WE USE COOKIES (our own and third party) in order to offer a better service and to display Ads. If you continue to browse, we consider that you accept our cookies policy

Adjective declension in German

Adjective declension is one of the most complicated tasks in the German language. Sometimes they are declined (there are three types of declensions) and other times not. But don’t worry; we will explain it so that you can understand easily.

Adjective Functions

Adjectives can have 3 functions in a sentence and only the attributive function is declined. Let’s see the three functions to distinguish them from one another:

  • Attributive (adjective accompanying a noun).

    Der gute Mann arbeitet viel

    [DECLINED]

    Often, it is understood which noun is being referred to so the adjective appears without the noun but it is still declined

    Er mag den roten Apfel, ich mag den gelben

    (apple is omitted in the second clause)
  • Predicative (the adjective is in a sentence with the copulative verbs [ seinbleiben and  werden] and is not accompanied by a noun)

    Der Mann ist gut[NOT DECLINED]

  • Adverbial (the adjective behaves like an adverb)

    Sie singt gut[NOT DECLINED]

Adjective declension

As we have stated, there are 3 types of declension, depending on the the particle that comes before the adjective:

  • Weak declension (the definite article + adjective).

    Das schöne Sofa
    The beautiful sofa

  • Mixed declension(indefinite article + adjective).

    Ein schönes Sofa
    A beautiful sofa

  • Strong declination (no article + adjective).

    Schönes Sofa
    Beautiful sofa

Weak declension

The weak declension is used when:

  • the definite articles (der, die, das)

or the pronouns:

  • dieser (this)
  • jener (that)
  • derjenige (that one)
  • derselbe (the same)
  • welcher (which)

or declined indicators of quantity:

  • jeder (every)
  • mancher (some)
  • alle (all)
...

come before the adjective and the adjective before the noun.

This is called weak declension because the case marker is not carried by the adjective but rather particle before it.

Weak declensionMasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeder gute
Mann
die gute
Frau
das gute
Kind
die guten
Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Accusativeden guten
Mann
die gute
Frau
das gute
Kind
die guten
Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Dativedem guten
Mann(e)
der guten
Frau
dem guten
Kind(e)
den guten
Männern/Frauen/Kindern
Genitivedes guten
Mannes
der guten
Frau
des guten
Kindes
der guten
Männer/Frauen/Kinder

If we look closely, we see that you just add "-e" or "-en".

Mixed declension

Mixed declension is used when:

  • the indefinite articles (ein,...)
  • the possessive pronouns (mein, …)
  • kein, ... (none)
...

come before the adjective and the adjective before the noun.

Mixed declensionMasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeein guter
Mann
eine gute
Frau
ein gutes
Kind
keine guten
Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Accusativeeinen guten
Mann
eine gute
Frau
ein gutes
Kind
keine guten
Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Dativeeinem guten
Mann(e)
einer guten
Frau
einem guten
Kind(e)
keinen guten
Männern/Frauen/Kindern
Genitiveeines guten
Mannes
einer guten
Frau
eines guten
Kindes
keiner guten
Männer/Frauen/Kinder

Strong declension

The strong declension is used when nothing comes before the adjective. But there are also other cases such as when the adjective is preceded by

any of the following pronouns:

  • dergleichen, ... (the same)
  • derlei, ... (such)
  • dessen, deren (whose)
  • wessen (whose)
  • manch (some)
  • etliche mehrere (a few more)
  • etwas (something)
  • ein bisschen (a bit)
  • ein wenig (a little)
  • ein paar (a couple)

or by:

  • wie viel (how much)
  • viel (a lot)
  • wenig (little)

or declined indicators of quantity that are only used in the plural:

  • viele (many)
  • wenige (few)
  • einige (some)
Strong declensionMasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeguter Manngute Fraugutes Kindgute
Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Accusativeguten Manngute Fraugutes Kindgute
Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Dativegutem Mann(e)guter Fraugutem Kind(e)guten Männern/
Frauen/Kindern
Genitiveguten Mannesguter Frauguten Kindesguter Männer/
Frauen/Kinder

Declension of 2 or more consecutive adjectives

If two or more consecutive adjectives are in a sentence, they will be declined with the same type of declension:

Wir möchten in einem guten japanischen Restaurant essen
We would like to eat in a good Japanese Restaurant

In this example, "gut" and "japanisch" are declined with the mixed declension because the adjectives are preceded by the indefinite article (ein).

"ein" is declined in dative (einem) because it is preceded by the preposition "in" (with a situational concept).



5 Comments

#5 [Sasa]2016-10-06 19:31
I am a good carpeneter - Ich bin ein guter Tischler.

Name*
Comment*
Web