Revision: comparative and superlative adjectives

Adjectives and some adverbs can take different forms that express a higher degree or the highest degree of a characteristic. People and things can be compared in this way. There are three levels of comparison:

The positive is the basic form of the adjective and describes a characteristic.

Eine kleine Wohnung ist billig.

The comparative compares people or things in terms of this characteristic. It expresses that someone or something possesses a quality to a higher degree.

Ein Zimmer in einer WG ist billiger.

The superlative expresses that someone or something possesses the highest degree of a quality.

Ein Zimmer bei den Eltern ist am billigsten.


Regular comparative forms

We create regular comparative forms like this:

Positive: basic form (e.g. billig)
Comparative: adjective + -er (e.g. billiger)
Superlative: am + adjective +-sten (e.g. am billigsten)


Comparative forms with umlaut

Single-syllable adjectives with the vowel a, o or u usually have an umlaut in the comparative and superlative. The adjective gesund also belongs to this group even though it has two syllables.

Form Example





Superlative: am wärmsten


Superlatives ending in -esten

If the adjective ends in -t, -d, -s, -z, , -sch or -x, the ending in the superlative is -esten. It is easier to pronounce the word because of the added e.


Form Example


Comparative: älter
Superlative:  am ältesten



Grammatical terms in German:

Positiv: The positive is the basic form of the adjective. It describes characteristics of people or things, e.g. schnell, warm, gut.

Komparativ: The comparative is the form of the adjective used to express a difference, e.g. schneller, wärmer, besser.

Superlativ: The superlative is the highest form of the adjective. This form expresses that a person or thing possesses the highest level of a quality, e.g. am schnellsten, am wärmsten, am besten.