65 German Adjectives for Every Occasion + Adjective Endings (With Examples)

If you’ve ever been to Switzerland, you know its breathtaking landscape.

The majestic, snow-capped peaks of the Alps tower like gigantic white spikes in the cloudless, azure sky. The crystal-clear mountain lakes reflect the splendor of nature, their emerald-green waters sparkling in the warm sun.

Do you want to be able to express all of this in German with German adjectives? Then this post is for you! In this article, you will learn what types of adjective there are in German, how you can add characteristics to your German sentences, and even how you can describe people in German.

For the latter, Spring German (a project I co-founded) made a video:

Los geht’s! (Let’s go!)

1. What are adjectives in German?

Effortless Answers

German adjectives are descriptive words that add additional information about nouns in a sentence. In the German language, adjectives add detail to your speech and writing.

German adjectives come before the noun they describe and must change their endings (adjective endings) to match the noun’s gender, number, and case. This process is known as adjective declension.

After a while, when you start learning a language, there comes a time when you have to understand how adjectives function. And of course, how to use them correctly. If you learn these German adjectives, and follow up on their correct usage of adjective endings, you’ll express yourself precisely.

And this will help you communicate your thoughts and also ideas effectively.

German adjectives can be used in different ways within a sentence.

They can be:

  1. Attributive – meaning they directly modify a noun,
  2. Predicative – where they describe the subject of the sentence in conjunction with a verb
  3. Adverbial role – where they modify other adjectives, verbs, or adverbs.

2. Types of adjectives in German

Attributive Adjectives in German: match the noun’s gender, number, and case

Attributive adjectives are the most common type of adjective in German.

They precede the noun they describe and must match the noun’s gender, number, and case.

GermanEnglish
das große Hausthe big house
die neuen Bücherthe new books
ein schöner Taga beautiful day
mein alter Freundmy old friend
die leckeren Kuchenthe delicious cakes

Predicative Adjectives in German: describe the subject of a sentence

Predicative adjectives are used in combination with a verb to describe the subject of a sentence.

Unlike attributive adjectives, they do not change their endings based on the noun’s gender or number.

GermanEnglish
Die Katze ist klein.The cat is small.
Das Essen schmeckt lecker.The food tastes delicious.
Er ist sehr freundlich.He is very friendly.
Die Musik klingt schön.The music sounds beautiful.
Das Kleid ist neu.The dress is new.

Adverbial Adjectives in German: ending in -weise or -erweise

Adverbial adjectives function as adverbs, modifying verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

They often end in “-weise” or “-erweise.”

GermanEnglish
Sie singt wunderschönerweise.She sings wonderfully.
Das Buch ist überraschenderweise gut.The book is surprisingly good.
Er arbeitet fleißigerweise sehr hart.He works very hard diligently.
Die Torte schmeckt erstaunlicherweise nicht süß.The cake surprisingly does not taste sweet.
Sie hat glücklicherweise keine Verletzungen.She luckily has no injuries.

3. Learn German grammar – German adjective endings

In German, adjectives need to decline. This means that their ending change to match the noun they describe. And although this might seem a little thing, it’s an important feature of German grammar because it helps establish the relationship between the adjective and the noun.

This makes the German sentence grammatically correct.

German has three main types of adjective declension:

  1. strong,
  2. weak, and
  3. mixed.

The endings you use depend on the determiners (articles, possessive pronouns, or demonstrative pronouns) accompanying the noun.

Strong Declension

Strong declension is used when there is no determiner before the noun or when the determiner is indefinite (e.g., “ein,” “kein,” or possessive pronouns).

german adjectives fresh fruit in a bowl

When there is no determiner:

  • Frisches Obst ist gesund. (Fresh fruit is healthy.)
  • Der Geschmack frischen Obstes ist unvergleichlich. (The taste of fresh fruit is incomparable.)

Indefinite determiner:

  • Ein großer Garten kostet viel Arbeit. (A big garden costs a lot of work.)
  • Kein schlechtes Wetter kann mich aufhalten. (No bad weather can stop me.)

Weak Declension

Weak declension is used when the noun is preceded by a definite article (der, die, das) or a determiner that behaves like a definite article.

With a definite article:

  • Ich sehe den alten Mann. (I see the old man.)
  • Die kleine Katze ist verspielt. (The little cat is playful.)
  • Das neue Buch ist interessant. (The new book is interesting.)

With a determiner (welche):

  • Welchen guten Wein möchtest du probieren? (Which good wine would you like to try?)

