Vocative Case: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what the vocative case is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on vocative cases, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is the vocative case?

According to Walden, there are many different forms of verbs in the English language, some of which are regular verbs and some are irregular verbs in different tenses. 

  •   Present perfect continuous tense
  •   Gerund tense or gerund phrase 
  •   Bare infinitive tense
  •   Present progressive tense
  •   To-infinitive tense
  •   Past perfect tense
  •   Future progressive tense
  •   Past progressive tense
  •   Present continuous tense
  •   Conditional perfect tense
  •   Perfect passive tense
  •   Past participle tense
  •   Simple present tense
  •   Present perfect tense
  •   Present participle tense
  •   Indicative tense
  •   Past progressive/continuous tense
  •   Conditional tense
  •   Present subjunctive tense
  •   Future perfect progressive tense
  •   Present indicative tense
  •   Present perfect progressive/continuous tense
  •   Future perfect tense
  •   Simple past tense
  •   Imperative tense
  •   Simple conditional tense
  •   Past perfect progressive tense
  •   Simple future tense
  •   Conditional progressive tense
  •   Infinitive tense
  •   Present perfect progressive tense 
  •   Conditional perfect progressive tense

Today we will explore the vocative case. According to Thought Co, a vocative is a word or phrase used to address a reader or listener directly. This is usually a personal name, title, or term of endearment that is set off with vocative commas. In speech, this is indicated by intonation, meaning that an utterance is usually accented or emphasized. This is also called direct address, and comes from the Latin word for call. Like in other languages like Polish, Sanskrit, Celtic languages, Slavic languages, European languages, and other languages, the vocative case often calls people by proper nouns such as a name like Marcus, Marce, Lucius, Ica, Vladyko, Vladyka, Lena, Marek, Marku, Rover, Ana, Mister Gospodine – any female names, male names, or gender neutral first names. It can also use noun phrases like “beautiful woman” or a common noun. These can come at the beginning of a sentence, middle of a sentence, or end of a sentence. An expression of direct address or a vocative expression uses the specific names of things. It is the role of a noun or group of words that act as a noun to call out a subject, as or direct object of the verb, as is done in a vocative particle or vocative phrases. Vocative form is identical to the corresponding nominative for all plural vocatives, for all neuter vocatives, and for first declension feminine nouns.

Many different languages also contain words that mean vocative case. You may notice that some of these translations of vocative case look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of vocative case is provided by Word Sense

  •  Macedonian: вокатив‎
  •  Greek: κλητικός‎
  •  Latin: vocātīvus‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: vokativan‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: gairmeach‎
  •  French: vocatif‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: megszólító‎
  •  Portuguese: vocativo‎
  •  Finnish: vokatiivinen‎
  •  Dutch: vocatief‎ (masc.)
  •  Czech: vokativní‎
  •  Hindi: संबोधित‎
  •  Japanese: 呼格の‎ (kokaku-no)
  •  Swedish: vokativ‎
  •  Georgian: წოდებითი‎
  •  Russian: зва́тельный‎
  •  Spanish: vocativo‎

What is an example of vocative case?

The vocative case can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of vocative cases that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use.  Take a look at these vocative case examples from Grammar Monster and Learn Grammar

  •  Hi, Lamazi Kali.
  •  Dexter, fetch the stick.
  •  To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. (Playwright Oscar Wilde)
  •  I know, Stephen.
  •  Where have you been, you little adventurer?
  •  Yes, John, get your skates on. 
  •  Where are you, my little bookworm?
  •  Dammit, sir, it is your duty to get married. You can’t be always living for pleasure. (Playwright Oscar Wilde)
  •  Thank you so much, honey, for doing that for me.
  •  No, Lee, that’s wrong.
  •  I understand, your Majesty.
  •  You’re the man, man.
  •  Son, we need to talk.
  •  Say a prayer, idiot.
  •  Darn it, keys, where the heck did I put you?
  •  Fido, stop chewing on the couch.
  •  Play it again, Sam.
  •  I want to, mate.
  •  Let her ride the donkey, Dick.
  •  “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski.” (President Bill Clinton)
  •  Lisa, well done!
  •  You, please leave the place.
  •  Bob, show him the way to the Chairman’s room.
  •  Jenn, please be careful.
  •  Tom, are you leaving?
  •  Robin, are you coming to the concert?
  •  Sam, look out!
  •  Robert, are you acting in this movie?
  •  Richard, are you performing in the program?
  •  April, are you going to the picnic?
  •  You, get out of the class.
  •  Rick, meet him now.
  •  Suzan, think about it again.
  •  Anny, I am talking to you.
  •  Aric, go to the meeting.
  •  Alice, come here.
  •  Jim, are you serious?
  •  Jeff, prepare the plan.
  •  Pam, is anything wrong?
  •  Ann, please take your seat.
  •  Your sister is called Teresa because it’s an anagram of Easter, which your mother loves. Why do you ask, Alan?
  •  I don’t know what I’d do without you, Tim!
  •  Jack, get off.
  •  Get out of my way, jerkface.
  •  Mary, do you want to go to the concert with me?
  •  Jade, don’t shout out the answers.
  •  Hi, Sarah.
  •  On your feet, dog.
  •  Well, doctor, what’s your conclusion?
  •  What’s the word, adventurer?
  •  It is true to say, dear, that we are skint. 
  •  See you next Tuesday, Face. (a quote from “The A Team”)
  •  You have risen like one of Aunt Sally’s Yorkshire puddings, you little beauty.
  •  Professor, I have a question

Overall, in modern English the vocative case is used to call out specific people, animals  or inanimate objects in a sentence by a proper name or title.


  1. Glossary of grammatical terms | OED
  2. Verb Forms: “-ing,” Infinitives, and Past Participles – Grammar – Academic Guides | Walden University 
  3. vocative: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. Vocative Case | What Is the Vocative Case? | Grammar Monster 
  5. Examples of The Vocative Case | Learn English  
  6. Vocative: Definition and Examples in English Grammar | Thought Co