German Comparative and Superlative


Understanding the German Comparative and Superlative

 A German German comparison sentence and a German superlative can be used with an adjective or an adverb.

  • Die klügsten Kinder haben sehr gute Noten. = The smartest children have very good marks.
  • Peter rennt schneller als Paul, aber Tom rennt am schnellsten. = Peter runs faster than Paul, but Tom run the fastest.

Forming the German Comparative


It does not matter if you like to use a comparative with an adverb or an adjective. 

  • In any case an „er“ is added to the adverb or adjective.  

  • klein- kleiner = small - smaller

  • dünn - dünner = thin - thiner

All adjectives can be declined by adding er without the word „more“.

Declination of German Superlative adjectives


To decline the German superlative an „st“ or „ste“ is added to the adjective word stem.

  • Paul ist ein kleiner Junge, aber Tim ist der kleinste. = Paul is a small boy but Tim is the smallest. 

  • Sarah ist klug, aber Sabine ist die Klügste. = Sarah is smart but Sabine is the smartest. 

  • In the 2nd example the adjective became a noun. In the 1st sentence the adjective did not turn into a noun because you could repeat the referring noun after the adjective. You could say: Tim ist der kleinste Junge. Tim is the smallest boy.

Declination of  German Superlative adverbs


To build German superlative adverbs you add before the adverb the "am" and to the word stem of the adverb "sten".

  • Sarah läuft schnell, aber Lena läuft am schnellsten. = Sarah runs fast, but Lena runs the fastest. 

  • Tom spielt Basketball gut, aber Jerry spielt Basketball am besten. = Tom plays basketball well, but Jerry plays basketball the best.

By some monosyllabic German adjectives an Umlaut is added

  • groß - größer - am größten = tall - taller - the tallest

These are the most common German irregular adjectives

  • viel -  mehr - am meisten =  a lot - more - the most
  • früh eher am frühsten = early - earlier - earliest
  • gut - besser - am besten = good - better - best

You can find a more irregular Verbs on the website meindeutschbuch.



Comparison with wie and als


Wie is used in a German comparison sentence when both things are equal e.g. same amount, or same age. 

  • Paul ist so groß wie Tina. = Paul is as tall as Tina.
  • Lena ist so alt wie Sarah. =  Lena is as old as Sarah.

Als is used in an German  comparison sentence when one person or thing is more and not equal.

  • Paul ist größer als Tina. = Paul is taller than Tina.
  • Lena ist so älter als Sarah. = Lena is so older than Sarah.

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