Nominative Case

What is the Nominative Case?

Basic idea of nominative case
Basic Idea of Nominative case

The Nominative Case (also called Subjective case) is the case form under which a nounOpens in new window is used when it is the subject of a verbOpens in new window. This case form primarily expresses the idea of subject and predicateOpens in new window. A subject heads a sentence, and requires the verb to agree with it.

In traditional English the subjects of verbs, which can be nounsOpens in new window, noun–phrasesOpens in new window, or pronounsOpens in new window, are always in the nominative case. The subject in the Nominative Case answers the question “Who or what is performing the action?”

Consider the example given below
  • Gretchen studies English.
  • The boy was struck by his brother.

Looking at the first sentence, we can tell that the noun Gretchen:

  • stands for that about which something is said by means of the verb studies;
  • indicates the subject of the verb studies, because it answers the question who or what performed the action described by the verb.
  • Therefore the noun, Gretchen, is marked in the nominative case.
  • Likewise, in the second sentence, the noun, boy, stand for that about which something is said by means of the verb was struck, and therefore the noun boy is marked in the nominative case, because it is the subject of the verb was struck.
Important Hint  

Note that if the verb of the sentence is marked in the active voice (as we witnessed above), the subject of the verb stands for the doer of the action described by the verb. But, supposing the verb occurs in the passive voiceOpens in new window, the subject of the verb stands for the object of the action described by the verb. In either case the subject stands for that about which something is said by means of the verb.