Inflections of Adjectives

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  • When adjectives are placed before nouns, and not after, they add the ending -e. The spelling rules that affect pluralization of nouns and verb conjugations also apply when inflecting adjectives. However, the -e is not added when the adjective occurs before a neuter singular noun without an article (warm water) or a neuter singular noun preceded by een, geen, elk (each), ieder (each), menig (many a), veel (much), welk (which) or zo'n (such a). Adjectives that end in -en, as well as the adjectives linker (left) and rechter (right), do not add -e either.

    het grote huis - the large house
    de lange muur - the long wall
    mijn mooie tuin - my beautiful garden
    snelle treinen - fast trains

    een oud huis - an old house
    vers brood - fresh bread
    de houten trap - the wooden staircase
    zijn rechter oog - his right eye

    When an adjective is placed directly after iets (something), niet (nothing), veel (much), weinig (little), and wat (something), it adds the ending -s.

    iets moois - something beautiful
    niets nieuws - nothing new

    If the noun following the adjective has been mentioned before, it may be omitted. In English, "one" is used in its place, but there is no equivalent word in Dutch. Dutch simply uses the article and adjective, with the -e inflection, if it is required.

    Koop je een jurk? Ja, ik neem de blauwe. Are you buying a dress? Yes, I'll take the blue (one.)

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