Are first and last superlatives


There are three forms of accentuation of the adjective in German: the positive (Basic form), the comparative(1st increase) and the superlative (2nd increase). The superlative is the highest form of accent in the part of speech. The comparative compares two things (X is greater than Y), whereby the superlative compares a thing with several things or the whole and forms the highest level (Z is the largest).


The term goes to the Latin gradus superlativus back and means when comparing adjectives the third, i.e. highest degree. As a comparison that differs from the Latin compare(~ compare) derives, in linguistics the increase in adjectives is called. To illustrate this, let's take a look at the increase in the irregular adjective large.

Jonas is tall (1.80m). Peter is taller (1.87m). Walther is the tallest (1.94m).

The above example shows the three forms of comparison. The basic form, i.e. the positive, is large. The positive is always used when the adjective is used without a degree. The comparative is the higher level, i.e. the first increase, of the adjective. Using a comparative, it can now be expressed that two adjectives are not equal to one another: namely, Peter is greater as Jonas.

The superlative is the last link in the above example and when increasing the adjective. The superlative indicates that a thing (Person, issue, object) has the highest possible degree of a property or characteristic when compared to other things. In this case it is Walther the biggest and therefore of course greater as Jonas and Peter. So there is nothing that beats this quality.

Note: The possible increase in the adjective in German is therefore tripartite. Incidentally, the stylistic device of the climax is often built according to this scheme, whereas the anticlimax is based on a reduction.

Education: Comparative and superlative

The two forms of enhancement are formed differently. Nevertheless, comparative and superlative are almost always formed in the same way. However, there are some exceptions and special features.

The comparative arises if to the basic form of the adjective a -he is set. As a rule, the comparative is used with a as educated. It is important here that the comparative is always declined if it is immediately in front of a reference noun (1). If this is not the case, it is not declined either (2).

(1)There is nice hereereTrees than in the hardware store.
(2)Flowers are beautifulhe than trees.

In the example sentences above the comparative stands directly in front of the noun and in the second sentence there is another word in between. As a result, will more beautiful not declined in the second sentence, but already in the first sentence and therefore has to follow the case(Case) and the number(Number) adjust the noun.

The superlative can with at the or that certain articles be initiated. Will he be with a at the formed, one attaches to the basic form of the adjective sten, becomes the superlative with the certain articles formed, adjective ending follows dir ste.

(1)Peter is beautifulsten.
(2)Peter is beautifulste Man.

The example sentences above illustrate the superlative education. In the first sentence, the maximum form is given with the help of the word at the formed, which is why the ending of the adjective sten is, whereas the second sentence is the superlative by the definite article (the) initiates. Here is the adjective ending ste.

Comparison of the adjectiveregularlyirregular
positive(Basic level)beautifulWell
comparative(1st increase)beautifulhebetterhe
superlative(2nd increase)most beautifulstenon besten

Irregular adjectives and exceptions

However, the described rules of comparative and superlative have a few exceptions. These concern irregular adjectives; Adjectives that point to d / t or s / ß / x / z end up; monosyllabic adjectives and also that e with an unstable adjective ending. These exceptions are now considered.

(1) Adjectives starting with the lettersd / t or s / ß / x / z end, form the top form (Superlative) mostly with the adjective ending est(Ex .: fat - fatter - fattest, nice - nicer - nicest). The additional e serves as a pronunciation aid.

(2) Some adjectives form superlatives and comparatives with an umlaut. Very often this applies to monosyllabic adjectives. Here the vowel of the basic form changes into an umlaut (Ex .: cold - colder - coldest; smart - smarter - smartest).

(3) Ends the basic form of the adjective el or evil and is also unstressed, this is not applicable e in the formation of the comparative. However, it remains in top form (Ex .: noble - nobler - most noble). This does not apply if the ending is stressed or the adjective is on ell ends (E.g .: current - current - most current).

(4) There are also adjectives that are irregular. The comparative and the superlative simply have to be learned here, since the rules presented are applicable, but the basic form of the adjective changes.

irregular adjectives (Selection)
highhigherthe highest
closecloserthe next
muchverythe most
largegreaterthe biggest

Use: attributive, predicative and adverbial

The increments of the adjective can be used attribute, predicative and adverbial. The form and the position of the comparative and superlative must be adapted from time to time.

When using an adjective as an attribute it refers to a noun and stands between the article and the noun itself. It has to refer to the case (Case) and the number (Number) adjust the noun. The increase will be off Basic form + ending of the increasing form + declination educated. The maximum form is always formed with the help of the specific article.

the beautiful dog - the beautifulere Dog - the beautiful oneste dog
a beautiful dog - a beautifulerer Dog - the beautiful oneste dog

Adverbial adjectives (AA), which come after a verb, always form their superlative with at the. Predicative adjectives (PA), so adjectives after be / stay / become, can be in top form with at the and also form with the definite article.

(AA)pretty - prettier - prettiest
(AP)This pasture is the most beautiful.
(AP)This pasture is the most beautiful.
Brief overview: The most important thing about the superlative at a glance
  • The superlative is the highest increase in an adjective. It is thus expressed that there is nothing that surpasses this quality. The basic form of the adjective is called positive, the first increase is called comparative.
  • The superlative is with the word at the or the specific article. Will he be with a at the formed, one attaches to the basic form of the adjective sten, will be in top form with the certain articles formed, adjective ending follows dir ste.

  • Note: However, there are a few exceptions to the rules of superlative education. These can be found in the article. There are also irregular increases.