- Exercise for building German adjectives Score -/-
- Determine the form of use of these German adjectives! Score -/-
- Transform these German adjectives to their nominal form Score -/-
- Build the comparative and superlative of these German adjectives Score -/-
- Insert the German attributive adjective! Score -/-
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.
Different types of adjectives
In German there are four different main types of adjectives and how they are used.
|Form of adjective||Characteristics|
The predicative use
|The attributive use||
|The adverbial use||
|The nominal use||
Additionally, 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.
In all cases a transformation of a vowel to an Umlaut (Ö, Ü, Ä) can be necessary. For instance: rot (red) - rötlich (redish).
|Formation of adjective||Example|
Transforming a verb
verb ' liegen' (to lie):
verb 'schließen' (to close):
Transforming a noun
noun 'das Gebilde' (the formation):
noun 'der Untergang' (the downfall):
Transforming an adverb
adverb: 'bald' (soon):
adverb: 'sofort' (instant):
Transforming an other adjective
adjective: 'faul' (lazy):
adjective: 'voll' (full):
Additionally, there are two types of participles in German:
- the present participle
- the past participle
Is used to describe:
Is used to describe:
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 word||Second word||Compound 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:
- Positive: das Bild ist schön. (The picture is pretty.)
- Comparative: das Bild ist schöner. (The picture prettier.)
- 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:
- the weak declension (definite article + adjective, e.g. der liebe Vater)
- the mixed declension (indefinite article + adjective, e.g. ein lieber Vater)
- 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
|Cardinal number||Ordinal 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.
You 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 adjective||Words used|
mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, ihr
dieser, diese, dieses, jener, jene, jenes
|Interrogative and exclamatory adjectives||
welch-, was für (ein-)
e.g. etwas, wenige, ein paar, viele etc.
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.
In the following chapters you will learn all about the German adjectives and how to use them. Have fun.
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