Grammatical Cases

For those of you who have never studied Latin, or German, or a host of other languages known as inflected languages, grammatical cases are noun and pronoun inflections which indicate the relationship of terms in a sentence to one another. In English, cases are now only important to indicate possession (cat/cat’s, it/its) and in pronouns (she/her, who/whom). However, some languages have up to fifteen cases. You just might want to have this list on hand if you ever take a trip to Finland, for instance. Or then again, maybe not. At any rate, while most non-linguists are familiar with only a handful of these cases at most, there are in fact over fifty distinct cases that I have been able to track down.

Word Definition
abessive indicating absence or lack
ablative indicating direction from or time when
absolutive indicating subject or object of intransitive verb
accusative indicating direct object of a verb
adessive indicating place where or proximity to
adnominal indicating adjective used as a noun
agentive indicating agent performing an action
allative indicating movement towards
associative indicating association with or accompaniment by
benefactive indicating for whom or which
caritive indicating lack of something
causative indicating causation by
comitative indicating accompaniment
compellative indicating address or appellation; vocative
conformative indicating resemblance; similative
dative indicating indirect object of a verb
delative indicating motion downward
distributive indicating separate members of a group, one at a time
elative indicating movement out of or away from
equative indicating likeness or identity
ergative indicating subject of a transitive verb
essive indicating a temporary state of being
factive indicating causation
genitive indicating possession, origin or relation
illative indicating movement into or toward
inessive indicating location within
instructive indicating means whereby
instrumental indicating means by which
introessive indicating motion into
juxtapositive indicating juxtaposition
lative indicating motion up to or as far as
locative indicating location or place where
multiplicative indicating repetition or augmentation
mutative indicating a change of place or state
nominative indicating subject of a verb
oppositive indicating opposition or location opposite to
partitive indicating a part of a larger whole
perlative indicating movement through or across
possessive indicating possession; genitive case
predicative indicating the predicate
privative indicating absence, deprivation or negation
prolative indicating motion alongside or means of motion
relative indicating relation or a prepositional object
similative indicating similarity to
situative indicating comparison of two things
sociative indicating association with the subject
stative indicating a state rather than an action
subessive indicating location under or below
sublative indicating movement towards the top of
superessive indicating location upon or on top of
temporal indicating time when
terminative indicating motion up to or time until
translative indicating process of change or movement through
vocative indicating calling or personal address
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