Mixed Declension

Mixed declension is used when the noun is preceded by certain determiners, such as “dieser” (this), “jener” (that), or “welcher” (which).

The adjective takes a combination of strong and weak endings:

  • Dieses schöne Haus gehört meinem Freund. (This beautiful house belongs to my friend.)
  • Jener alte Baum steht schon seit Ewigkeiten. (That old tree has been standing for ages.)
  • Welches teure Auto hast du gekauft? (Which expensive car did you buy?)

4. The most common German adjectives

To make your German better, it’s always a good idea to learn some German adjectives. They will help you communicate more effectively.

Here are some of the most essential German adjectives to add to your repertoire.

Essential German Adjectives

These adjectives are useful for describing basic characteristics and qualities:

GermanEnglish
großbig
kleinsmall
langlong
kurzshort
altold
neunew
jungyoung
gutgood
schlechtbad
schönbeautiful
hässlichugly
lautloud
leisequiet
schnellfast
langsamslow

Master German Adjectives for Emotions

To express your feelings and emotions in German, these adjectives will come in handy:

GermanEnglish
glücklichhappy
traurigsad
wütendangry
ängstlichanxious
überraschtsurprised
gelangweiltbored
besorgtworried
erleichtertrelieved
aufgeregtexcited
enttäuschtdisappointed
frustriertfrustrated
zufriedensatisfied

Describe People in German

When talking about personalities and physical appearances, these adjectives will be useful:

GermanEnglish
nettnice
freundlichfriendly
höflichpolite
gemeinmean
ehrlichhonest
faullazy
fleißighardworking
intelligentintelligent
dünnthin
dickfat
großtall
kleinshort
hübschpretty
attraktivattractive
hässlichugly
altold

5. Declension: Comparatives and superlatives to speak German like a native

It’s not only enough to learn these German adjectives with chunks, but it’s also crucial to understand how you can compare things to each other.

So, you have to check what are the use cases of comparatives and superlatives.

These forms of adjectives allow you to express degrees of comparison.

Forming Comparatives in German

Comparatives are used to compare two things or people.

In German, they are formed by adding “-er” to the base adjective (e.g., “groß” becomes “größer” for “bigger”).

For adjectives with an umlaut or ending in “-d” or “-t,” the comparative is formed irregularly (e.g., “alt” becomes “älter” for “older”).

Base AdjectiveComparativeEnglish
großgrößerbigger
kleinkleinersmaller
schnellschnellerfaster
langsamlangsamerslower
altälterolder
neuneuernewer
gutbesserbetter
schlechtschlechterworse
schönschönermore beautiful
hässlichhässlicheruglier
lautlauterlouder
leiseleiserquieter
dünndünnerthinner
dickdickerfatter

Forming Superlatives in German

Superlatives are used to express the highest or lowest degree of a quality.

superlatives are formed by adding “-st” to the base adjective (e.g., “groß” becomes “größt” for “biggest”).

For adjectives with an umlaut or ending in “-d” or “-t,” the superlative is formed irregularly (e.g., “alt” becomes “ältesten” for “oldest”).

Base AdjectiveSuperlativeEnglish
großgrößte(r/s)biggest
kleinkleinste(r/s)smallest
schnellschnellste(r/s)fastest
langsamlangsamste(r/s)slowest
altälteste(r/s)oldest
neuneueste(r/s)newest
gutbeste(r/s)best
schlechtschlechteste(r/s)worst
schönschönste(r/s)most beautiful
hässlichhässlichste(r/s)ugliest
lautlauteste(r/s)loudest
leiseleiseste(r/s)quietest
dünndünnste(r/s)thinnest
dickdickste(r/s)fattest

6. Practice worksheet for German adectives

Fill in the blanks with the correct German adjectives!

This is just part of the exercise. Want to learn and practice more? Click the button below and gain access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

7. Memorize German adjectives with Conversation Based Chunking

Use Conversation Based Chunking to make the learning of German adjectives easier and a lot more fun!

This method is all about learning adjectives in the context of conversational phrases or “chunks” rather than isolated words.

Instead of memorizing the adjective “groß” (big) on its own, you could learn it in a chunk like “Das ist ein großes Haus” (That is a big house). If you associate the adjective with a meaningful context, it becomes easier to remember and use in natural conversations.

Similarly, you could learn the adjective “schön” (beautiful) in a phrase like “Sie ist eine schöne Frau” (She is a beautiful woman), or the adjective “lecker” (delicious) in the phrase “Das Essen schmeckt lecker” (The food tastes delicious).

Learn more about this method, and get additional resources to learn German!

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