken interpretation (mistranslation?) for the Greek phrase AITIATIKE, which represents that which is CAUSED by, or the RESULT of the verb. The instantly aforementioned is basically greater than you, expensive reader, actually need to know. Therefore, when Heathrow obtained his meat and potatoes, these gadgets had been the results of the giving, and he, Heathrow, was the recipient (oblique object, dative case) of the verb. Simply to toss in slightly complication for taste, the Latin ACCUSATIVE CASE can also be used for sure prepositions that present course, and so forth. Too esoteric for you? Okay. Skip that and I’ll deal with these points in one other article.

e. The fourth line is for the oh, so advanced ABLATIVE CASE in Latin, a case that has so many twists and turns it deserves an entry all to itself. On the floor it is the case that embraces particular objects of prepositions that present separation (as in THE SENATOR LEFT ROME), or the way in which an motion is completed, or the company by means of which an motion is completed, or the means (with no preposition) by which an motion is completed, or the course away from which an object leaves the scene. Moreover, the ablative case has adopted the essence of what’s affectionately referred to as (and cursed) the ABLATIVE ABSOLUTE. Its equal in English is the oft ignored Nominative Absolute, which has the identical operate: to create a phrasal unit that in itself has no grammatical relationship to the primary or dependent clauses in a sentence however which DOES have some pertinent data to render its existence invaluable. I might have a sentence of its personal, however it most likely would not deserve one.

f. The fifth line goes to the LOCATIVE or VOCATIVE case, whichever you favor to NOT put on the backside. I selected the VOCATIVE, which has its root in the phrase VOCARE, which means to CALL. Therefore, the vocative case is designated particularly for DIRECT ADDRESS, or talking on to an individual, place, or factor (as one might do with personification in poetry).

e.g., Heathrow (Vocative case), your meat an potatoes are prepared.

g. The final line, which kinds the bottom of the best angle, goes to whichever of the 2 did not go on the earlier line. On this case, it is the LOCATIVE CASE, which is reserved for particular locations as in: Heathrow is at house ready for his meat and potatoes. The phrase HOME, in Latin, would take the Vocative case.

What occurred to all these instances in English? They nonetheless exist, however English as melded a few of them into one.

The nominative case, often known as the Subjective Case, has as its members all phrases which are topics, predicate nominatives, and predicate adjectives. Nevertheless, simply as guidelines are supposed to be damaged, there are exceptions. The topic of infinitives are in the Goal Case. Thus, in the sentence: I knew Heathrow to be the one to eat meat and potatoes, in Latin, Heathrow can be in the target case (as topic of the infinitive, to be; and ONE can be in the target case as the topic of the infinitive TO EAT.

The Genitive case is now referred to as the Possessive case and its indicators are both the phrase OF or the apostrophe ess (‘s) added to a phrase or any such substantive.

All the opposite instances have been absorbed into one English catch all case referred to as the OBJECTIVE case. It takes in all objects of prepositions, direct and oblique objects, and all features of the ablative in addition to the locative. The vocative has been renamed and referred to as by its operate: direct deal with.

However, probably the most distinctive change is that the endings (inflections) have been eradicated. Simplicity? Laziness? Practicality? Simply the winds of change? Regardless of the cause, the endings are gone. Their ghosts are nonetheless considerably evident in some pronouns, however that’s one other article to be addressed in the longer term.