Easy Learning German

Comparatives of adjectives - Easy Learning Grammar German

What is a comparative adjective?
A comparative adjective in English is one with -er added to it or more or less in front of it, that is used to compare people or things, for example, slower, more beautiful.
  • In German, to say that something is easier, more expensive and so on, you add -er to the simple form of most adjectives.
einfacheinfacher
Das war viel einfacher für dich.That was much easier for you.
  • Note that adjectives whose simple form ends in -en or -er may drop the final -e to form the comparative, as in teurer.
teuerteurer
Diese Jacke ist teurer.This jacket is more expensive.
  • To introduce the person or thing you are making the comparison with, use als (meaning than).
Er ist kleiner als seine Schwester.He is smaller than his sister.
Diese Frage ist einfacher als die erste.This question is easier than the first one.
  • To say that something or someone is as … as something or someone else, you use so … wie or genauso … wie, if you want to make it more emphatic. To say not as … as, you use nicht so … wie.
Sie ist so gut wie ihr Bruder.She is as good as her brother.
Er war genauso glücklich wie ich.He was just as happy as I was.
Sie ist nicht so alt wie du.She is not as old as you.
  • Here are some examples of commonly used adjectives which have a vowel change in the comparative form:
AdjectiveMeaningComparativeMeaning
altoldälterolder
starkstrongstärkerstronger
schwachweakschwächerweaker
scharfsharpschärfersharper
langlonglängerlonger
kurzshortkürzershorter
warmwarmwärmerwarmer
kaltcoldkältercolder
harthardhärterharder
großbiggrößerbigger
  • Adjectives whose simple form ends in -el lose the -e before adding the comparative ending -er.
eiteleitlervain → vainer
Er ist eitler als ich.He is vainer than me.
dunkeldunklerdark → darker
Deine Haare sind dunkler als ihre.Your hair is darker than hers.
  • When used before the noun, comparative forms of adjectives take the same weak, strong or mixed endings as their simple forms.
Die jüngere Schwester ist größer als die ältere.The younger sister is bigger than the older one.
Mein jüngerer Bruder geht jetzt zur Schule.My younger brother goes to school now.
Grammar Extra!
  • With a few adjectives, comparative forms may also be used to translate the idea of -ish or rather …
ComparativeMeaning
älterelderly
dünnerthinnish
dickerfattish
größerlargish
jüngeryoungish
kleinersmallish
kürzershortish
neuernewish
 
Eine ältere Frau kam die Straße entlang.An elderly woman was coming along the street.
Er war von jüngerem Aussehen.He was of youngish appearance.
Key points
  • In German, to form the comparative you add -er to the simple form of most adjectives.
  • To compare people or things in German, you use so … wie, genauso … wie, if you want to make it more emphatic, or nicht so … wie.
  • Than in comparatives corresponds to als.
  • There is a change in the vowel in many of the simple forms of German adjectives when forming their comparatives.
  • Adjectives whose simple form ends in -el, such as dunkel, lose the -e before adding the comparative ending -er.

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