In German, there are simple adjectives like e.g. colours, as well as derived adjectives, that were deduced from other words. You can call them descriptive adjectives, because they provide additional information about persons and (abstract) things.
Some types of adjectives stay the same, but some of them you have to decline. Take a look at chapter for different types of adjectives for detailed information.
Besides the simple adjectives there are also expanded adjectives, which can be generated by:
The prefix just means before, so something will be right in front of the simple adjective. Prefixes are like short syllables added to a word. This are just some examples.
Keep in mind, that some prefixes have a special meaning. For instance, the syllable un- often expresses the opposite of the original word (bequem = comfortable/unbequem = uncomfortable). Same case is with über- & unter-: überschätzt (overestimated) & unterschätzt (underestimated).
If a word has verbal roots, the adjective is directly derived from a verb.
|Prefix and verb||Example|
|an - dauern (to last)||Er fragt andauernd nach (He is constantly asking.)|
|aus - brechen (to escape)||der ausgebrochene Vogel (the escaped bird)|
|bei - liegen (to be enclosed)||die beiliegende Zeitschrift (the enclosed magazine)|
|auf - schließen (to open-up)||der aufgeschlossene Lehrer (the open-minded teacher)|
|er - weitern (to extend)||die erweiterten Öffnungszeiten (extended opening hours)|
|voll - enden (to complete)||ein vollendetes Manuskript (a completed manuscript)|
|zu - steigen (to board adter the trip has started)||die zugestiegenen Fahrgäste (passengers who have just boarded)|
Be careful with the meaning of a verbal adjective! Sometimes it changes its meaning, e.g. aufschließen (to open-up) and der aufgeschlossene Lehrer (the open-minded teacher). The teacher is not opened-up like a door, but an open-minded person.
As it is possible to deduce adjective from verbs, it is also possible to derive them from nouns.
|das Gebilde (the formation)||der gebildete Ausschuss (the composed committee)|
|das Gefieder (the plumage)||das gefiederte Huhn (the plumaged chicken)|
|der Unsinn (the nonsense)||das unsinnige Gerede (the nonsense talk)|
|der Unmensch (the brute)||eine unmenschliche Aufgabe (an inhuman task)|
|die Unzahl (the countless number)||die unzähligen Fragen (the unnumerable questions)|
|der Durchbruch (the break through)||die durchbrochene Eisschicht (the ruptured layer of ice)|
|der Untergang (the downfall)||
die untergangene Welt (the sunken world)
There is only one special case for adverbs to become adjectives. By using the ending -ig an adverb can be used as an adjective.
|Adverb and ending||Example|
|bald - ig (quick)||über eine baldige Antwort sind wir dankbar (an early reply will be oblige)|
|sofort - ig (instant)||mit sofortiger Wirkung (with immediate effect)|
|zweimal - ig (twice)||zweimalige Wiederholung (twice repeated)|
|rückwärt(s) - ig||rückwärtige Bebauung (rear development)|
|heut(e) - ig (contemporary)||das heutige Wetter (today's weather)|
Some adjectives might exist because two other adjectives have been linked to a new word stem. It can be done with (see first table), or without using an umlaut (second table).
|Adjective and ending||Example|
|faul + ig (putrid)||der faulige Apfel (the putrid apple)|
|rund + lich (roundish)||ein rundliches Gesicht (a roundish face)|
|viel + fach (multiple)||vielfach bewährt (multiple proven)|
|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)||ein schwärzliches Kleid (a blackish dress)|
Many words can be transformed into adjectives by adding a suffix, meaning that you add an additional ending to an existing word. By doing so, you can either transform verbs, nouns, adverbs or other adjectives into new adjectives.
|Adjective and suffix||Example|
|ess - bar (eatable)||Das Essen ist essbar. (The food is eatable.)|
|kleb - rig (sticky)||Der Fußboden ist klebrig. (The floor is sticky.)|
|beispiel - haft (exemplary)||ein beispielhafter Aufsatz (an exemplary essay)|
|alkohol - isch (alcoholic)||eine alkoholische Bowle (an alcoholic punch)|
|nachdenk - lich (thoughtful)||das nachdenkliche Mädchen (the thoughtful girl)|
|gewalt - sam (by violence)||Sie wurden gewaltsam befreit. (They were freed by violence.)|
Do not learn those endings by heart, but keep them in mind, because it might be helpful while learning new vocabulary.
The participle is a special type of a word. To use it as an adjective, we have two different types of participles in German:
This participle is used if you want to describe
You can either put the participle in front of the noun (then it needs to be conjugated in accordance to fit to the noun), or behind the the noun (then the participle stays the same).
|Infinitive of the verb||Participle before the noun||Participle after the noun|
|singen (to sing)||Der singende Mann tanzte im Zimmer. (The singing man is dancing in the room.)||Der Mann tanzte singend im Zimmer. (The man danced singing in the room.)|
|schweigen(to keep silent)||Die schweigenden Kinder lesen. (The silent kids are reading.)||Die Kinder lesen schweigend. (The kids are reading silently.)|
|weinen (to cry)||Das weinende Kind liegt im Bett. (The crying child lies in bed.)||Das Kind liegt weinend im Bett. (The child lies crying in bed.)|
If you want to learn more about the characteristics and especially the conjugation of present participles in German, have a look at the chapter about German participles.
