German Adjectives

German Adjectives


4.1: German Adjectives

German adjectives, normally go in front of the noun which they are modifying. German adjectives have an ending before a noun. This ending, which is mostly “-e” in the singular and “-en” in the plural, depends on several factors like the gender of the following noun and the case. There are four cases in the German language: nominative, genitive, dative and accusative. The different cases are used depending on the function of the sentence. You’ll get some examples for that in a minute.

The nominative adjective refers to the subject of a sentence. This makes it easy for us to pick out, since nouns start with a capital letter. Now don't you wish English had that? What a struggle it was to learn all of this is grammar school.

You can ask yourselves “who” or “what” to find the subject of a sentence that you are looking for. The questions of are normally used in conjunction with nominative adjectives. Why is this so? Nominative cases use articles most of the time. Examples of these are “der”, "ein", "die", "eine", and so on. Take the term “der kleine Junge” (the little boy). Here the ending is “-e”. In the plural it is “die kleinen Jungen” (the little boys). See, not too difficult. To see this in action with interactivity and audio please visit Rocket German.

As you can see, it just takes practice and a bit of learning to master the basics of German. Keep reading for the rest of our adjective lesson. Let us move on to the accusative adjectives now.

The accusative case is the direct object of a sentence. Did you forget what a direct object is? It is an animal, thing, person, or something which the action of the sentence is happening about or to. Think of it as the popular thing in the sentence. What all the buzz is about. Does that make a little more sense?

Accusative endings are the same as those in the nominative case most of the time. The exception to this rule is with the masculine gender. It is the loner, the only one which has a different appearance, upon changing from “-e” in the nominative to “-en” in the accusative. Accusative adjectives and articles are directly related to one another, whether it is masculine, feminine, or neutral. The accusative ending must also reflect the case of the preceding noun.

Let us have a look at the dative case. Do you remember what the accusative format dealt with? It’s the object of the sentence. Dative deals with the indirect object of the sentence. This time it is not about who or what the action is being performed by but rather who or what the action is being performed to. Question words are to whom or what the sentence is about. The ending of adjectives in the dative case is easy: it’s “-en” for all (male, female, neutral, singular or plural).

Let's take a look at this closer. A couple of examples include, "To whom did he throw the ball?" "To whom are you speaking?" To see full lots of examples of what I am explaining in action pick yourself up a copy of Rocket German today. Learn German the easy way, the fun way, the Rocket German way.

Finally, we come to the genitive case. In German, the genitive shows the possession of something. In English you use the apostrophe-s ‘s or “of” to express this. Like in “my parent’s house”. The endings adjectives are identical to the dative case.

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