The adjective in German

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The adjective in German


  • What types of adjectives are there in German?
  • How do you increase German adjectives?
  • Comparison with the basic form of the adjective – positive
  • Adjective increase – comparative
  • Adjective augmentation – superlative
  • The position of adjectives
  • Declension of adjectives

Adjectives are words that express properties or features of nouns / nouns. Adjectives usually come just before the noun they refer to . Like the articles, they are adapted to the noun in grammatical gender Geschlecht (Genus (gender), Fall  (case) and Anzahl  (number).

Adjectives can be used to attribute properties to a living being or a thing . The adjective is one of the inflected parts of speech. In the attributive position between an article and a noun, match the noun in its case, number and gender. Adjectives can also be compared / increased schön – schöner – am schönsten (beautiful – beautiful – more beautiful).

What types of adjectives are there in German?

 In German we differentiate between three types of adjectives: attributive, 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 .


  • Der Clown ist lustig.

The clown is funny.

We speak of an adverbial adjective when the immutable adjective comes after other verbs (except to be / to stay / to become). sein / bleiben / werden


  • Der Clown springt glücklich.

The clown jumps happily.

Attributive adjectives are placed between the article and the noun and adapt their form to the noun . That is, we have to reject these adjectives and change their ending depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine or neuter, singular or plural.


  • Er ist ein sehr lustiger Clown.

He is a very funny clown.

  • Ich habe noch nie einen so lustigen Clown gesehen

I have never seen such a funny clown.

How do you increase German adjectives?

 We use augmentation forms of adjectives when we compare something to each other. There are three levels in German:

  • Positive
  • Comparative
  • Superlative

Comparison with the basic form of the adjective – positive

The positive form is the basic form of the adjective . We use them in comparisons with such … how.


  • Maria läuft so schnell wie Susanne.

Maria runs as fast as Susanne.

Other phrases for positive comparisons are:

  • genauso … wie

as much as

  • nicht so… wie

not as

  • fast so … wie

almost as

  • doppelt so… wie

almost as

  • halb so … wie

half of … like

Adjective increase – comparative

The comparative is the first form of comparison. When using the comparative, we attach -er to the basic form of the adjective. To compare with something else, we use the word like.


  • Friederike läuft schneller als Maria.
  • Maria läuft langsamer als gestern.

Friederike runs faster than Maria.

Maria runs slower than yesterday.

Adjective augmentation – superlative

 The superlative is the highest form of magnification. There are two ways to form the German superlative:

  • am + adjective ending –sten

Adverbial adjectives always form the superlative with am . Predicative adjectives can form the superlative with am (or with the definite article).


  • Friederike läuft am schnellsten. (adverbial)

Friederike is the fastest. (adverbial)

  • Diese Läuferin ist am schnellsten. (prädikativ)

This runner is the fastest. (prophetic)

definite article + adjective ending -ste

Attributive adjectives always form the superlative with the specific article. Predicative adjectives can form the superlative with the definite article (or with am).


  • Sie ist die schnellste Läuferin. (attribute)

She is the fastest runner. (attributive)

  • Diese Läuferin ist die schnellste. (prädikativ)

This runner is the fastest. (prophetic)

The position of adjectives

Attributive adjective

Verbs are often used between an article and a noun . An adjective used as an attribute is inflected after case, number, and gender.

Predicative adjective

A predicative adjective comes after the verbs to be, to stay and to become.

  1. a) Der Strauß ist wunderschön.

The bouquet is beautiful.

  1. b) Nachts wird is kühl.

It gets cool at night.

Adverbial adjective

An adverbial adjective comes after another verb (except to be, to stay, and to become ) and defines it more precisely. In the following sentences we can ask for the adverbial adjective with the interrogative word “How?” It assumes the function of an adverbial (in our example a modal adverbial) and determines the action expressed by the preceding verb.

  • Sie rennt schnell nach Hause.

She runs home quickly.

  • Der Lehrer spricht langsam und deutlich .

The teacher speaks slowly and clearly.

Declension of adjectives

Adjectives before a noun correspond to gender (masculine, feminine, neutral), number (singular, plural) and case (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive). For the declension of adjectives it is necessary that you master the declension of definite articles.

Declination of adjective with article: Declination in singular: according to a specific article

Maskulim feminim neutral
Nominativ der kleine hund die kleine katze das kleine Tier
Akusativ den kleinen hund die kleine katze das kleine Tier
Dativ dem kleinem hund dier kleinen katze dem kleinen Tier
Genitiv des kleinem hundes dier kleinen katze des kleinem Tieres

Declination in singular : After indefinite article, possessive. And negative items

Nominativ Maskulim feminim neutral
Akusativ Ein kleiner hund eine kleine katze ein kleines Tier
Dativ Einen Kleinen Hund eine kleine katze ein kleines Tier
Genitiv Einem Kleinen Hund einer kleiner katze einem kleinen Tier
Nominativ Eines kleinen hundes einer kleiner katze eines kleinen Tieres

Declension in plural: After a definite article, possessive. And negative items

Nominativ Nach bestimmtem artikel Nominativ Nach possessivartikel und negativertikel
Akusativ die kleinen sinks Akusativ Keine kleinen hunde
Dativ die kleinen sinks Dativ Keine kleinen hunde
Genitiv den kleinen sink Genitiv Keinen kleinen hunde
Nominativ der kleinen sinks Nominativ Keiner kleinen hunde
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