Easy Learning German

Some other points about adjectives - Easy Learning Grammar German

1 Adjectives describing nationality

  • These are not spelt with a capital letter in German except in public or official names.
Die deutsche Sprache ist schön.The German language is beautiful.
Das französische Volk war entsetzt.The people of France were horrified.
BUT:
Die Deutsche Bahn hat Erfolg.The German railways are successful.
  • However, when these adjectives are used as nouns to refer to a language, a capital letter is used.
Sie sprechen kein Englisch.They don’t speak English.
  • In German, for expressions like he is English/he is German etc a noun or adjectival noun is used instead of an adjective.
Er ist Deutscher.He is German.
Sie ist Deutsche.She is German.

2 Adjectives taken from place names

  • These are formed by adding -er to names of towns. They never change by adding endings to show case.
Kölner, Frankfurter, Berliner etcfrom Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin etc
Der Kölner Dom ist wirklich beeindruckend.Cologne cathedral is really impressive.
Ich möchte ein Frankfurter Würstchen.I’d like a frankfurter sausage.
  • Adjectives from die Schweiz, meaning Switzerland, and some other regions can also be formed in this way.
Schweizer Käse mag ich gern.I really like Swiss cheese.
  • Adjectives like these can be used as nouns denoting the inhabitants of a town, in which case they take the same endings as normal nouns.
Die Sprache des Kölners heißt Kölsch.People from Cologne speak Kölsch.
Die Entscheidung wurde von den Frankfurtern begrüßt.People from Frankfurt welcomed the decision.
  • Note that the feminine form of such nouns is formed by adding -in in the singular and -innen in the plural.
Christine, die Londonerin war, wollte nach Glasgow ziehen.Christine, who was from London, wanted to move to Glasgow.
Key points
  • Adjectives describing nationality are not spelt with a capital letter in German except in public or official names, BUT when they are used as nouns to refer to a language, they do have a capital letter.
  • Adjectives taken from place names are formed by adding -er to the name of the town and never change by adding endings to show case.
  • They can also be used as nouns denoting the inhabitants of a place.

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