Declension of German adjectives
In German there are different types of adjectives. While one type needs to be declined in order to fit into the sentence, the other ones stay in their normal form. This chapter deals with the conjugation of German attributive adjectives.
- 1.Different types of German adjectives
- 2.Correct conjugation of German attributive adjectives
- 3.The weak declension of German adjectives
- 3.1.Table of weak declension
- 4.The mixed declension of German adjectives
- 4.1.Table of mixed declension
- 5.The strong declension of German adjectives
- 5.1.Table of strong declension
- 6.Spelling changes of adjectives in German
Different types of German adjectives
In contrast to the attributive adjectives, the predicative adjectives follow the noun in a sentence and therefore don't need to be declined.
- Das Auto ist rot. = the car is red.
Because attributive adjectives come between the article of a noun and the noun itself, it is necessary to decline the adjective to adapt it to the noun.
- das rote Auto = the red car
Have a look at the chapter about different types of adjectives in German to get a better idea of their differences.
Correct conjugation of German attributive adjectives
In order to determine the right form of declension you need to have a at these characteristics:
- The article belonging to the noun (definitie / indefinite)
- The number of the noun (singular / plural)
- The gender of the noun (masculine / feminine /neutral)
- The case of the noun (nominative / genitive / dative / accusative)
To find the right form of declension afterwards, you mainly should have a look at the article:
- the weak declension (definite article + adjctive)
- the strong declension (indefinite article + adjective)
- the mixed declension (no preceding article + adjective)
The weak declension of German adjectives
The weak declension is used, an definite article like der, die, das, die (plural) refers to the noun of a sentence. In this case, the article gives enough information about the number, gender and case of the noun.
Always keep in mind, that the article has to be declined as well. To learn more about it, have a look at the chapter about definite german articles.
Table of weak declension
|Nominative||der liebe Vater||die liebe Mutter||das liebe Kind||die lieben Kinder|
|Accusative||den lieben Vater||die liebe Mutter||das liebe Kind||die lieben Kinder|
|Dative||dem lieben Vater||der lieben Mutter||dem lieben Kind||den lieben Kindern|
|Genitive||des lieben Vaters||der lieben Mutter||des lieben Kindes||
der lieben Kinder
In this case the declension is very easy, since the adjective can only have the endings '-e' or '-en'.
For more detailed information about the four german cases have a look at the special chapter about it.
The mixed declension of German adjectives
The mixed declension is used, if:
comes before the adjective and the noun of a sentence.
Table of mixed declension
|Nominative||ein lieber Vater||eine liebe Mutter||ein liebes Kind||keine lieben Kinder|
|Accusative||einen lieben Vater||eine liebe Mutter||ein liebes Kind||keine lieben Kinder|
|Dative||einem lieben Vater||einer lieben Mutter||einem lieben Kind||keinen lieben Kindern|
|Genitive||eines lieben Vaters||einer lieben Mutter||eines lieben Kindes||keiner lieben Kinder|
The strong declension of German adjectives
The strong declension is used when no definite or indefinite article comes before the noun. When and when not you use articles in German is explained in another chapter.
There are some exeptions to this rule. If a pronoun (e.g. dergleichen, dessen, wessen etc.) precedes the adjective you should also use the strong declension.
Table of strong declension
|Nominative||lieber Vater||liebe Mutter||liebes Kind||liebe Kinder|
|Accusative||lieben Vater||liebe Mutter||liebes Kind||liebe Kinder|
|Dative||liebem Vater||lieber Mutter||liebem Kinde||lieben Kindern|
|Genitive||lieben Vaters||lieber Mutter||lieben Kindes||lieber Kinder|
Spelling changes of adjectives in German
We might need to change the appearance and spelling of the adjective in order to wisely insert it into a sentence. The same thing might be necessary if prefixes and suffixes, or the different forms of comparative and superlative will be used. Then you always have to watch the right spelling of the words.
|Adjective and ending||Example|
|voll + ig = völlig (completely)||völlig ausverkauft (completely sold out)|
|krank + lich = kränklich (sikish)||das kränkliche Mädchen (the sikish girl)|
|schwarz + lich = schwärzlich (blackish)||das schwärzliche Kleid (the blackish dress)|
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