German Grammar Explained /

Forming adjectives

German is well known for building compound words, and this is also the case for adjectives.
You can combine several different words to build a new adjective much like you could experiment with different ingredients when cooking! The outcome of these combinations is then known as a composition (“Komposition”)
There are a few standard ways to do this, let's call them recipes :)
Recipe 1:
The simplest recipe is to combine two adjectives. adjective + adjective. In English, the result might be achieved by using the two adjectives separately or in some cases joining them by using a hyphen. In German the result is a new compound adjective.
adjective
adjective
new adjective
hell bright
rot red
hellrot bright red
alt old
modisch "fashionable"
altmodisch old fashioned
süß sweet
sauer sour
süßsauer "sweet sour"
Recipe 2:
We can also combine adjectives with other words that are not adjectives. This is commonly known as a “derivation” (Ableitung).
To do this, we need a new ingredient: a prefix.
prefix
adjective
new adjective
ur "pre"
alt old
uralt ancient
un un (negation)
höflich polite/courteous
unhöflich rude/uncourteous
über over
qualifiziert qualified
überqualifiziert overqualified
Recipe 3:
We can also modify nouns or verbs to make them into adjectives. To do so, we need a suffix. There are various common suffixes to do this, but you don't need to know all of them, of course! The best way to go about this is to learn each adjective as you need it. In many cases, the results are very close to theri English "cousins".
Here are a couple of examples of how you might turn a noun into an adjective:
noun
suffix
new adjective
Glück happiness
lich
glücklich happy
Witz joke
ig
witzig funny
Kind child
isch
kindisch childish
And for verbs:
verb
suffix
new adjective
misstrauen to mistrust
isch
misstrauisch wary
tolerieren to tolerate
ant
tolerant tolerant
essen to eat
bar
essbar edible
Adjectives are good fun! Be creative and try to combine two adjectives together or make one out of a noun or a verb. You'll soon be able to do it using awesome words such as blitzschnell (lightning fast) or fehlerfrei (error free) ! :D