Formation of degrees of comparison

EA16

 

The comparative is formed with the positive form of the adjective and the comparative suffix -er ;  the superlative is formed with the positive form of the adjective and the superlative suffix -st.

 

 
Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
Formation of the degrees of comparison
schnell
schneller
schnellst
faul
fauler
faulst
bequem
bequemer
bequemst

 

 


Many monosyllabic adjectives with the vowels a, o, u in their stem take an umlaut in the comparative and the superlative form.

 

 
Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
Umlaut
jung
jünger
jüngst
arm
ärmer
ärmst
stark
stärker
stärkst

 

 


Adjectives ending in –el: Adjectives ending in –el lose the unstressed e of the ending in the comparative, but not in the superlative.

 

 
Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
Adjectives ending in –el
dunkel
dunkler
dunkelst
flexibel
flexibler
flexibelst
irreparabel
irreparabler
irreparabelst

 

 


Adjectives ending in –er: If the stem of an adjective ends in a diphtong + er , the e of the final syllable is omitted in the comparative. This rule also applies to foreign origin words that end in an unstressed -er.

 

 
Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
Adjectives ending in –er
teuer
teurer
teuerst
makaber
makabrer
makaberst

 

 

All other German adjectives ending in an unstressed  -er oder -en can  lose the e of the stem in the comparative (not obligatory).

Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
sicher
sicherer oder sichrer
sicherst
eben
ebener oder ebner
ebenst

 

 


The unstressed –e of an adjective ending is omitted during the formation of the degrees of comparison.
 

Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
träg - träge
träger
trägst
rege
reger
regst

 

 


Monosyllabic and polysyllabic adjectives stressed in the final syllable and ending in d, t, s, sch, ß, sk, x, or z, form the superlative with –est instead of –st

 

Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
wild
wilder
wildest
weit
weiter
weitest
kraus
krauser
krausest
hübsch
hübscher
hübschest
süß
süßer
süßest
grotesk
grotesker
groteskest
komplex
komplexer
komplexest
stolz
stolzer
stolzest

 

 


Exceptions to this rule are the adjective groß, adjectives ending in –isch, adjectives that derive from the present participle or those ending in –ert, -elt or –tet and derive from the past participle.

 

Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
groß
größer
größt
neidisch
neidischer
neidischst
bedeutend
beteutender
bedeutendst
begeistert
begeisterter
begeistertst
bekümmert
bekümmerter
bekümmertst
verzweifelt
verzweifelter
verzweifeltst

 

 


Certain adjectives form the degrees of comparison irregularly.

 

Positive form
Comparative
Superlative
gut
besser
best
viel
mehr
meist
nahe
näher
nächst
hoch
höher
höchst