Comparative and superlative forms of adjectives


Adjectives are frequently used in the comparative and superlative form. The comparative form is constructed by adding -er while the superlative is formed with am + -sten.

billig → billiger → am billigsten
klein → kleiner → am kleinsten

Note that most monosyllabic adjectives with the stem vowel a, o or u also take an umlaut in both forms:

warm → wärmer → am wärmsten
jung → jünger → am jüngsten

When appearing after a noun the comparative and superlative form don’t take any additional endings:

Ist die Tasche billiger?
Is that bag cheaper?
Mein Computer war am billigsten.
My computer was the cheapest.

When both forms appear directly in front of a noun they take the same endings as all adjectives. Note that in the superlative ‘am’ is omitted:
Ich habe einen jüngeren Bruder. (indef. art., acc., masc.)
I have got a younger brother .
Er nahm das kleinste Stück. (def. art., acc., nom., neuter.)
He took the smallest piece.

Spelling variations and irregular forms

Note the following spelling variations:

• In the comparative form adjectives ending in -el drop the -e, while adjectives ending in -er, drop the -e after -au and -eu: dunkel – dunkler – am dunkelsten, teuer – teurer – am teuersten.
• Adjectives ending in -d, -t, -sch, -haft, -s, -ß, -x and -z usually insert an extra -e in the superlative: gesund – gesünder – am gesündesten, interessant – interessanter – am interessantesten.
• hoch, groß and nah change their forms as follows: hoch – höher – am höchsten, groß – größer – am größten, nah – näher – am nächsten.
• gut and viel have quite irregular forms: gut – besser – am besten, viel – mehr – am meisten.