The past participle is used to describe
activities that happen at different times
the circumstances in which an action happens
In German, there are different possibilities to construct the past participle. For instance by using prefixes or suffixes. For the exact construction of this, please habe a look at the chapter about German principles.
|Infinitive of the verb||Sentence with past participle|
|verlieren (to lose)||Endlich fand sie den verlorenen Schlüssel (Finally, she found the lost keys.)|
|kaufen (to buy)||Heute baue ich den neu gekauften Schrank auf. (Today I build the bought wardrobe.)|
|backen (to bake)||Ich teile den frisch gebackenen Kuchen. (I share the freshly baked cake.)|
As you can see in the examples, some things happened before (e.g. the keys got lost) and then the second happening occured afterwards.
In German it is possible to create new words by combining two other words. To learn more about compounds in German language, have a look at the chapter about compound nouns in German.
The second word of these combinations is called the "primary word", as it determines the gender and number of a compound.
In English the words of the resulting word chain are typically seperated by a free space or hyphens, while in German the compounds normally appear as one word.
Some compound words are formed by joining an adjective and a noun.
|konform||das System||systemkonform||in confirmity with the system|
In this case, the noun is always the primary word and of course states the gender and number of the compound.
It is also possible to match up an adjective and a verb to form a new word.
|faul||laufen||lauffaul||too lazy to run|
|gut||machen||gutmachen||to put something right|
The last possibility to create compounds is by using adjectives as the primary word.
|bereit||arbeitsbereit||ready for work|
Of couse, it's also possible to do it the other way around, which means to create another word out of an adjective. For instance, combining an adjective and a noun to create a new noun, e.g. "rot" and "der Kohl" will be "der Rotkohl" (the cabbage).
Anthony, thank you for your words! I am happy to know that you are satisfied with the course and that you enjoy the lessons so much. It is a pleasure for me too! I like to witness your improvement, class after class, and I am sure that you will achieve your goal soon. Con mucho gusto!
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
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 :-)
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!
Hola Pedro, thanks for your words. I'm glad you enjoyed our first class. Get ready, we are going to learn more and more! :-D
Thanks a lot. It is understood that for any difficulty and / or misunderstanding I am at your disposal.Rina
Thank you Philippe for your beautiful words. Yours sincerely.
Dear Erik thank you so much for your great feedback !!!!!
Many thanks to you Clemence. See you! :-))))
Thank you for your feedback Peter :)
Thank you Sereen! Derya
Thanks Aleksandra !!
Thank you Leandra!
Hi! I am Donatella, I'm Italian and I have been living in Vienna since 2009. I teach Italian and German as a foreign language. I really... like teaching and I enjoy it! Every day I have the great chance to work together with people with different ages, backgroung and learning goals. Thanks to my job I can broaden and deepen my knowledge and skills and of course meet people from all over the world. Foreign languages represent my first interest, as a learner too. After having experienced a distance learning course I find the e-learning a personal, specific and practical method to learn, improve or polish up a foreign language! I would be glad to hear from you! Read more
Hello everyone and a big warm welcome to all the fellow language learners, My name is Katerina, I’m a native Russian speaker and a foreign... language teacher from St Petersburg, Russia. I’ve always been addicted to learning foreign languages, be it English, German, Spanish, Turkish or Arabic, so turning my passion into my job was just a matter of time. I have a Master’s degree in linguistics which taught me to understand the way the mechanism of a language works and thus to help my students see the logics behind the grammar rules. Being a constant language learner enables me to see the process from both sides and to predict the difficulties my students might face. The fact that I’m not a native speaker of English or German means I’ve been through exactly the same language-learning journey you’re about to take, and thanks to my personal experience as a student, I can make this road smooth for you. I've had students of all ages, from pre-school kids to senior generation, and I feel comfortable working with both beginners and those who are eager to take their learning process to a new level. In my classes I encourage you to talk in the language we’re studying as much as possible, putting every single bit of knowledge into practice right away. If you’re a Russian-learner, I’d be glad to prove it to you that you can absolutely nail my mother-tongue - and yes, you’ll be able to make a small talk in Russian by the end of the first class even if you’re an absolute beginner! We’ll be focusing on the topics that are most relevant to your goals, while discovering the language and getting to know more about the culture of people who speak it. I offer a short free trial class, for us to give each other a smile and discuss our teaching pattern, in order to ajust it to your goals and make our lessons the bee's knees :) See you soon! Read more
My name is Christina and I provide fun German and French language lesson for children and adult beginners or intermediate who want to... strengthen their language skills, improve the grammar knowledge, enrich the vocabulary and get into the German culture! I can teach in English or French! I had experince in teaching German, English and French to foreign people so I do have a lot of useful learning material I can provide you to make it easier! Read more