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German: Grammar > Adjectives

Adjectives are used to describe a noun, as in for example "the white hat" or "the small country". You will find some commonly used adjectives in the table below:

German English German English
gut = good, right schlecht = bad
schön = pretty hesslich = ugly
gross = big klein = small
hoch = high niedrig = low
lang = long, tall kurz = short

If an adjective is used together with a noun, the actual form of the adjective might change. In the case of a definite article, the adjective is placed between the article and the noun. Furthermore, a suffix is added to the adjective. The suffix which is used depends on gender and case. The matrix below shows all suffixes for each gender and case:

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative -e -e -e -en
Genetive -en -en -en -en
Dative -en -en -en -en
Accusative -en -e -e -en

For example (all in nominative):

German English German English
gut = good, right Die gute Richtung. = The right direction.
schön = pretty Das schöne Mädchen. = The pretty girl.
groß = big Die große Stadt. = The big city.
hoch = high Die hohen Bergen. = The high mountains.
lang = long, tall Die langen Reise. = The long trips.

In the case of an indefinite article ein/eine, all adjectives are conjugated according to the below matrix:

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative -er -es -em -en
Genetive -e -er -er -e
Dative -e -es -em -e
Accusative -en -en -en -en

For example:

German English German English
gut = good Eine gute Richtung. = A right direction.
schön = pretty Ein schönes Mädchen. = A pretty girl.
groß = big Eine große Stadt. = A big city.
hoch = high Ein hoher Berg. = A high mountain.
lang = long, tall Eine lange Reise. = A long trip.

This rule is also applied when the noun is used without an article. For example:

German English
Leckere Kaffee! = Tasty coffee!
Gute Reise! = (Have a) good trip!
In Bayern gibt es schöne Gebirge. = There are beautiful mountains in Bavaria.

When an adjective is placed at the end of the scentence, such as in "the hat is white" or "the villages are beautiful", the adjective used remains unchanged. Furthermore, the adjective is placed after the verb. For example:

Dies ist leckere Kaffee (This is tasty coffee) but Diese Kaffee ist lecker (This coffe is tasty)
Die gute Reise (The good trip) but Die Reise war gut (The trip was good)

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