• German grammar
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  • 1 German pronunciation [0/1]
  • 2 German functions of words [0/5]
  • 3 German sentence structure [0/28]
  • Construct a German sentence! (Score -/-)Free
  • Make a German indirect speech! (Score -/-)Free
  • 3.1 Sentence structure of main clauses in German [0/4]
  • 3.2 Dependent clauses in German [0/12]
  • 3.3 Negation in German [0/3]
  • 3.4 Questions in German [0/2]
  • 3.5 Indirect speech in German [0/2]
  • 3.6 Conjunctions in German [0/3]
  • 4 German Articles [0/7]
  • 5 German nouns [0/28]
  • Fill in the correct form of the German noun! (Score -/-)Free
  • Form the correct plural form of the German nouns! (Score -/-)Free
  • Fill in the correct definite and indefinite article! (Score -/-)Free
  • Translate these nouns into German (Score -/-)Free
  • Match the right German word to the sentences (Score -/-)Free
  • 5.1 Gender of German nouns (substantives) - der, die, das [0/9]
  • 5.2 Plural of German nouns [0/4]
  • 5.3 German declension (N-declension) [0/4]
  • 5.4 Diminutive (-lein, -chen) in German [0/3]
  • 5.5 Compound nouns in German [0/2]
  • 5.6 Adjectives and verbs as nouns in German [0/1]
  • 6 German pronouns [0/19]
  • 7 German cases [0/13]
  • 8 German adjectives [0/29]
  • Exercise for building German adjectives (Score -/-)Free
  • Determine the form of use of these German adjectives! (Score -/-)Free
  • Transform these German adjectives to their nominal form (Score -/-)Free
  • Build the comparative and superlative of these German adjectives (Score -/-)Free
  • Insert the German attributive adjective! (Score -/-)Free
  • 8.1 Different types of adjectives in German [0/3]
  • 8.2 How to form German adjectives [0/1]
  • 8.3 German participle as adjectives [0/2]
  • 8.4 Comparative and superlative adjectives in German [0/4]
  • 8.5 Declension of German adjectives [0/2]
  • 8.6 Forming and declension of ordinal numbers in German [0/2]
  • 8.7 Possessive adjectives in German [0/2]
  • 8.8 Demonstrative adjectives in German [0/2]
  • 8.9 Interrogative and exclamatory adjectives in German [0/2]
  • 8.10 Indefinite adjectives in German [0/2]
  • 8.11 List of German Adjectives [0/2]
  • 9 German adverbs [0/13]
  • 10 German verbs [0/67]
  • Match the correct German verb to the sentences (Score -/-)Free
  • Form the German simple past and participle II form (Score -/-)Free
  • Exercise to match the right German auxiliary verb! (Score -/-)Free
  • Choose the right conjugation of the German verbs (Score -/-)Free
  • Build the German form of politeness! (Score -/-)Free
  • 10.1 Auxiliary verbs in German [0/5]
  • 10.2 Modal verbs in German [0/8]
  • 10.3 Separable and inseparable verbs in German [0/3]
  • 10.4 Conjugation of regular verbs (weak verbs) in German
  • 10.5 Conjugation of irregular verbs (strong verbs) in German [0/45]
  • Exercise: German irregular verbs (Score -/-)Free
  • 10.5.1 Conjugation of geben (to give) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.2 Conjugation of gehen (to walk, to go) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.3 Conjugation of lassen (to let) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.4 Conjugation of nehmen (to take) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.5 Conjugation of fahren (to drive) German [0/2]
  • 10.5.6 Conjugation of essen (to eat) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.7 Conjugation of lesen (to read) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.8 Conjugation of sehen (to see) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.9 Conjugation of kommen (to come) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.10 Conjugation of trinken (to drink) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.11 Conjugation of schlafen (to sleep) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.12 Conjugation of gefallen (to please) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.13 Conjugation of schreiben (to write) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.14 Conjugation of helfen (to help) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.15 Conjugation of laufen (to run) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.16 Conjugation of treffen (to meet, to hit) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.17 Conjugation of tragen (to carry) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.18 Conjugation of bleiben (to stay) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.19 Conjugation of schwimmen (to swim) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.20 Conjugation of finden (to find) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.21 Conjugation of waschen (to wash) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.22 Conjugation of bekommen (to get) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.23 Cojugation of bringen (to bring) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.24 Conjugation of sprechen (to speak) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.25 Conjugation of heißen (to be called) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.26 Conjugation of fliegen (to fly) in German [0/2]
  • 10.5.27 Conjugation of backen (to bake) in German [0/1]
  • 10.5.28 Conjugation of steigen (to rise) in German [0/1]
  • 10.6 List of common verbs in German [0/1]
  • 11 German prepositions [0/27]
  • Spot all the used German prepositions! (Score -/-)Free
  • Match the German prepositions! (Score -/-)Free
  • Prepositions and German grammar cases! (Score -/-)Free
  • Determine which kind of German preposition is being used! (Score -/-)Free
  • Complete the verbs and adjectives! (Score -/-)Free
  • 11.1 Locative prepositions in German [0/2]
  • 11.2 Temporal prepositions in German [0/2]
  • 11.3 Modal prepositions in German [0/2]
  • 11.4 Causal prepositions in German [0/2]
  • 11.5 German prepositions requiring the genitive [0/2]
  • 11.6 German prepositions requiring the dative [0/2]
  • 11.7 German Prepositions requiring the accusative [0/2]
  • 11.8 German prepositions with either dative or accusative [0/2]
  • 11.9 German prepositions and articles [0/2]
  • 11.10 German prepositions with verbs [0/2]
  • 11.11 German prepositions and adjectives [0/2]
  • 12 Tenses and conjugation of German verbs [0/23]
  • Form the correct German tense! (Score -/-)Free
  • Choose the correct German tense! (Score -/-)Free
  • 12.1 Present tense (Präsens) in German [0/4]
  • 12.2 Simple past tense (Präteritum) in German [0/4]
  • 12.3 Present perfect (Perfekt) in German [0/3]
  • 12.4 Past perfect tense (Plusquamperfekt) in German [0/3]
  • 12.5 German future I [0/4]
  • 12.6 German Future II [0/3]
  • 13 Infinitive in German [0/8]
  • 14 Imperative in German [0/3]
  • 15 Subjunctive in German [0/6]
  • 16 Active and passive voice in German [0/2]
  • 17 Participle in German [0/6]
  • In German there are different ways to compare certain persons, objects or processes. This chapter deals with the different types of comparison and represents its construction and special cases. 

