Weak declension of adjectives

(The weak inflection of German adjectives)

Table of contents – weak declension

On this page you will find the following:

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

When do adjectives follow the weak declension?

Adjectives are inflected according to the weak declension (besides the strong type) when they appear in front of a noun. In detail, this type of inflection happens when a specific determiner (as listed below) is additionally used before an adjective followed by a noun. Compare:

  • Note the use of the weak adjective declension with the following determiners:
    • der (the), die (the), das (the)
      • These are the definite articles.
    • derselbe (the same), dieser (this), jeder (each), jener (that), mancher (some), welcher (which)
    • alle (all), sämtliche (all), beide (both)
    • keine (no)
      • Not in the singular after ‘kein’. In this case, the mixed declension takes place.
  • Some example sentences of adjectives weakly declined:
    • Dieses heruntergekommene Gebäude ist einsturzgefährdet.“ (This rundown building is in danger of collapsing.)
      • neuter noun, singular, nominative
    • „Ich höre von ihm immer nur dieselbe alte Leier.“ (All I ever hear from him is the same old song.)
      • feminine noun, singular, accusative
    • „Sie räumte auf und sagte, es müssten sämtliche alten Sachen raus!“ (She was tidying up and said she wanted to get rid of all the old stuff.)
      • feminine noun, plural, nominative
    • Alle großen Bäume hier müssen gefällt werden.“ (All the big trees here must be cut down.)
      • masculine noun, plural, nominative

How do adjectives follow the weak declension?

If adjectives occur together with one of the determinersder, dieser, jeder, mancher, welcher, derselbe, jener’ or ‘alle, sämtliche, beide, keinebefore a noun, they follow the weak declension in the singular. Compare the forms in the tables below:

  • Information: Choosing the correct case is required for the weak inflection. 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.

Singular

Grammatical case With masculine noun With feminine noun With neuter noun
Nominative jeder schnelle Schritt (every quick step) diese tiefe Stimme (this low voice) jenes neue Auto (that new car)
Genitive jedes schnellen Schrittes dieser tiefen Stimme jenes neuen Autos
Dative jedem schnellen Schritt dieser tiefen Stimme jenem neuen Auto
Accusative jeden schnellen Schritt diese tiefe Stimme jenes neue Auto

Plural

The forms and suffixes in the plural are much less complicated. They end in ‘-en’ in all grammatical cases and genders.

Grammatical case With masculine noun With feminine noun With neuter noun
Nominative jede schnellen Schritte (all quick steps) diese tiefen Stimmen (these low voices) jene neuen Autos (those new cars)
Genitive jeder schnellen Schritte dieser tiefen Stimmen jener neuen Autos
Dative jeden schnellen Schritten diesen tiefen Stimmen jenen neuen Autos
Accusative jede schnellen Schritte diese tiefen Stimmen jene neuen Autos

Further explanations related to the ‘Weak declension of adjectives’

The following explanations refer to the topic ‘Weak declension of German adjectives’ and may also help you: