Check our FAQs for the quickest support.


Did not find your answer?
Contact us

Comparative and superlative adjectives in German

Our teachers

Looking for a language tutor? Contact one of our teachers!

Find a teacher

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.

Have a question?

Take online language lessons with a professional teacher

  1. Native & verified teachers
  2. Free trial lesson
  3. Learning materials included

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.

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.

schnellschnell - eram schnell - sten
lautlaut - eram laut - esten
kleinklein - eram klein - sten
schönschön - eram 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.)


PositiveComparativeSuperlativeDon't useMeaning
einmalig          /         /don't use einmaliger - er, am einmalig - stenmore unique, the most unique
ganz          /         /don't use ganz - er, am ganz - stenmore complete, the most complete
kein          /         /don't use kein - er, am kein - stenmore barely, the most barely
blau          /         /don't use blau - er, am blau - stenmore golden, the most golden
tot          /         /don't use tot - er, am tot - stenmore 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.

altält - eram ält - esten
langläng - eram läng - sten
schwachschwäch - eram schwäch - sten
klugklüg - eram klüg - sten
großgröß - eram 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.

dunkeldunkl - eram dunkel - sten
teuerteur - eram teuer - sten
edeledl - eram edel - sten
eiteleitl - eram eitel - sten

Other irregular adjectives

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

gutbess - eram be - sten
gernlieb - eram lieb - sten
vielmehram mei - sten
baldeh - eram ehe - sten
hochhöh - eram höch - sten
nahenäh - eram 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).

starkstärk - erPeter ist stärker als Thomas. (Peter is stronger than Thomas.)
teuerteur - erDer Ring ist teurer als die Kette. (The ring is more expensive than the necklace.)
vielmehrEr isst mehr als seine Mutter. (He eats more than his father.)
intelligentintelligent - erThomas 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)
attraktivMartin ist weniger attraktiv als Stefan. (Martin is less attractive than Stefan.)
intelligentEr ist weniger intelligent als ich. (He is less intelligent than me.)
kaltDrinnen ist es weniger kalt als draußen. (Inside it is less cold than outside.)
spannendFußball 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
großEr ist so groß wie Karl. (He is as tall as Karl.)
dünnMandy ist so dünn wie Petra. (Mandy is as thin as Petra.)
vielDer Schal kostet so viel wie die Hose. (The scarf is as expensive as the pants.)
kaltHeute 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.

kaltkält - erEs wird immer kälter. (It is getting colder and colder.)
altält - erSie wird immer älter. (She is getting older and older.)
langläng - erDie Tage werden immer länger. (The days are getting longer and longer.)
lautlaut - erDie 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.

AdjectiveExample with 'immer mehr'
altEs gibt immer mehr alte Menschen in Deutschland. (There are more and more old people in Germany.)
regnerischEs 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.


AdjectiveExample with 'immer weniger'
gerneIch mag ihn immer weniger gerne. (I like him less and less.)
dichtDie 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 adjectiveExample
kurz = kürzerproduktiv = produktiver

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

viel = mehrgut = besserJe mehr ich lerne, desto besser bin ich in der Prüfung. (The more I learn, the better I am in the exam.)
viel = mehrglücklich = glücklicherJe mehr Glück er hat, umso glücklicher ist er.(The more luck he has, the happier he is.)
lang = längernervös = nervöserJe 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.

AdjectiveSuperlativeExample without 'am'
großam größtenBerlin ist die größte Stadt in Deutschland. (Berlin is the biggest city in Germany.)
billigam billigstenDas hier ist das billigste Brot. (This one is the cheapest bread.)


AdjectiveSuperlativeExample with 'am'
gutam bestenBerlin gefällt mir am besten. (I like Berlin the most.)
vielam meistenIn 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.

PräfixAbsolute superlativeMeaning
schwer -schwerreichheavily rich
super - superschnellsuper fast
ober - oberfaulextremely lazy
          /mit herzlichsten Grüßenwith most kind regards
          /in tiefster Trauerin deepest sadness
          /zu unserer vollsten Zufriedenheitto 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.)



  1. Exercise of irregular adjectives in German
  2. Exercise of adjectives (-er, am + -sten)
  3. Exercise of adjectives with vowel changes
  4. Exercise of adjectives ending in -er or -el

Exercise of irregular adjectives in German

Exercise of adjectives (-er, am + -sten)

Exercise of adjectives with vowel changes

Exercise of adjectives ending in -er or -el

What our students say

Unlike in other platforms, all our teachers are manually verified by our professional team. Trust in the experiences of our students.
Elena is an excellent teacher and a very nice person. I have been training in Spanish with Elena for quite some time now after her being recommended to me by a friend, and have consistently been very pleased with our lessons. While I do not consider myself to be very good at learning foreign languages, Elena is very patient and adapts the lessons to my ability, making me feel at ease. In fact, I find her to be extremely skilled at assessing exactly where I am at any given time with respect to my individual learning situation, and structuring the lessons accordingly. I think I probably would have given up trying to learn Spanish had I not began my study with Elena; and that would have been a shame considering where I am now with the language. Because of Elena's skilled help, I am extremely pleased to not only be conversant in basic Spanish, but also have confidence that I will one day reach full proficiency with the language. No other learning method I tried before meeting Elena compares to the one-on-one, personalized instruction I receive from her, which comprises reading; writing; developmental exercises; and most importantly, conversation. To be able to look at Spanish now and have it appear largely familiar is extremely satisfying. I even plan to study Italian with Elena after reaching my desired level in Spanish. These are not things I ever imagined would occur at the beginning stages of my studies. I am a native English speaker and find Elena's English to be excellent. She had no difficulty instructing me from the very beginning levels where it was necessary that a lot of English be spoken in our lessons, to where we are now with much less English being spoken. The friend who recommended Elena to me learned Dutch from her, and is equally pleased with their experience. I would not hesitate to learn from Elena any of the languages she teaches. I give Elena my highest recommendations and thank her for all the help she has provided me.
Thank you for your feedback, Brandon! I am very happy to know that you are so satisfied with the lessons. I've always believed that you could make it and I am glad that we never gave it up. The right attitude and a high level of perseverance have been the keys to your success. It has been a pleasure to be your guide in your learning process. I know that you can do much more, so let's continue towards a next level!
Hands down one of the best teachers I've had the pleasure of working with. Very knowledgeable in all aspects of Bulgarian (grammar rules, expressions, ...) but also in both English and French, which helps whenever you have a more in-depth question on the how or why something is the way it is in Bulgarian. Furthermore he has his own material and always comes prepared, but he is equally open to changing the subject of a lesson to suit your needs. He is patient, positive and not too scholarly, which is what you need as an adult learning day- to- day Bulgarian.I have been working with him for 18 months now and still look forward to our lessons every week.
An's Bulgarian has tremendously improved since she gave it go a year and a half ago. Of course, It goes without saying that I am pleased to work with such an enthusiastic learner who is living proof that, through hard work and perseverance, everyone can succeed in their language goals. An, you are now an independant user of the language who is able to successfully lead real-live conversations. Pat yourself on the back.
Again a lesson full of fun anf full of learning opportunities. I really like Angels patience and ability to adapt to my learning process.
This student is one of the best ones I ever had in my long teaching career. She is always so diligent and willing to learn more and more. I am so happy to work with her and see the immense progress she has made since we first started working together. Thank you Silke!
I would highly recommend Tove. Her lessons are fantastic and I learn exactly what I'm interested in. Tove is very friendly, our chemistry goes well together and I really enjoy being tought by her.
Dear Anita, Thank you very much for your nice review! I enjoy our lessons very much too and I am so happy that our communication and chemistry fit well together. That's the best precondition for a good learning experience. See you soon!
We are an Italian family residing in France for 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the children two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with the choice. Nous sommes une famille italienne résidant en France depuis janvier, nous avons deux enfants de 10 ans qui viennent de commencer la CM1. Nous avons demandé à Natalia de leur donner deux leçons par semaine pour accélérer leur apprentissage. Nous sommes super contents de Natalia. We are an Italian family living in France since 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the kids two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with this choice.
Translated by Google Translate
Fabrizio's children are learning French very fast, I have the impression that these lessons online have been helpful for them and I am sure they will master the language easily. They are very interested in learning.
Daniela is a very pleasant and brisk teacher who has the talent to make you feel at ease immediately. Her lessons are a nice mix of conversation and theory. Again and again it is a nice hour to look forward to !! Thank you Daniela !!
Translated by Google Translate
Dear Hilde, thank you very much for your words. I'm glad you are satisfied with our time together. I will continue to do my best to make you practice your beautiful Italian in a cheerful and peaceful way :-)
Translated by Google Translate
It is always a pleasure to have English lessons with Corinne. The lessons are always a lot of fun and extremely interesting concerning on current affairs and unfortunately the time always ends too early. Very recommended.
Thank you, Danilo. It is always a pleasure having lessons with you and I have enjoyed our many conversations together. And what a joy that over time they have become easier for both of us to understand! :D
Carmen is really prepared and very very nice. She takes you by the hand and introduces you to portuguese language in a really pleasant way. I learned 3-4 sentences already on the first lesson!
Fabia is a very nice student and learns very quickly. It is a pleasure to teach her as she really likes to learn a difficult language like Portuguese and improved a lot.
It was very nice to take a lesson from Theano (Anny). She is adaptable to the student's level and is prepared to help the student as necessary. She is a friendly and caring teacher!
Σ' ευχαριστώ πολύ Μέγκαν! I'm glad you had a good experience and that you enjoyed it. Your excitment about learning greek motivates me even more :)
Marissa is a very professional teacher who can put the student at ease. It is precise, effective and oriented towards achieving the objectives: highly recommended.
Translated by Google Translate
Thanks so much Paola!!! I LOVE working with you guys and have enjoyed every moment. Even after this brief period, we can already start to see some changes. :-)
I have had many lessons with Luisa and I always look forward to them. We begin by chatting about the past week's events and them move to Espresso which I find very useful as a good review of material I have done in the past. There is often additional words used I had not met before. Luisa is always a pleasure to talk with and is a kind and pleasant teacher. She corrects me gently and offers useful words or meanings when appropriate.
Dear Martin thank you so much ! It's my pleasure taking class with you. And thanks a lot for your suggestion about Us movies ( Just Mercy) or Us books
I had my first lesson a couple of days ago and everything went super good! Karin was attentive, transmiting her positivism and helping me with every doubt I had. She really focus on teaching how to pronounce and talk a language, so this is really interesting for me, to practise it & be able to use it in my day by day. I really recommend her to everyone willing to learn a new language :)
Hi Alba! Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I enjoyed our class too & I wish you the best of luck with all your future projects :-)
A prepared and kind teacher, ready to teach with patience and good humor. He provided me with very useful materials to study and review even after the lesson. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language with a smile. Thanks Silvia :)
Translated by Google Translate
Thank you so much for the Chiara review! It was a real pleasure to have this lesson with you. I wish you a nice trip with the German language!
Translated by Google Translate
The lesson with Celia was perfect! She was puntcual, kind and her teaching method is effective and funny. She started the class with some "games" to get to know eachother and then we discussed about an article she provided. The time of the class passed really fast and I learned new vocabulary. Absolutely raccomended.
Thank you so much, Remark! I´m happy to know you enjoyed our lesson and I´m looking forward to having more in the near future! Cheers!
Ekaterina writes new words and sentences learnt during the lesson. She has got a very nice attitude and great accent! A pleasure to work with... yes, even in German!!!!!
Dear Silvia, thank you very much for your feedback! It's a real pleasure to have classes with you, and I hope you find them useful!