    What are the three degrees of German adjectives?

    In English as well as in German, adjectives have three degrees of comparison: the positive, the comparative and the superlative. 

    For example:

    • Das Bild ist schön. (positive) (The picture is pretty.)
    • Dein Bild ist schöner. (comparative) (Your picture is prettier.)
    • Unser Bild ist am schönsten. (superlative) (Our picture is the prettiest.)

    enlightenedWhile the positive form of an adjective simply describes the noun, a comparative adjective compares persons or things that are not equal. The superlative describes persons, actions or things that can't be outperformed.

    How to form the comparative and superlative

    To build the comparative or superlative form, you need to seperate the word stem and afterwards add a specific ending.

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    Endings to form the superlative and comparative in German (using suffixes)

    The two forms of adjectives have different constructions. Both of them are constructed using a suffix:

    • comparative form: base form of adjective + -er
    • superlative form: am + base form of adjective + -(e)sten

    enlightenedKeep in mind, that if a comparative or superlative adjective precedes a noun, it takes the appropriate adjective ending.

    Positive Comparative Superlative
    schnell schnell - er am schnell - sten
    laut laut - er am laut - esten
    klein klein - er am klein - sten
    schön schön - er am schön - sten

     

    enlightenedSometimes, in English the comparative and superlative forms are composed by using more or most, as in more beautiful. Unlike in Englisch, in German it can never be formed by mehr + adjective.

    Exceptional cases in forming the comparative and superlative

    Of course, there are certain cases, where you have to be careful with. These are the exceptional cases by forming the comparative and superlative:

    1. Adjectives that cannot be used as comparative or superlative
    2. Irregular adjectives using an umlaut
    3. Adjectives ending with -el and -er
    4. Other irregular adjectives

    Adjectives that cannot be used as comparative or superlative

    Some adjectives cannot be tranformed into the comporative or superlative form, because otherwise the meaning of the words would be modified. The following adjectives cannot be increased:

    1. Adjectives that represent colours (blau, grün, rot etc.)
    2. Adjectives that represent the highest level of something (viereckig, englisch, schwanger, maximal etc.)
    3. Compound adjectives where the added part of the word already stands for the highest level (eiskalt, stockdunkel, zuckersüß etc.)

