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Comparing Things


There are three ways to compare things in German:

When they are equal: (No marker on adjective)

Er ist so groß wie ich. He is as tall as I (am).
Sie läuft so schnell wie er. She runs as fast as he (does).

(Note: the noun following "wie" is nominative)

When they are not equal: (Marker "-er" on adjective, as in English)

Note: Comparative forms get umlauts if the adjective is one-syllable

Er ist intelligenter als ich. He is more intelligent than I (am).
Mein VW fährt schneller als dein Mercedes. My VW goes faster than your Mercedes.

(Note: the noun following "als" is nominative case!)

When one is the "most" something (Marker "-st + ending" on adjective)

Note: Superlative forms get umlauts if the adjective is one-syllable:):

Meine Mutter ist am schönsten. My mother is most beautiful.
Dein VW fährt am schnellsten. Your VW goes fastest.

NOTE: the "am + ___ -sten" form only works as an adverb or in cases where the normal form of the adjective would have NO ENDING:

The endings -ER and -(E)ST are NOT adjective endings, they are MARKERS for comparative forms. Adjectives with these markers may ALSO have adjective endings if they are followed by a noun (-st always has an ending):

As with regular adjective, superlative and comparative adjectives take ADJECTIVE ENDINGS if they occur in front of the noun that they modify:

Ich fahre mit dem schnelleren Auto. I drive with the faster car.
Jutta ist die schönste Frau der Welt. Jutte is the most beautiful woman in the world.
Wer ist der älteste Mann am Tisch? Who is the oldest bloke at the table?


Note: There are several irregular comparatives you have to memorize:
Positive Comp Superl. Translation
gut besser am besten good, better, best
hoch höher am höchsten high, higher, highest
nah näher am nächsten near, nearer, nearest/next
viel mehr am meisten a lot, more, most
gern lieber am liebsten gladly, preferably, most preferably

Copyright © 2017 Will Lehman. All artwork copyright © 2017 Milo Schuman.