Adjectives in German PART II -

Adjectives in German PART II

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Adjectives (Adjektive, in German ) express properties that determine a noun: they indicate what someone or something is like. Adjectives in German can be graduated and match the noun they qualify for, so they reveal to us what someone or something is like. In German, we must distinguish three types of adjectives. This is especially important for ANY official exam.

Learn in our explanation how to distinguish the types of adjectives and what you should take into account when increasing the adjectives.

Grades of the adjective in German

The degrees of adjectives allow comparisons. In German, there are three levels of gradation: positive, comparative, and superlative.

The following explanations clearly and simply summarize the grading rules for German adjectives and the specific rules for each type of gradation. In the exercises section, you can practice what you have learned.


  • Maria läuft so schnell wie Susanne. Friederike läuft schneller als Maria. Friederike läuft am schnellsten. Sie ist die schnellste Läuferin.
    Maria runs as fast as Susanne. Friederike runs faster than Maria. Friederike is the fastest. She is the fastest runner.

Comparative of equality

Equality comparisons are made with the formula :

  • So + adjective + wie.


  • Maria läuft so schnell wie Susanne.
    Maria runs as fast as Susanne.

Other expressions that also serve for comparison are:

  • Genauso … wie
    as much as
  • Nicht so… wie
    not as
  • Fast so … wie
    almost as
  • Doppelt so… wie
    two more times … like
  • Halb so … wie
    half of … like

Superiority comparison

The comparison of superiority is the first form of grading. The comparison follows the following structure:

  • Adjective + -er + als.


  • Friederike läuft schneller als Maria.
    Friederike runs faster than Maria.

Unlike Spanish, in German, there is no comparative of inferiority (less… than). Instead, the antonym of the adjective is used with the formula of the comparative of superiority, or the negation plus the comparative of equality.


  • Maria runs slower than Friederike.

Antonym → María läuft langsamer als Friederike .

Antonym → Maria runs slower than Friederike.

Denial → María läuft nicht so schnell wie Friederike .

Denial → Maria doesn’t run as fast as Friederike.


The superlative is the highest form of gradation and is formed like this:

  • Am / definite article + adjective + -ste (n).


  • Friederike läuft am schnellsten.
    Friederike is the fastest.
  • Sie ist die schnellste Läuferin.
    She is the fastest runner.

Particularities of the gradation

General rules

Adjectives ending in -d, -t, or -s, -ß, -x, -z, form the superlative with the ending -est.


  • Laut – lauter – am lautesten.
  • Heiß – heißer – am heißesten.

In general, monosyllabic adjectives form the superlative by modifying the vowel with a colon or Umlaut.


  • Jung – jünger – am jüngsten.
    Young – younger – youngest.

Some adjectives are graded irregularly, as shown in the table.


  • Gut – besser – am besten.

Irregular adjective degrees




Gut     besser           best-
Viel     mehr           meist-
Nah     näher           nächst-
Hoch     höher           höchst-
Groß     größer           größt-

Classification of German adjectives

Adjectives are classified into: predicative adjectives, adverbial adjectives, and attributive adjectives, this depends on their relationship with the element they determine or qualify for. While the predictive and adverbial adjectives are invariable, the attributive adjectives instead have to agree with the noun they accompany.


  • Der Lehrer ist großartig . Es ist das Beste , was ich seit Beginn meines Studiums hatte
    The teacher is great. It’s the best I’ve had since I started my studies
  • Juan ist ein ausgezeichneter Freund , der Beste der Bande.
    Juan is an excellent friend, the best of the gang.

Predicative and adverbial adjectives

Predicative and adverbial adjectives are immutable. We speak of a predicative adjective when the immutable adjective comes after the verbs sein / haben / werden.  Attributive adjectives are placed between the article and the noun and adapt their form to the noun.


This type always remains the same in its form, whether the noun is masculine, feminine, or neuter. It is not declined, because if the adjective belongs to the verb, it has no end. We call these adjectives “to be / to stay / to become” after the verbs.


  • Das Mädchen bleibt ruhig.

The girl remains calm.

  • Peter hat Hunger.

Peter is hungry.

  • Das Auto fährt schnell.

The car goes fast.

This type always remains the same in its form, whether the noun is masculine, feminine, or neuter. It is also not declined because the adjective belongs to the verb here, so it has no end. We name adjectives after other verbs (except to be / to stay / to become).

For instance:

  • Das Auto fährt schnell.
    The car goes fast.
  • Der Schüler lernt langsam die deutsche Sprache.
    The student learns the German language slowly.
  • Alex spielt gut Gitarre.
    Alex plays the guitar well.
  • Peter rennt schnell.
    Peter runs fast.

Adverbial adjectives

They appear after verbs other than sein / bleiben / werden, and serve as a predicative complement; that is, they refer to the verb and not to the subject noun.


  • Der Clown springt lustig herum.
    The clown jumps happily.

Attributive adjectives

Attributive adjectives appear between an article and a noun. These adjectives must be inflected and agree in case, gender, and number with the noun they describe.


  • Er ist ein sehr lustiger clown.
    He is a very funny clown.
  • So einen lustigen Clown habe ich noch nie gesehen.
    I have never seen such a funny clown.

Endings for adjectives after certain articles: der / die / das /





Nominative(der) -e(die) -e(das) -e(die) -en
Accusative(den) -en(die) -e(das) -e(die) -en
Dative(dem) -en(der) -en(dem) -en(den) -en
Genitive(des) -en(der) -en(des) -en(der) -en

Endings for adjectives after indeterminate articles: ein / eine /

Nominative(ein) -er(eine) -e(ein) -es
Accusative(einen) -en(eine) -e(ein) -es
Dative(einem) -en(einer) -en(einem) -en
Genitive(eines) -en(einer) -en(eines) -en

Endings for adjectives without preceding articles

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