     

    Positive Comparative Superlative Don't use Meaning
    einmalig           /          / don't use einmaliger - er, am einmalig - sten more unique, the most unique
    ganz           /          / don't use ganz - er, am ganz - sten more complete, the most complete
    kein           /          / don't use kein - er, am kein - sten more barely, the most barely
    blau           /          / don't use blau - er, am blau - sten more golden, the most golden
    tot           /          / don't use tot - er, am tot - sten more dead, the most dead

    Irregular adjectives using an umlaut

    Most monosyllable adjectives with stem vowels of a, o or u take an umlaut when they are used in the comparative or superlative form.

    Adjective Comparative Superlative
    alt ält - er am ält - esten
    lang läng - er am läng - sten
    schwach schwäch - er am schwäch - sten
    klug klüg - er am klüg - sten
    groß größ - er am größ - sten

    Adjectives ending with -el and -er

    In some cases, adjectives ending with -el may drop the -e, while adjectives ending with -er may drop the -e as well.

    Adjective Comparative Superlative
    dunkel dunkl - er am dunkel - sten
    teuer teur - er am teuer - sten
    edel edl - er am edel - sten
    eitel eitl - er am eitel - sten

    Other irregular adjectives

    The following common used adjectives in German have irregular comparative and/or superlative forms.

    Adjective Comparative Superlative
    gut bess - er am be - sten
    gern lieb - er am lieb - sten
    viel mehr am mei - sten
    bald eh - er am ehe - sten
    hoch höh - er am höch - sten
    nahe näh - er am näch - sten

     

    enlightenedTry to learn those words by heart, as there is a change of the word stem and no strict rule you can follow.

    Different forms of comparative in German

    In German there are different forms of comparative to express the superiority, the inferiority or the equality of two persons or objects.

    1. Comparative of superiority
    2. Comparative of inferiority
    3. Comparative of equality
    4. Form of 'immer* + comparative
    5. Form of 'je' ... 'desto' + comparative

    1. Comparative of superiority

    The comparative of superiority is used to express the inequality of two persons, things etc.

    How to form the comparative of superiority

    it is expressed using the construction of the comparative followed by als (than).

    Adjective Comparative Example
    stark stärk - er Peter ist stärker als Thomas. (Peter is stronger than Thomas.)
    teuer teur - er Der Ring ist teurer als die Kette. (The ring is more expensive than the necklace.)
    viel mehr Er isst mehr als seine Mutter. (He eats more than his father.)
    intelligent intelligent - er Thomas ist intelligenter als Moritz. (Moritz ist more intelligent than Moritz.)

    2. Comparative of inferiority

    In contrast to that, this type of comparative expresses the inferiority of one person, thing etc. against another. It is constructed like this:

    • weniger + adjective + als (less + adjective + than)
    Adjective Example
    attraktiv Martin ist weniger attraktiv als Stefan. (Martin is less attractive than Stefan.)
    intelligent Er ist weniger intelligent als ich. (He is less intelligent than me.)
    kalt Drinnen ist es weniger kalt als draußen. (Inside it is less cold than outside.)
    spannend Fußball ist weniger spannend als Tennis. (Soccer is less exciting than tennis.)

    3. Comparative of equality

    Comparisons expressing equality between two persons, things etc. are expressed and constructed in the following way:

    • so + adjective + wie
    Adjective Example
    groß Er ist so groß wie Karl. (He is as tall as Karl.)
    dünn Mandy ist so dünn wie Petra. (Mandy is as thin as Petra.)
    viel Der Schal kostet so viel wie die Hose. (The scarf is as expensive as the pants.)
    kalt Heute ist es so kalt wie im Winter. (Today it's as cold as in winter.)

     

    enlightenedBy using the comparative of inferiority and equality it is not necessary to modify the adjective.

    4. The form of 'immer' + comparative

    This type of comparative is used to describe things that are increasing or decreasing continuously. The form is constructed by just adding 'immer' and forming the comparative of an adjective.

    Adjective Comparative Example
    kalt kält - er Es wird immer kälter. (It is getting colder and colder.)
    alt ält - er Sie wird immer älter. (She is getting older and older.)
    lang läng - er Die Tage werden immer länger. (The days are getting longer and longer.)
    laut laut - er Die Männer sprechen immer lauter. (The men were talking louder and louder.)

     

    enlightenedThis type of comparison is not a comparison between two people or things, but rather a comparison between the same situation compared at two different moments.

    There are also some special constructions with 'immer'.

    'immer + mehr' and 'immer + weniger'

    By using this constructions of 'immer mehr' and 'immer weniger' it is important to decline the adjective, because it stands before the noun and therefore has to be adjusted to it.

    Adjective Example with 'immer mehr'
    alt Es gibt immer mehr alte Menschen in Deutschland. (There are more and more old people in Germany.)
    regnerisch Es gilt immer mehr regnerische Tage in England. (There are more and more rainy days in England.)

     

    enlightenedThe combination of 'immer + mehr' can be translated as 'more and more' in English.

     

    Adjective Example with 'immer weniger'
    gerne Ich mag ihn immer weniger gerne. (I like him less and less.)
    dicht Die Bevölkerung in Österreich ist immer weniger dicht. (The population in Austria is less and less dense.)

     

    enlightenedThe combination of 'immer + weniger' can be translated as 'less and less' in English.

    5. ‘Je + comparative, ‘desto’ + comparative

    The German combination of 'Je ... desto' and 'Je ... umso' can be used equally. The english equivalent to it is 'the ... the'. The specific thing about this construction is, that you have two used adjectives.

    Comparative of 1st adjective

    Comparative of 2nd adjective Example
    kurz = kürzer produktiv = produktiver

    Je kürzer die Arbeitswoche ist, desto produktiver sind die Arbeitnehmer. (The shorter the work week becomes, the more productivethe workers become.)

    viel = mehr gut = besser Je mehr ich lerne, desto besser bin ich in der Prüfung. (The more I learn, the better I am in the exam.)
    viel = mehr glücklich = glücklicher Je mehr Glück er hat, umso glücklicher ist er.(The more luck he has, the happier he is.)
    lang = länger nervös = nervöser Je länger ich warten musste, umso nervöser wurde ich. (The longer I had to wait, the more nervous I became.)

     

    enlightenedThere are some shortened phrases in German that use this construction as well, for instance, 'Je mehr, desto besser' (The more, the better).

    Superlative in German

    The superlative expresses the highest level of something. In German it is constructed by using:

    • am + base form of adjective + - (e)sten

    Different forms of comparative in German

    By using the comparative there are also different forms and some exceptions to the normal rule:

    1. Superlative of attributive adjectives
    2. Absolute superlative
    3. Relative superlative

    1. Superlative of attributive adjectives

    By using attributive adjectives the question is about when to use 'am' and when not. If the adjective is right in front of the noun, 'am' it not used.

    Adjective Superlative Example without 'am'
    groß am größten Berlin ist die größte Stadt in Deutschland. (Berlin is the biggest city in Germany.)
    billig am billigsten Das hier ist das billigste Brot. (This one is the cheapest bread.)

     

    Adjective Superlative Example with 'am'
    gut am besten Berlin gefällt mir am besten. (I like Berlin the most.)
    viel am meisten In Norddeutschland regnet es am meisten. (In Northern Germany it rains the most.)

     

    2. Absolute superlative in German

    The absolute superlative (or Elativ) is another possibility to escalate German adjectives. The superlative is either formally identical with the superlative, or is constructed my adding a prefix or a particle to an adjective.

    • Elativ with particle: Wir arbeiten mit extrem modernen Maschinen daran. (We work on it with extremely modern machines.)
    • Elativ wirh prefix: Wir arbeiten mit hochmodernen Maschinen daran. ((We work on it with ultra-modern machines.)

    enlightenedThe difference of both possibilities: Using the particle you have two words, while you only have one word using the prefix.

    Often prefixes are used for the formation of those adjectival forms.

    Präfix Absolute superlative Meaning
    schwer - schwerreich heavily rich
    super -  superschnell super fast
    ober -  oberfaul extremely lazy
              / mit herzlichsten Grüßen with most kind regards
              / in tiefster Trauer in deepest sadness
              / zu unserer vollsten Zufriedenheit to our complete satisfaction

    3. Relative superlative in German

    While the absolute superlative displays a very high degree outside of any comparison, the relative superlative highlights a special person, object etc. in comparison to others.

    • Wir arbeiten mit den modernsten Maschinen ihrer Art. (We work with the most modern machines of its kind.)
    • England hat die vergleichweise meisten Regentage in Europa. (Comparatively, England has the most rainy days in Europe.)
    • Es ist eines der besten Biere der Welt. (It's one of the best beers in the world.)