Accusative absolute

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The accusative absolute is a grammatical construction found in some languages. It is an absolute construction found in the accusative case.


In ancient Greek, the accusative case is used adverbially with participles of impersonal verbs. It is similar in usage to the genitive absolute.[1] For example:

συνδόξαν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ τῇ μητρὶ γαμεῖ τὴν Κυαξάρου θυγατέρα
seeming good-acc father-dat and mother-dat marries Cyaxares-gen daughter-acc
"It seeming good to his father and mother, he marries the daughter of Cyaxares." (Xenophon, Cyropaedia 8.5.28)


In German, a noun phrase can be put in the accusative to indicate that the subject of the sentence has the property described.[2] For example:

Neben ihm saß der dünnhaarige Pianist, den Kopf im Nacken, und lauschte


next to him sat the thin-haired pianist head in the neck and listened
"The thin-haired pianist, his head hanging (lit. his head in his neck), sat next to him and listened."


The accusative absolute is sometimes found in place of the ablative absolute in the Latin of Late Antiquity as, for example, in the writings of Gregory of Tours and Jordanes. This likely arose when the pronunciation of the ablative and accusative singulars merged, since the final -m of the accusative singular was no longer pronounced, even in the Classical era. But the accusative absolute is also found with plural nouns where the ablative and accusative are not similar in pronunciation.


  1. Balme, Maurice and Gilbert Lawall. Athenadze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. pp 172.
  2. Duden 4, Die Grammatik, 5th edition (1995), p. 624

See also

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