German Grammar 110 – Adjectives

Adjectives describe nouns.

Some important adjectives are:

neu – new
alt – old
billig – cheap
teuer – expensive
schön – beautiful
häßlich – ugly
hell – bright
dunkel – dark
groß – big
klein – small
breit – wide
schmal – narrow

If the adjective comes after the noun it describes it doesn’t change its endings:

Der Tisch ist neu. – The table is new.
Das Kleid ist teuer. – The dress is expensive.

If the adjective comes in front of the noun, the adjective changes its ending depending on the gender and case of the following noun, whether it is singular or plural, and whether the adjective is accompanied by a definite article, an infinite article or no article at all.

Here are some examples how the endings of adjectives change when they are used with a definite article in the nominative case:

der große Tisch – the big table
die alte Schule – the old school
das neue Buch – the new book
die billigen Schuhe – the cheap shoes

And from these examples you can see what happens to the endings of the same adjectives when they are used with the indefinite article (or without an article) in the nominative case:

(ein) großer Tisch – (a) big table
(eine) alte Schule – (an) old school
(ein) neues Buch – (a) new book
billige Schuhe – cheap shoes

A few sample sentences with adjectives with the definite article, the indefinite article and without article in the nominative case:

Susanne ist eine junge Frau. – Susanne is a young women.
Peter ist ein guter Pilot. – Peter is a good pilot.
Der alte Tisch ist kaputt. – The old table is broken.
Die neue Wohnung ist schön. – The new apartment is beautiful.
Neue, gute Schuhe sind teuer. – New, good shoes are expensive.

EXERCISE: 110 Adjectives