Strong declension of adjectives

(The strong inflection of German adjectives)

Table of contents – strong declension

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Using the strong declension
  2. Declensional adjective forms
  3. Further explanations and exercises

When do adjectives require the strong declension?

Following the adjectival declension (inflection), adjectives have an antecedent, which is the specific noun they refer to. In accordance with this noun, the adjective is declined and grammatically agrees with it. However, there are different kinds of declension. In particular, the strong declension of adjectives occurs when the adjective is placed before the respective noun and no determiner, such as an article, is present. The following example sentences illustrate this feature:

  • The strong declension is applied to adjectives that stand alone – without a determiner – before the noun:
    • „Der Herbst bringt oft regnerische Tage.“ (Autumn often brings rainy days.)
      • The noun ‘Tage’ (days) is masculine, plural, and in the accusative case.
    • Regelmäßiger Sport hält fit.“ (Regular exercise keeps you fit.)
      • masculine noun ‘Sport’ (exercise), singular, nominative case
    • „Benni, der Hund, frisst gerne rohe Eier.“ (Benni the dog likes to eat raw eggs.)
      • neuter noun ‘Eier’ (eggs), plural, accusative case

How do adjectives follow the strong declension?

If adjectives appear alone – i.e., without a determiner – in front of the noun, they are inflected, in particular, declined the strong way. Compare the forms in the tables below:

  • Information: Choosing the correct case is essential for the strong declension. If you have difficulty deciding whether to use the nominative, genitive, dative or accusative case, read How to determine the grammatical cases. There you will also find the necessary questions to make the identification easier.


Grammatical case With masculine noun With feminine noun With neuter noun
Nominative schneller Schritt (quick step) tiefe Stimme (low voice) neues Auto (new car)
Genitive schnellen Schrittes tiefer Stimme neuen Autos
Dative schnellem Schritt tiefer Stimme neuem Auto
Accusative schnellen Schritt tiefe Stimme neues Auto


Note that the suffix (ending) varies merely in the grammatical cases. For all three genders, however, the suffixes remain the same.

Grammatical case With masculine noun With feminine noun With neuter noun
Nominative schnelle Schritte (quick steps) tiefe Stimmen (low voices) neue Autos (new cars)
Genitive schneller Schritte tiefer Stimmen neuer Autos
Dative schnellen Schritten tiefen Stimmen neuen Autos
Accusative schnelle Schritte tiefe Stimmen neue Autos

Further explanations related to the ‘Strong declension of adjectives’

The following explanations refer to the topic ‘Strong declension of German adjectives’ and might be interesting as well: