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Adjective and adverbial endings

This discussion is something I've been preparing for. I have kept on putting it off. It is one of my greatest fears. But now, Es its Zeit. The very first question I ever asked on Duolingo was this. And I'm still struggling with it. Back then I posted it on a 'Troubleshooting' topic. I got some answers But I reckon if I post it at German I'll get a few more and more explanatory. Thanks

October 9, 2017



Also, note that adverbs do not need endings:

Der Mann läuft schnell = "The man runs quickly" - here, schnell/"quickly" is an adverb rather than an adjective, as it is used to describe the verb läuft/"runs", rather than the man directly.

Compare this with:
Der Mann ist schnell = "The man is fast" - here, schnell/"quickly" is an adjective, but not before a noun, so you don't need an ending either.

Only adjectives before a noun need an ending:
Der schnelle Mann = "The fast man"

Advanced extra tip:

This rule of 'adverbs don't need an ending' extends to adverbs used with participial attributes, i.e. verbs in the Partizip I or Partizip II form used as adjectives. The participial attributes, however, are treated as adjectives and themselves need endings.

Examples of participial attributes are:
das fahrende Auto (PI) = "The car that is driving" (lit: "The driving car")
eine gestrichene Wand (PII) = "A painted wall"

If you wanted to describe how the car is driving or how the wall was painted you don't put an ending on the adverb:
das schnell fahrende Auto = "The car that is driving fast" (lit: "The fast-driving car")
eine gelb gestrichene Wand = "A wall that is painted yellow" (lit: "A yellow-painted wall")

Note that this is subtly different from using the same words as a second adjective:
das schnelle fahrende Auto = "The fast car that is driving" (lit: "The fast, driving car")
eine gelbe gestrichene Wand = "A painted wall that is yellow" (lit: "A yellow, painted wall")

This type of sentence construction may only rarely be encountered on Duolingo, if at all. Duolingo mostly teaches A1-A2 with some B1 level, whereas this is B2 level and above.


Thanks for the advanced tip!


Many thanks. I think I understand but do you have a website with examples cause I'd like to make sure I understand.


Hi Cluney,

here is one site in german: http://mein-deutschbuch.de/adjektive.html

here is one in english: https://www.germanveryeasy.com/adjective-declension

That's what you need?

best regards Angel


Aha. Let me give it a shot then. Ich habe einen guten Hund. Er ist sehr schnell. Ja, er ist ein sehr schneller Hund. Ich habe keine Katze. Ich möchte keine Katzen. Ich möche keine großen Katzen, und keine kleinen Katzen. In meinem Haus haben wir viele Frösche. Wir haben Grünen Frösche. Don't know the plural of Frosch just took a bit of guess. Please correct me where I went wrong.


wir haben grüne Frösche * - here there's no article, so the adjective needs to have the 'die'-signal for the plural. Also, no need to capitalise adjectives.

You've also got one typo with möchte. But you guessed the plural of Frosch correctly :)


Hi Cluney,

Uh, I will try to explain, but I have to admit I have to cheat. So adjectives are "Eigenschaftsworte" also called "Wie-Worte" They discribe how is something or someone. In a sentence they can stand before a a noun or after a noun. If you use an adjective after a noun you discribe how someone is doing something.

Adjectives before a noun. You have to decline them. "Das Fahrrad. Das blaue Fahrrad" "Der Hund. Der braune Hund" "Die Glocke. Die gelbe Glocke."

Adjectives after a noun. You don't decline them. "Er schreibt. Er schreibt schnell." "Sie spricht. Sie spricht laut."

Adjectives in use with bleiben, sein oder werden. You don't dicline them. "Das Auto. Das Auto ist schön" "Die Wohnung bleibt hässlich." "Der Mann wird krank"

You can compare adjectives. "Peter ist stark. Paul ist stärker. Kai ist am stärksten."

If you have problems to identify adjectives. I know I get beaten again for this tip but this is how we learn that at school. Ask how is ...

Wie ist das Auto? gelb. Wie schreibt er? schnell. Wie ist die Wohnung? hässlich.

Does that help a little bit?

Last but not least. Have a look here. http://mein-deutschbuch.de/grammatikuebungen-adjektivdeklination-1.html and here http://mein-deutschbuch.de/grammatikuebungen-adjektivdeklination-2.html

best regards Angel


I had been struggling to understand the logic behind adjective endings for a while, till the day I landed on this page: http://www.nthuleen.com/teach/grammar/adjektivendungenexpl.html

Read it a couple of times, make sure you understand and internalize the different sub-options, then print the flow chart picture you find there, and keep it as a cheat sheet for your grammar exercises. Trust me, in some time you'll be able to mentally process the multiple options (as per flow chart) with no effort ;-))

Should you have any questions, please ask in this discussion, I'll be watching it (and get notified for new messages)


I wrote a post about it when I felt I understood it. Later I wrote an update to it as well. Maybe they will help you!


Thanks. It's beginning to make sense. It's not completely in my head but soon it will be. It's kind of like in English where it doesn't actually change the sentence it just 'adds more information'. I now understand why it's different for an 'a' and a 'the'. This is a great help because it wasn't making much sense to me and trying to work out the reason exactly the same thing, in exactly the same case was different but now I get it.


Hi AZ,

wow, well done! I'm impressed! @ Cluney Have a look at that, it will help you.

best regards Angel


Danke. Ich werde es lesen. Aber es ist lang. Also Ich werde es morgen oder Späte lesen.


I think I misused Also and Späte. Soz but I will read it later. It's 21 right now.


"Ich werde es später oder morgen lesen." "I will read it later or tomorrow." :-)

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