Benefactive case

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The benefactive case (abbreviated BEN, or sometimes B when it is a core argument) is a grammatical case used where English would use "for", "for the benefit of", or "intended for", e.g. "She opened the door for Tom" or "This book is for Bob". The benefactive case expresses that the referent of the noun it marks receives the benefit of the situation expressed by the clause.

This meaning is often incorporated in a dative case. In Latin this type of dative is called the dativus commodi.

An example of a language with a benefactive case is Basque, which has a benefactive case ending in -entzat. Quechua is another example, and the benefactive case ending in Quechua is -paq. Tangkhul-Naga (from the Tibeto-Burman group of languages) has the benefactive case marker -wiʋaŋ.

Benefactive meaning may also be marked on the verb, in a common type of applicative voice.


An autobenefactive case or voice marks a case where the agens and the benefactor are one and the same. In Rhinelandic colloquial German, you have: Ich rauch mer en Zigarett. (I smoke a cigarette for myself), where mer (for myself) is optional. In the Colognian language, there is a compulsory autobenefactive for example with the verb bedde (to pray) when it is used intransitively: Hä deiht sesch bedde (He is praying). Formally, both those forms coincide with reflexives in these languages.

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