German Comparative


The German Comparative is quite similar to the forms in English Grammar. We use comparative adjectives to compare things. There are three comparative forms in German: positive (schön), comparative (schöner) and superlative (am schönsten).

She is faster then wind

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1. Comparative Adjectives 

Comparisons in German (der Komparativ) are similar to those found in English. In both languages, the comparative ending ‘er’ is added to adjectives to make them comparative; however, English uses “more” for some adjectives whereas German does not. 

Er fährt schnell, aber sie fährt schneller.    
He drives fast, but she drives faster.

In the example, ‘schnell’ is an adjective that simply adds ‘er’ to the end to form the comparative. In German, there are a few rules to be aware of when forming the comparative:

  • Monosyllabic adjectives with stem vowel ‘a,’ ‘o,’ or ‘u’ add an umlaut to the stem vowel (e.g. alt → älter; groß → größer; kurz → kürzer)
  • Adjectives ending in ‘e,’ ‘el,’ or ‘er’ either add an ‘r’ only or delete the final ‘e’ before adding ‘er’ (e.g. teuer → teurer)


When we compare two nouns and want to express than one noun is more of something  than another noun (for example, faster, bigger, etc) than another, we use “als” 

Dein Auto ist schneller als mein Auto. 
Your car is faster than my car. 

When we compare two nouns and want to express that one noun is as much of something as another noun (as fast as, as big as), wie use “so… wie”. In English and in German, we then use the positive/regular adjective, and not the comparative adjective. (“as fast as”, not “as faster as”) If we want to add that something is exactly the same, we can add “genau”. To negate it (“not as fast as”), we can add “nicht”. (nicht so schnell wie). When we use “als” or “so…wie”, the noun is typically in the nominative case. 

Dein Auto ist (genau) so schnell wie mein Auto. 
Your car is (exactly) as fast as my car. 

3. Irregular Adjectives 

In English and in German, there are adjectives that do not follow the regular comparative pattern of adding “-er”. For example, the comparative of “good” is not “gooder” but “better”. A few examples of irregular adjectives in German are:

gern (gladly)  – lieber (more gladly)
gut (good)  – besser (better)
hoch (high/tall) – höher (higher/taller)
viel (much, a lot) – mehr (more

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
Spoken Production:
I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
Spoken Interaction:
I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.