We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Accusative Absolute?

By Franklin Jeffrey
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Grammarians use the term accusative absolute to describe a special construction in some languages. It is in a sense a clause that cannot stand on its own and has little or no meaning except when taken with the rest of the sentence. Constructed in the accusative case, it most often appears as a noun or pronoun joined to a predicate and lacking a finite verb. The accusative absolute appears in Greek, Latin and colloquial English grammar, but it is of particular importance in modern German grammar. Understanding what is meant by absolute construction and accusative case can help explain this particular grammatical construction.

An absolute construction is not connected grammatically to the sentence's subject and predicate and is a logical part of the sentence only by context. This can cause it to resemble a dangling participle, but whereas a dangling participle is intending to describe or modify a noun, an absolute construction does not. The accusative case is also called the objective case in English; it applies to nouns and pronouns that are the object of a sentence, whether direct or indirect. Some grammarians describe the accusative as the case at which the rest of the sentence points, since it clarifies whom or what is receiving the verb's action.

The accusative absolute is formed by a noun or pronoun in the accusative case and placed in an absolute construction without a finite verb. Finite verbs are traditional action verbs, like running or dancing; non-finite verbs are those that require a direct object to make sense, such as being, having or buying. An English example of the accusative absolute is present in the sentence, "Him being my brother, I loaned him the money," where "him being my brother" includes a non-finite verb and a pronoun in accusative case.

In German grammar, the accusative absolute is typically used with a noun phrase. When used in this manner, the construction describes something pertaining to the subject. For example, the sentence, "Umbrella in hand, he entered the shop," includes the accusative absolute "umbrella in hand" to indicate that the subject, "he" is holding an umbrella. German does still utilize the accusative case with sentence objects being acted upon by the subjects, but does not utilize absolute constructions in the way English does. In both English and German, however, an accusative absolute still lacks a direct grammatical connection to the rest of the sentence and thus does not make sense by itself.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By shell4life — On Jul 31, 2012

@orangey03 – That sounds like German grammar. I think that the English equivalent would involve a pronoun.

So, if you were doing an accusative absolute in this form, you would say, “Him having wandered away,” or “Him being less of a man.” It is all very confusing, I know.

This is why I don't generally assign terms to the parts of my writing. I know what they are called, but I can compose sentences more easily if I don't label the parts. As long as I don't violate any grammatical rules, I don't see a need to dissect my sentences.

By orangey03 — On Jul 30, 2012

I never knew exactly what this was called, but I have used it many times in my writing. It's amazing what all you can learn about what you have been doing for years!

I tend to start sentences with phrases like, “Having wandered away from the pack...” or “Being less of a man now...” but I never knew what the correct term for this was. I just did it because it sounded good.

Sometimes, starting a sentence in a way that is sort of off-kilter can make things interesting. I wouldn't do it all the time, though, because it would disrupt the natural flow of the work.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.