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This page pertains to UD version 2.

Case: case

Values: Acc Dat Gen Ins Loc Nom Voc

Case is an inflectional feature of nouns and other parts of speech (adjectives, numerals) that mark agreement with nouns. It is also valency feature of prepositions (saying that the preposition requires its argument to be in that case).

Case helps specify the role of the noun phrase in the sentence. For example, the nominative and accusative cases often distinguish subject and object of the verb, while in fixed-word-order languages these functions would be distinguished merely by the positions of the nouns in the sentence.

Czech morphology distinguishes seven cases: Nom, Gen, Dat, Acc, Voc, Loc and Ins (this ordering is fixed in the grammar and the cases are also referred to by numbers 1–7).


The descriptions of the individual case values below include semantic hints about the prototypical meaning of the case. Bear in mind that quite often a case will be used for a meaning that is totally unrelated to the meaning mentioned here. Valency of verbs, adpositions and other words will determine that the noun phrase must be in a particular grammatical case to fill a particular valency slot (semantic role).

Nom: nominative

The base form of the noun, also used as citation form (lemma). This is the word form used for subjects of clauses.


Gen: genitive

Prototypical meaning of genitive is that the noun phrase somehow belongs to its governor; it would often be translated by the English preposition of.

Note that despite considerable semantic overlap, the genitive case is not the same as the feature of possessivity (Poss). Possessivity is a lexical feature, i.e. it applies to lemma and its whole paradigm. Genitive is a feature of just a subset of word forms of the lemma. Semantics of possessivity is much more clearly defined while the genitive (as many other cases) may be required in situations that have nothing to do with possessing. For example, bez prezidentovy dcery  “without the president’s daughter” is a prepositional phrase containing the preposition bez  “without”, the possessive adjective prezidentovy  “president’s” and the noun dcery  “daughter”. The possessive adjective is derived from the noun prezident  but it is really an adjective (with separate lemma and paradigm), not just a form of the noun. In addition, both the adjective and the noun are in their genitive forms (the nominative would be prezidentova dcera). There is nothing possessive about this particular occurrence of the genitive. It is there because the preposition bez  always requires its argument to be in genitive.


Dat: dative

This is the word form often used for indirect objects of verbs.


Acc: accusative

Perhaps the second most widely spread morphological case. This is the word form most frequently used for direct objects of verbs.


Voc: vocative

The vocative case is a special form of noun used to address someone. Thus it predominantly appears with animate nouns (see the feature of Animacy). Nevertheless this is not a grammatical restriction and inanimate things can be addressed as well.


Loc: locative

The locative case often expresses location in space or time, which gave it its name. As elsewhere, non-locational meanings also exist and they are not rare. On the other hand, some location roles may be expressed using other cases (e.g. because those cases are required by a preposition).

This is the only Czech case that is used exclusively in combination with prepositions.


Ins: instrumental

The role from which the name of the instrumental case is derived is that the noun is used as instrument to do something (as in psát perem  “to write using a pen”). Many other meanings are possible, for example the instrumental is required by the preposition “with” and thus it includes the meaning expressed in other languages by the comitative case.

In Czech the instrumental is also used for the agent-object in passive constructions (cf. the English preposition by).


Case in other languages: [am] [apu] [arr] [bej] [bg] [cs] [el] [eme] [en] [es] [ess] [et] [fi] [ga] [gn] [grc] [gub] [hu] [hy] [ka] [kmr] [koi] [kpv] [ky] [mdf] [myu] [myv] [pcm] [pt] [qpm] [ru] [sl] [sv] [tl] [tpn] [tr] [tt] [u] [uk] [urb] [urj]