Adjectives and verbs as nouns in German
In German it is possible to form nouns out of adjectives or verbs: these are the substantivized adjectives or verbs. To form these words, you simply change the first letter into a capital letter and you add a definite and indefinite article.
- 1.What is a substantivized adjective in German?
- 1.1.Gender of substantivized adjectives
- 1.2.Declension table of substantivized adjectives
- 1.3.Usage of substantivized adjectives with etwas, nichts, wenig and viel
- 2.What is a substantivized verb in German?
- 2.1.Substantivized infinitive
- 2.2.Table of declension of substantivized infinitives
- 2.3.Substantivized infinitives with bei, zu and von
- 2.4.Substantivized present participle
- 2.5.Declension of substantivized present participle
- 2.6.Substantivized past participle
- 2.7.Declension of substantivized past participle
What is a substantivized adjective in German?
Substantivized adjectives are nouns formed from adjectives, without their prefix or suffix. All German adjectives can be used as nouns.
This table shows some examples:
|gut||das Gute||good - the good|
|deutsch||der Deutsche||German - the German|
|schön||das Schöne||beautiful - the beauty|
Gender of substantivized adjectives
Substantivized adjectives can be masculine or feminine. In this case, they designate animate beings.
|jung||der Jugendliche||young - adolescent|
|erwachsen||der Erwachsene||grown-up - adult|
|groß||die Große||tall - the tall|
Neuter substantivized adjectives refer to qualities or certain abstract concepts.
|gut||das Gute||good - the good|
|grün||das Grüne||green - the green|
Declension table of substantivized adjectives
Although substantivized adjectives are nouns, they are declined as adjectives. You can also have look in the topic of the declension of adjectives.
|Nominative||der Alte||die Alte||das Alte||die Alten|
|Genitive||des Alten||der Alten||des Alten||der Alten|
|Dative||dem Alten||der Alten||dem Alten||den Alten|
|Accusative||den Alten||die Alte||das Alte||die Alten|
Translation: alt - old der Alte - the old
Usage of substantivized adjectives with etwas, nichts, wenig and viel
Neuter substantivized adjectives can be used with the words etwas, nichts, wenig, and viel. However, they remain nouns and are therefore capitalized. In this case, the noun is used in the nominative case singular and ends with -s or -es.
What is a substantivized verb in German?
Like substantivized adjectives, substantivized verbs are formed from a verb (infinitive or past/present participle) without any prefix or suffix.
The substantivized infinitive is formed from the infinitive of a verb. They take a capital letter. The substantivized infinitive describes an action, the act of doing something.
Substantivized infinitves are always neuter.
|leben||das Leben||live - life|
|essen||das Essen||eat - the food|
|trinken||das Trinken||drink - the drink|
It is common to use these substantivized infinitives without any articles. Here are some examples.
- Radfahren macht Spaß. - Riding a bike is fun.
- Telefonieren ist teuer. - Phoning is expensive.
- Wandern ist gesund. - Hiking is healthy.
Table of declension of substantivized infinitives
The substantivized infinitives are declined as regular neuter nouns. They take the -s only in Genitive singular and they remain unchanged in the other cases. Normally is only used in the singular. Here you can find the declension table of das Laufen (laufen) - the walking (walking).
|Singular||das Laufen||des Laufens||dem Laufen||das Laufen|
Substantivized infinitives with bei, zu and von
Substantivized infinitives are often used in combination with bei, zu and von. Be careful: This prepositions are changing, if they are used with an article. Substantivized infinitives are similar to the English gerund with -ing or a simple infinitive. Here are some examples:
|bei (+ articles)||
Substantivized present participle
You can form a noun out of the present participle of a verb. Have also a look into the topic of the present participle of verbs.
Remember: to form a present participle in German, you need to add an -end or -nd to the radical of the verb.
In this table you can find some examples.
|reisen - travel||reisend - travelling||der Reisende - traveller|
|schlafen - sleep||schlafend - sleeping||der Schlafende - sleeper|
Declension of substantivized present participle
The nouns of present participle are declined as adjectives. You can find the declension of der Reisender - traveller in this table below.
|Singular||der Reisende||des Reisenden||dem Reisenden||den Reisenden|
|Plural||die Reisende||der Reisenden||den Reisenden||die Reisenden|
Substantivized past participle
You can also form a noun out of the past participle of a verb. Have a look into the topic of the present participle of verbs. In this table you can find some examples.
|kaufen - buy||gekauft - bought||das Gekaufte - the bought|
|geben - give||gegeben - given||das Gegebene - the given|
Declension of substantivized past participle
As for the present participle, also the substantivized past participle are declined as adjectives. You can find the declension of das Gekaufte - the bought thing in this table below.
|Singular||das Gekaufte||des Gekauften||dem Gekauften||den Gekauften|
|Plural||die Gekauften||der Gekauften||den Gekauften||die Gekauften|
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