https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zoba.sparrow

how to learn adjective inflections

I'm really scared of all of the adjective forms in German - to the point that it makes me want to give up studying the language. I find them so confusing! Anyone have any tips on how to learn the inflections? Whenever I look at the charts, I just feel overwhelmed.

Thanks!

July 27, 2017

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob20020

Well.....

Take it one case at a time.

Accusative = Only masculine changes. er endings become en. ich habe den kleinen Hund.

Dative = Er words become en, e (die) words become er words. es (das) words also become em. Es ist beim schwarzen Hund. Es ist beim gelber Biene. Es ist beim roten Ding.

Genitive I wouldn't worry too much about, but er and es words become es and e words become er words. Ich habe den Hund des Junges. Ich habe den Hund der Frau.

After a definite article, the adjectives will always have an e at the end. Der schwarze Hund. Die witzige Frau.

After indefinite articles, the articles will change like I stated above. But I'll clarify = er words are masculine. e words are feminine, es words are neuter.

Have any questions? I'll happily answer them tomorrow. Keep practicing and don't give up :D

July 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drvdw

Accusative = Only masculine changes. er endings become en. ich habe den kleinen Hund.

Your example "den kleinen" is with a definite article, so you are talking about adjective declination with definite articles here. But in nominative, the ending is -e with a masculine definite article, not -er. e.g. Der kleine Hund

Dative = Er words become en, e (die) words become er words. es (das) words also become em. Es ist beim schwarzen Hund. Es ist beim gelber Biene. Es ist beim roten Ding.

You have another example with definite article: "beim schwarzen Hund". In dative, all adjectives end in -en with definite articles. Therefore, it's "bei der gelben Biene"

Genitive I wouldn't worry too much about, but er and es words become es and e words become er words. Ich habe den Hund des Junges. Ich habe den Hund der Frau.

But these examples have no adjectives in them... Ich habe den Hund des kleinen Jungen. Ich habe den Hund der netten Frau. They are all -en

After a definite article, the adjectives will always have an e at the end. Der schwarze Hund. Die witzige Frau.

No they don't. Masculine, feminine and neutral are -e in nominative, and feminine and neutral are -e in accusative. Otherwise the endings are -en.

After indefinite articles, the articles will change like I stated above. But I'll clarify = er words are masculine. e words are feminine, es words are neuter.

Indefinite articles use mixed inflection. They have their own table.

July 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob20020

Thanks for the corrections. I wrote that really late at night.

July 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LateBlt

The general rule is that the declinated ending should appear once and only once. This means that if there is no article, the adjective receives the ending because there's nowhere else to put it. If there is an article, the ending is used with the article and the adjective receives a simplified ending.

For example: "Ich laufe mit einem schweren Herz." The ending for neuter-dative ("das Herz" is neuter and "mit" makes the case dative) is "em", so the article "einem" takes this declinated ending, and the adjective "schwer" takes the simplified ending "en". "Ich laufe mit schwerem Herz." Here there is no article, so the adjective takes the declinated ending "em" instead.

In a sense, then, it is fairly straightforward: - When there is no article, use the declinated ending for the adjective. - If there is an indefinite article (like "ein" or "eine"), then adjectives for all plurals and all dative and genitive cases take the simplified ending "en", but adjectives for nominative and accusative cases for singular nouns take the same endings as if there were no article. (You can visualize this more easily if you look at a table: there are six boxes with the same declinated endings as for when you have no article, and everything else is "en".) - If there is a definite article (like "der", "das", or "die"), then the adjective takes the ending "e" or "en". Again, if you look at a table, you can see that this is fairly easy to remember: plurals, dative, genitive, and masculine accusative take "en", the other five possibilities are "e".

I actually visualize these tables in my mind, which I think is pretty easy if you list the accusative case after the nominative case. If you do this, then for the indefinite article, there is a corner with six declinated endings in the upper-left, and everything else is "en". Likewise, for the definite article, there is a grouping of "e" in the upper-left (and this group is sort of formed like a lowercase letter "d" on its side, which helps remember to use that table for the definite article words like "der", "das", and "die"), and outside of that grouping, everything is "en". Again, I think what I've written here is much easier to understand if you look at the tables to visually see what I mean. :)

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Herz might not be the best example noun, as I think that mit einem schweren Herzen sounds better, including the ending -en which seems to be technically optional but I think sounds better in such metaphortical situations.

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LateBlt

I see what you mean. I am not a native speaker so I didn't think about that, but yes, those nouns which change their form in the dative case are difficult even for advanced speakers.

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drvdw

I recommend toughing it out and memorizing the tables. They are just three 4x4 tables. Start with one table, and if that is to hard, start with one case of one table. Drill yourself a few minutes a day on them and soon you will have it memorized. There is no reason to be overwhelmed or scared.

July 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zoba.sparrow

Thanks for the responses - these are good suggestions and make me feel a little less overwhelmed. I have to keep reminding myself that other people have mastered these and so can I. :) I think I'm going to go very slowly and just memorize one type of inflection (weak, mixed, strong) and one case at a time. Or something like that.

July 27, 2017
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