The accusative case

  • Added to nouns, the accusative case
    • ai / ஐ
  • indicates that the noun to which it is added is the object of action in the sentence.

When to use the accusative suffix

  • Not all objects require the accusative suffix. If the speaker does not have a specific object in mind, it is generally omitted.
    • E.g. பத்திரிகை படிக்க அவளுக்கு நேரம் இல்லை – she has no time to read the newspaper. (no specific newspaper is being referred to in this sentence.)
  • Conversely, the speaker generally uses the accusative suffix, when he wishes to indicate that he is referring specifically to a certain object.
    • E.g. இந்த பத்திரிகையை படிக்க அவளுக்கு நேரம் இல்லை – she has no time to read this newspaper. (Here the speaker refers specifically to a particular newspaper, so the accusative must be used.)
  • Similarly, it is natural that the accusative is almost always used when the noun is preceded by இந்த/அந்த/எந்த ‘this/that which?’
  •  Rational nouns, however, generally have the accusative suffix regardless of this distinction.

Constructions using the Accusative case:

  1. A-accusative விட
    • Translates as: ‘compared to A, than A’
    • Tamil has no separate “comparative” or “superlative” forms of adjectives (i.e. ‘bigger’, ‘biggest’, etc.) These relative notions are expressed either by implication (as below) or with the help of an explicit relative phrase such as ‘big compared to A, big compared to all others.’
    • E.g. ஏரிகளை விட இலங்கையில் நிறைய மலைகள் இருக்கிறது.
  2. A-accusative சுற்றி
    • Translates as: ‘around A, surrounding A’
  3. A-accusative தவிர
    1. Translates as: ‘apart from A, besides A; except A’
    2. [ஆரிய மொழிகளை]-உம் [திராவிட மொழிகளை]-உம் தவிர – apart from the Aryan and Dravidian languages
    3. (Note in the above phrase that since-உம் cannot be suffixed to adjectives (nor genitives), the noun மொழிகள் must be used after each adjective.)