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Adjektivendungen




Adjektivendungen

 

learning target

 

You have probably noticed that I added certain endings to the adjectives in the messages I sent you.
Today I want to make clear when you have to use which ending.

 

German English
Sie hat eine nette Schwester.
Deutsches Brot schmeckt sehr gut.
Ich sehe den neuen Professor.
She’s got a nice sister.
German bread taste very good.
I see the new professor.

 

rules

 

How do you find out which ending you have to use?

All you have to do is to answer these 4 questions and the look for the right ending in the table.

  • What kind of article have the noun? (definite, indefinite, none)
  • Which gender does the noun have? (male, female, neutral)
  • What’s the numerus of the noun? (singual, plural)
  • In which case is the noun? (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative)

 

example 1:

Die große Frau trägt einen Hut. (The tall woman is wearing a hat.)

Let’s analyse the sentence. The noun we analyse is “Frau”. The adjective which describes the woman is “groß”.

  • What kind of article has got the noun “Frau”? => Die => the noun has a definite article.
  • What gender does the noun “Frau” have? => The gender of “Frau” is female.
  • Which numerus has the noun “Frau”? => It is just one woman. So, it’s singular.
  • In which case is the noun “Frau”? => The woman is the subject of the sentence.
    She is doing something. So, “Frau” is in the nominative case.

Now let’s have a look at the table for definite articles. Look for singular, female, nominative.
The ending is “e”. So, it must be “die große Frau”.

example 2:

Ein netter Mann sitzt im Café. (A nice man is sitting in the cafe.)

  • article: ein (indefinite article)
  • gender: male
  • numerus: singular
  • case: nominative case

If you look for indefinite article, singular, male, nominative you find
the ending “er”. So it must be “ein netter Mann”.

example 3:

Ich schreibe einen langen Brief. (I write a long letter.)

The noun we have to consider here is “Brief”. The adjective which describes the letter is “lang”.

  • article: einen (indefinite article)
  • gender: Brief is male
  • numerus: singular
  • case: “Ich” is the subject of the sentence. “Ich” is in the nominative case.
    “Brief” is the direct object of the sentence. “Brief” is in the accusative case.

If you look for indefinite article, singular, male, accusative you’ll find
the ending “en”. So it must be “einen langen Brief”.

A way to cheat

If you are unsure which gender or case is required you can often recognize it
with the help of the the article which precedes the adjective.

examples:

  • Er kauft das neue Handy. => The article “das” shows that Handy is neutral.
  • Ich mag den roten Hut nicht. => The article “den” shows that the Hut is male and in the accusative case.
    The same trick works with “einen, keinen, meinen… (all articels, pronouns, der-words which end with “en”).
  • Sie spielt mit dem kleinen Kind. => The article “dem” shows that the Kind is in the dative case.
    The same trick works with “einem, keinem, meinem… (all articels, pronouns, der-words which end with “em”).

 

Other words which have the same function as articles

Besides the “normal” articles there are some words which have the same function as “normal” articles.
They require you to put the correct ending at the end of the adjective as well.

All words which “work” like a definite article

German English
der, die, das, den, dem the
dieser, diese, dieses, diesen, diesem this / these
jener, jene, jenes, jenen, jenem that / those
jeder, jede, jedes, jeden, jedem every / each
solcher, solche, solches, solchen, solchem such
welcher, welche, welches, welchen, welchem which
mancher, manche, manches, manchen, manchem some
alle, beide all / both

 

All words which “work” like an indefinite article

German English
ein, eine, einen, einem, einer a / an
kein, keine, keinen, keinem, keiner no / none
mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr my / your / his / her / our / your / Your

 

tables

 

declension of adjectives without article

case singular plural
male female neuter
nominative guter Mann gute Frau gutes Kind gute Familien
genitive guten Mannes guter Frau guten Kindes guter Familien
dative gutem Mann guter Frau gutem Kind guten Familien
accusative guten Mann gute Frau gutes Kind gute Familien

 

declension of adjectives with definite article (der, die, das)

case singular plural
male female neuter
nominative der gute Mann die gute Frau das gute Kind die guten Familien
genitive des guten Mannes der guten Frau des guten Kindes der guten Familien
dative dem guten Mann der guten Frau dem guten Kind den guten Familien
accusative den guten Mann die gute Frau das gute Kind die guten Familien

 

declension of adjectives with indefinite article (ein)

case Singular Plural
male female neuter
nominative ein guter Mann eine gute Frau ein gutes Kind keine guten Kinder *
genitive eines guten Mannes einer guten Frau eines guten Kindes keiner guten Kinder *
dative einem guten Mann einer guten Frau einem guten Kind keinen guten Kindern *
accusative einen guten Mann eine gute Frau ein gutes Kind keine guten Kinder *

 

* kein und ein behave the same. A plural form of “ein” doesn’t exist. That’s why I replaced it here by “kein”.

 

As you already noticed not only the article changes. Some nouns get an additional ending as well.
For more details check Deklination der Substantive.




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