Updated on

The Accusative Case

The accusative case is an inflection used to mark a word as the object of an action.

English doesn’t have an accusative case; the object of a verb is indicated by word order:

Harold punches Kumar. (Kumar is the object of the action)
Kumar punches Harold. (Harold is the object of the action)

It does, however, have an oblique case — an inflection used for indicating objects and indirect objects of an action — though this appears only in pronouns:

Whom does Harold punch? (“whom” is the object of the action)
Harold punches him. (“him” is the object of the action)

Ido is much like English in that word order usually determines who punches whom, but when the usual word order is changed, as in questions, it adds the accusative ending -n to mark the punchers from the punchees:

Haroldo frapas Kumaro. Harold punches Kumar.
Kumaro frapas Haroldo. Kumar punches Harold.
Qua frapas Kumar? Who punches Kumar?
Quan frapas Kumar? Whom does Kumar punch?
Me ne savas, qua frapas ilu. I don’t know who hits him.
Me ne savas, quan frapas ilu. I don’t know whom he hits.

Unlike English, Ido occasionally adds -n to non-pronouns where the object of an action is potentially ambiguous:

Me amas vu quale mea fratulon. I love you like (as if you were) my brother.
Me amas vu quale mea fratulo. I love you like my brother (loves you).