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Adjective Endings II
Accusative/Dative

Also see > The Four German Cases

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Nominative Endings > Accusative/Dative Ending

The following chart shows the adjective endings for the accusative and dative cases with the definite articles (der, dem, der) and the indefinite articles (einen, einem, einer, keinen). The nominative case endings were previously outlined in Part I. The adjective endings for the genitive case follow the same pattern as the dative. (For more, see A Closer Look at the Genitive Case.)

Accusative Case (Direct Object)
Masculine
den
Feminine
die
Neuter
das
Plural
die
den neuen Wagen
the new car
die schöne Stadt
the beautiful city
das alte Auto
the old car
die neuen Bücher
the new books
Masculine
einen
Feminine
eine
Neuter
ein
Plural
keine
einen neuen Wagen
a new car
eine schöne Stadt
a beautiful city
ein altes Auto
an old car
keine neuen Bücher
no new books
Dative Case (Indirect Object)
Masculine
dem
Feminine
der
Neuter
dem
Plural
den
dem netten Mann
(to) the nice man
der schönen Frau
(to) the beautiful woman
dem netten Mädchen
(to) the nice girl
den anderen Leuten*
(to) the other people
Masculine
einem
Feminine
einer
Neuter
einem
Plural
keinen
einem netten Mann
(to) a nice man
einer schönen Frau
(to) a beautiful woman
einem netten Mädchen
(to) a nice girl
keinen anderen Leuten*
(to) no other people
*Plural nouns in the dative add an -n or -en ending if the plural form does not already end in -(e)n.

NOTE: The adjective endings in the Genitive Case are the same as in the DATIVE - all -en!

Also see: Adjective Endings I (Nominative)

As we saw earlier in Part I (Nominative), an adjective that precedes a noun must have an ending--at least an -e. Also notice that the endings shown here in the ACCUSATIVE (direct object) case are identical to those in the NOMINATIVE (subject) case--with the sole exception of the masculine gender (der/den). The masculine gender is the only one that looks any different when the case changes from nominative (der) to accusative (den).

In the sentence "Der blaue Wagen ist neu," the subject is der Wagen and der Wagen is nominative. But if we say "Ich kaufe den blauen Wagen." ("I'm buying the blue car."), then "der Wagen" changes to "den Wagen" as the accusative object. The adjective ending rule here is: in the accusative case with the definite article (the/den, die, das) the adjective ending is always -en for the masculine (den) form. But it remains -e for die or das. So we would get "...den blauen Wagen..." (...the blue car...), but "...die blaue Tür.." (the blue door), or "...das blaue Buch..." (the blue book).

When the adjective is used with an ein-word (einen, dein, keine, etc.), the accusative adjective ending must reflect the gender and case of the noun that follows. The adjective endings -en, -e, and -es correspond to the articles den, die, and das respectively (masc., fem., and neuter). Once you notice the parallel and the agreement of the letters n, e, s with den, die, das, it makes the process a little clearer.

NOT SURE ABOUT THE GRAMMAR TERMS?
German Grammar Glossary
German grammar terms explained in plain English.

Many German learners find the DATIVE (indirect object) case to be intimidating, but when it comes to adjective endings in the dative, it couldn't be more simple. The ending is ALWAYS -en! That's it! And this simple rule applies to adjectives used with either the definite or indefinte articles (and ein-words).

If you need more help, see Udo Klinger's Deklination von Adjektiven (in German only).

As we mentioned in Part I, this is another illustration of why it is important to learn the gender of nouns in German. If you don't know that Wagen is masculine (der), then you won't be able to say (or write) "Er hat einen neuen Wagen." ("He has a new car.")


Related Pages

Adjective Endings - Exercises
Test yourself on how well you have learned the German adjective endings.

Adjective Endings I (Nominative)

German for Beginners Course - Adjectives and Colors
Lesson 5 in our online course for German.

The Four German Cases
Detailed charts and information concerning the nominative, accusative, dative and genitive cases in German.

Gender Hints
A popular feature with tips on learning the der, die, das of German nouns.

German Grammar Glossary
German grammar terms explained in plain English.

More German Grammar


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