Check our FAQs for the quickest support.


Did not find your answer?
Contact us

German adjectives

Our teachers

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

Robert Martin S. AT

15.00 €/h

Schedule a lesson

Tedesco per tutti i livelli T. DE

15.00 €/h

Schedule a lesson
Find a teacher

What are adjectives and how to use them?

Adjectives are words naming an attribute or a characteristic of a noun. So, they describe how the refering noun is. For example:

  • Das schöne Mädchen. (The pretty girl.)

Schön (pretty) is in this case the adjective, because it describes the noun.

Have a question?

Take online language lessons with a professional teacher

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

Different types of adjectives

In German there are four different main types of adjectives and how they are used.

Form of adjectiveCharacteristics

The predicative use

  • Noun and adjective are connected through a form of the words 'sein' (to be), 'bleiben' (to stay) or 'werden' (to become)
  • The adjective doesn't need to be conjugated
  • e.g. 'das Mädchen ist schön' (The girl is beautiful)
The attributive use
  • Adjective stands before the noun
  • It has to be conjugated according the case, number and gender of the noun
  • e.g. 'das schöne Mädchen' (The beautiful girl)
The adverbial use
  • Adjectives that refer to the time, frequency, quantity and intensity of something
  • The adjective doesn't need to be conjugated
  • e.g. 'Er kann gut singen' (He can sing well.)
The nominal use
  • The adjectives function as a noun
  • The adjective needs to be adapted to the gender, number and case that is needed
  • the word has to be written with a capital letter
  • 'Er hat nur Schlechtes im Sinn.' (He only has bad things in mind.)

enlightenedAdditionally, participles and verbs also can assume the function of an adjective.

To learn more about the different forms of adjectives, their formation and use, have a look at the chapter about it.

How to form German adjectives

You can build adjectives out of nouns, verbs, adverbs and other adjectives by adding the right syllable at the end of the word, or using prefixes or suffixes. 

enlightenedIn all cases a transformation of a vowel to an Umlaut (Ö, Ü, Ä) can be necessary. For instance: rot (red) - rötlich (redish).


Formation of adjectiveExample

Using prefixes

  • Das Sofa ist unbequem (The sofa is uncomfortable.)
  • Meine Oma ist uralt. (My grandmother is age-old)

Transforming a verb

verb ' liegen' (to lie):

  • Die beiliegende Zeitschrift (the enclosed magazine)

verb 'schließen' (to close):

  • die verschlossene Tür (The locked door)

Transforming a noun

noun 'das Gebilde' (the formation):

  • der gebildete Ausschuss (the composed committee)

noun 'der Untergang' (the downfall):

  • die untergegangene Welt (the sunken world)

Transforming an adverb

adverb: 'bald' (soon):

  • eine baldige Antwort (an early reply)

adverb: 'sofort' (instant):

  • mit sofortigem Effekt (with immediate effect)

Transforming an other adjective

adjective: 'faul' (lazy):

  • der faulige Apfel (the putrid apple)

adjective: 'voll' (full):

  • völlig ausverkauft (completely sold out)

Using suffixes

  • Der Boden ist klebrig. (The floor is sticky.)
  • Ein beispielhafter Aufsatz. (an exemplary essay.)


Additionally, there are two types of participles in German:

  1. the present participle
  2. the past participle
Present participle

Is used to describe:

  • simultaneous actions
  • actions that aren't finished yet
  • Der singende Mann tanzte im Zimmer. (The singing man is dancing in the room.)
Past participle

Is used to describe:

  • activities that happen at different times
  • circumstances of an action
  • Heute trage ich meine neu gekauften Schuhe. (Today I'm wearing my new bought shoes.)


In German language it is also quite common to use compound words. These words are made out of two other. Of course, this can also be used to build new adjectives. For example:

First wordSecond wordCompound word
konform (compliant)das System (the system)systemkonform (in conformity with the system)
behindert (disabled)sehen (to see)sehbehindert (visually impaired)
groß (big)der Riese (the giant)riesengroß (tremendous)


To get a deeper unterstanding of all this possibilities of forming German adjectives, have a look at the chapter about how to form them.

Comparative and superlative adjectives in German

In German there are three degrees of comparison:

  1. Positive: das Bild ist schön. (The picture is pretty.)
  2. Comparative: das Bild ist schöner. (The picture prettier.)
  3. Superlative: das Bild ist am schönsten. (The picture is the prettiest.)

You usually form the form by adding either -er or am -sten:

  • Comparative: schöner, besser, höher
  • Superlative: am schönsten, am besten, am höchsten

Of course, there are exceptions of this rule, but to get a deeper insight have a look at the chapter about comparative and superlative in German.


