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2.9: Adjectival Nouns

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    Many adjectives, particularly those expressing abstract ideas, can be formed into neuter nouns according to the pattern which follows below. These adjectival nouns get modified by adverbs rather than by adjectives, in agreement with the normal relationship of adverbs to adjectives, including adverbial usages of words such as viel (much) and nichts (nothing).

    nichts Gutes nothing that (is / was) good
    viel Interessantes (much / a lot) that (is / was) interesting
    wenig Schönes little that (is / was) (beautiful / pretty / nice)
    etwas Neues something that (is / was) new

    The original adjectives, “gut,” “interessant,” “schön,” and “neu”, are capitalized and appear (for our current purposes) with an –es ending. By Unit 4 you’ll learn to recognize the other endings these adjectival nouns will get when they’re used in genitive and dative cases. Just remember that adjectival nouns are spelled – and take their own modifiers – as if they were modifying some (absent) neuter noun, but otherwise they function as that neuter noun.

    This page titled 2.9: Adjectival Nouns is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Howard Martin revised by Alan Ng.

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