I was studying Latin, and I came upon this sentence:
Magister (boys writing letters) vidit.
Translated, it means:
The teacher saw the boys writing letters.
I was wondering, what grammatical case would "letters" be in that sentence?
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Letters is the direct object of writing. If it were marked for case, it would probably be accusative.
But modern English has largely lost its case system; its nouns are generally not marked for case, so more properly I would say that letters has no case. (Even in Old English, by the way, there was no accusative-nominative contrast for plural nouns like this one.)
English is quite different from Latin, and we cannot always use the same descriptions for both. Instead of marking a direct object with a case system, in English we rely on word order. As a result, we must say writing letters and not letters writing.