Declension of German adjectives

In German language it is extremely important to decline the word in the right way. To do so, you have to consider:

  • the article of the noun (der, die, das, ein, eine, ....)
  • the number (singular vs. plural)
  • the gender (masculine, feminine, neuter)
  • the case (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive)

To decline the adjective in the right way, there are 3 different types of possible declension:

  1. the weak declension (definite article + adjective, e.g. der liebe Vater)
  2. the mixed declension (indefinite article + adjective, e.g. ein lieber Vater)
  3. the strong declension (no article + adjective, e.g. lieber Vater)

To see the whole declension and exceptional cases, have a look at the chapter about the declension of German adjectives.

Forming and declension of ordinal numbers in German

In German, you can use ordinal numbers to express the relative position of a thing etc. or to express a certain order.

To form the numbers you just:

  • add -te to numbers from 1 to 19
  • add -ste to numbers above 19

For example:

Cardinal numberOrdinal number
eins (1)erste (1.)
zwei (2)zweite (2.)
drei (3)dritte (3.)
fünfzehn (15)fünfzehnte (15.)
einundzwanzig (21)einundzwanzigste (21.)
zweiunddreißig (32)zweiunddreißigste (32.)


In German it is common to use these numbers as adjectives. Here are some examples:

  • Wir wohnen im fünfzehnten Stock. (We live on the 15th floor.)
  • Felix ist unser zweites Kind. (Felix is our second child.)
  • Das ist mein erster Besuch in Berlin. (This is my first visit in Berlin.)

To see some more examples, the declension and usage of ordinal numbers, especially their use as adjectives, have a look at the chapter abour forming and declension of ordninal numbers.

Special adjectives in German

Additionally, there are some special forms of words in German, that can either be used as adjectives, or as pronouns.

enlightenedYou might have heard of e.g. possessive pronouns instead of adjectives. The difference between the use as adjective and as pronouns is, that a pronoun replaces a noun of a sentence, whether an adjective accompanies a noun.

Here you can have a look at the special forms of adjectives:

Type of adjectiveWords used
Possessive adjectives

mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, ihr

  • Vielen Dank für Deinen Brief. (Thanks a lot for your letter.)
Demonstrative adjectives

dieser, diese, dieses, jener, jene, jenes

  • Dieser Baum hier ist größer, als jener Baum dort. (That tree is bigger than that one over there.)
Interrogative and exclamatory adjectives

welch-, was für (ein-)

  • Welcher Mantel gehört Paul? (Which coat is Pauls?) (Interrogative)
  • Welch kluger Mann er ist! (What an intelligent guy he is!)
Indefinite adjectives

e.g. etwas, wenige, ein paar, viele etc.

  • Viele Menschen möger lieber Wein als Bier. (Many people like wine better than beer.)


To learn more about each of the types of adjectives used in German, just click on the name and you will get to the special chapter about it.

Additionally, there is a chapter with a list of German adjectives, representing the most common used adjectives in German language.

yes In the following chapters you will learn all about the German adjectives and how to use them. Have fun.


  1. Exercise for building German adjectives
  2. Determine the form of use of these German adjectives!
  3. Transform these German adjectives to their nominal form
  4. Build the comparative and superlative of these German adjectives
  5. Insert the German attributive adjective!

Exercise for building German adjectives

Determine the form of use of these German adjectives!

Transform these German adjectives to their nominal form

Build the comparative and superlative of these German adjectives

Insert the German attributive adjective!

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.
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.
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!
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!

Next lessons

1 Different types of adjectives in German Learn about predicative, adverbial and attributive adjectives in German.
2 How to form German adjectives Learn how to form German adjectives in the right way
3 German participle as adjectives Learn about the German participle used as adjective
4 Comparative and superlative adjectives in German Learn about the German comparative form of adjectives.
5 Declension of German adjectives Learn how to correctly conjugate the German adjectives
6 Forming and declension of ordinal numbers in German Learn about German cardinal and ordinal numbers and their use as adjectives.
7 Possessive adjectives in German Learn about possessive forms of adjectives and their usage.
8 Demonstrative adjectives in German Learn more about demonstrative adjectives in German.
9 Interrogative and exclamatory adjectives in German Learn about interrogative and exclamatory adjectives in German and see some useful examples.
10 Indefinite adjectives in German Learn more about German indefinite adjectives, their usage and the difference to pronouns.
11 List of German Adjectives Here you'll find a list of different kinds of German adjectives