Adjective endings/ inflections in German

More on adjectives 

Not long ago I wrote a blog about adjectives. This blog will also be about adjectives, but instead focus will be on German adjectives and their inflections. In German the adjective inflection depends on the case, number and gender as well as a determiner, if any.

Take this sentence for example:  The two black dogs live in a beautiful villa.

If we analyze the sentence then the black dog is our subject and it stands in Nominative case, live is our verb and in a beautiful house is ‘where they live ’ – here controlled by in+D. (In another blog post I’ll talk about prepositions and which case they take).

In order to make a correct sentence we need to know: the case, the gender of the noun and the number as well as which determiner stands before the noun. After a short analyze we can translate the sentence into German:

Adjectives: two(=zwei), black (=Schwarz, the +pl, Nom), beautiful (=schön, a +f, Dative)

Nouns:  the dogs (= Hund, pl+nom)  and a villa (=Villa, f+dative)

Verb: lived (wohnen,pl, present)

German: Die zwei schwarze Hunde wohnen in einer schönen Villa.

Below I’ve listed, which articles goes into which group as well as 3 tables showing the inflection/endings of the adjectives according to which article goes before the noun, if any.

Article-group (the/a/no article)

Der-Group (the)

  • der (definite article or demonstrative pronoun)
  • dieser
  • jeder
  • jener
  • aller
  • welcher
  • solcher
  • mancher
  • sämtlicher
  • beide (pl.)

Ein-Group (a)

  • ein
  • kein
  • mein
  • dein
  • sein
  • ihr
  • sein
  • unser
  • euer
  • ihr / Ihr

Definite article: der (the)

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative case der alte die alte das alte die alten
Accusative case den alten die alte das alte die alten
Dative case dem alten der alten dem alten den alten (*1)
Genitive case des alten (*2) der alten des alten (*2) der alten

Indefinite article: ein (a)

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative case ein alter eine alte ein altes (keine) alten(*3)
Accusative case einen alten eine alte ein altes (keine) alten(*3)
Dative case einem alten einer alten einem alten (keine) alten (*1, 3)
Genitive case eines alten(*2) einer alten einer alten(*2) (keiner) alten(*3)


No article

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative case alter alte altes alte
Accusative case alten alte altes alte
Dative case altem alter altem alten (*1)
Genitive case alten (*2) alter alten (*2) alter

More on dative and genitive

  • (*1) = In the dative plural, add an -n to the end of the noun, eg den kleinen Kindern
  • (*2) = In the genitive, add an -(e)s to the end of the noun, eg des alten Mannes
  • (*3) = kein/e/n is being used to show the plural because you can say ‘no shoes’ but not ‘a shoes’!

Copy writing

How to start…

I recently had to create text for two new homepages: Knau and Adelberg. I had a month to finish the project, which at first seemed to be plenty of time. Before I could get going on the actual writing, I had to do some research about the two brands and about white goods, to get the wordings and information right. Luckily I had the resources on hand to gather information from. Another important point to remember is finding a common thread in one’s work to make the text coherent and of cause to remember the target audience.

You always have to modify the text for the target audience. If you want to sell a product, for example a car, you must keep in mind: what is special about my car, who am I communication to, what does this  group have in common and what is important for X.

The writing process

When writing it is often a good idea to start out writing, without worrying to much about the content, just to get going. Afterwards you can become more critical and focused on the content. As I was creating text on basis of few headwords and some background information, I was bound to be creative. My first couple of attempts to create the text lacked flattering adjectives and volume. But after getting the skeleton in place, I started working on the smaller details and getting some volume in the text.

As the homepage consisted of more pages, this was an ongoing process. As well as making sure the pages didn’t overlap too much information.

The hard part was to create around 10 small similar texts describing fridges and refrigerators, so that the text differed.

The next step: Translation

After completing the text it had to be translated into English and German. Most of the text was easily translated, but you always have to take cultural differences into account. And pay attention to, how for instance a German would express him selves.

Again, remember to do research about the topic in the language you are translation into. You might know a lot in your own language, but maybe the target language has another way of expressing a certain mechanism. Plus it is always good to get the wordings right, which is best done by finding similar text.

It can also be recommended creating a corpus within the field of work. This way you have 5-10 text to compare and to get an idea, how the structure and wordings are.

Finishing up

After creating the text for one homepage in three languages I started all over on the second homepage. After doing the first homepage the second was easier to get started with. You just have to get into the way of thinking and the working process gets easier and you more efficient.

The last thing to do, before pronouncing it finished, is to proofread. It’s also recommendable to get another pair of eyes on you work, before making it public.

Of course there are more aspects to discuss, when doing copy writing and translation. Why I’ll try to get around it in the future. You are always welcome to leave a comment either about this post or if you have a good idea for a new post/topic.