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  4.1 Subject of a Phrase

If, to start, we were to try to say everything about personal pronouns, it might prove tricky!  Therefore, to start gently, we first look at their basic form, the nominative case.

Maybe you already know that German language has something called declension. Because of this declension German has the image of being a difficult language. And to be honest even for lots of Germans the declension is not quite easy. To understand the declension it could be helpful to turn to other languages, since not only German works that way but also Latin, Russian and others. All these problems we'll have a look at later. Now we just start with the basic form (the nominative). Have a look at these phrases:

   Example 1

Mary reads a book. She reads a book.
Mary is in nominative, or better the subject of a phrase. After subject of a phrase you ask with Who?
Who reads a book? Mary

The subject of a phrase defines the verb. Mary is in the third person singular. If we change the phrase, e.g. into the first person plural the verb will change (even only marginally).

   Example 2

We read a book. and not We reads a book.

Here there are not yet any major differences between English and German. If we later have a look at objects we'll find a lot of differences. But for now we stick with the basic form.

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