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Adjective + noun agreement

Why should I say "ein Weißes Kleid" but "das Weiße Kleid"? The same with "Weiße" in Michael Hanneker's film title 'Das Weiße Band'. Isn't the adjective in attributive position in both cases?

July 3, 2012


  • Yes, they are both attributive adjectives. However, the form an adjective takes depends not only on its position in a sentence, but also on the gender, case and number (i.e. singular/plural) of the noun it modifies, and on the article before that noun (definite, indefinite, no article).
  • In your example, the difference lies in the article ("ein" = indefinite article vs. "das" = definite article). Thus, different forms of the adjective have to be used. I'm sorry that it's so complicated.
  • See here for a more detailed explanation: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/index.html?si=adj
  • PS: Normally, adjectives like "weiß" are not capitalized.


Danke Schön Katherine und Luiseadh.


One note about the capitalisation of "Weiß". This is somewhat subtle, but actually it's the same as in English: singular or symbolic phrases that refer to one specific object are capitalised entirely (like "the Holy Grail" - > "der Heilige Graal").

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