German Adjective Endings


German has all the same adjective concepts that English does, yes … but how adjectives are used is very different, mainly because of tricky little adjective endings. When adding adjective endings, you must remember three things: case, number and gender. Get a quick refresher on German Cases before jumping into German adjective endings! Let's find out more below...

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Adjectives are words that modify a noun or pronoun by describing a characteristic (size, age, shape, color, feeling, or opinion). They can be placed before a noun or pronoun (attribute position) or after a noun (predicative position). When adjectives are in the predicative position, they do not have endings and are the same for any noun or pronoun, regardless of gender, case and number (singular or plural). 

Das Haus ist schön. The House is beautiful. (das Haus – singular, neutral noun)
Die Blumen sind schön. The flowers are beautiful. (die Blumen – plural, feminine noun)
Ich bin schön. I am beautiful. (I – subject/nominative pronoun)

The adjective “schön” remains unchanged, regardless of the gender, case and number of the noun or pronoun, as long as it is placed behind the noun/pronoun it characterizes (predicative position). 

Adjectives in the attributive position (for A2.2 students)
When adjectives are placed before the noun or pronoun, then we need to add endings depending on the gender, case and number of the noun or pronoun they modify. Adjectives that are preceded by German definite articles or “der” words (dieser, jeder, jener, etc) have weak adjective endings. There are only two possible weak endings: “-e” and “-en”

weak adjective endings
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Der leckere Kuchen riecht gut.
The delicious cake smells good. (der Kuchen, singular masculine, nominative)

Die schönen Blumen riechen gut. 
The beautiful flowers smell good. (die Blumen, plural, feminine, nominative)

Adjectives that are preceded by German indefinite articlesor “ein” words (possessive articles, etc.)  have strong adjective endings.

strong adjective endings
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Ich lese ein interessantes Buch. 
I am reading an interesting book. (das Buch, singular, neutral, accusative)

Wir pflücken die schönen Blumen. 
We are picking the beautiful flowers. (die Blumen, plural, feminine, accusative)

Adjectives also take strong endings when they are not preceded by a determiner. This is often used in news articles, ads or job postings. 

strong unpreceded
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Wohnung mit schönem Blick frei.  
Apartment with beautiful view available. (der Blick, singular, masculine, dative)

Haus mit grosser Terrasse frei. 
House with large patio available. (die Terasse, singular, feminine, dative)

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