The dictionary lists genügend as an invariable adjective, meaning that (as I understand) it cannot be inflected.

Ich habe genügend Geld. (not genügendes Geld)

Is there a reason why this adjective is invariant? And are there other notable invariant adjectives?

3 Answers 3


As I understand it, invariable means that an adjective does not have comparative and superlative forms. That's certainly true for genügend. It does not mean that it's not inflected, as these examples show:

Er hatte eine gerade noch genügende Leistung erbracht. Ein den Bauvorschriften genügender Dachstuhl ...

In your example, it's really used as an adverb, isn't it?

Ich habe genügend Geld. Das Auto verfügt über genügend Leistungsreserven.

  • Thanks, I think you're right. By the way, what does the sentence "Das Auto verfügt über genügend Leistungsreserven." mean?
    – boaten
    Jun 7, 2014 at 17:14
  • The car has a sufficient power reserve = is sufficiently powerful for the task at hand.
    – Ingmar
    Jun 7, 2014 at 17:31

The word has it's origin in the present participle of genügen and it's spelled the same way.

Thus genügend is also the present participle of genügen. This is possibly the same with ausreichend, hinreichend and other words. These are used adjectival and also adverbial.

Dem Willen ihres Vater genügend, wurde sie Tänzerin. (present participle)
Ich habe genügend[e Mengen an] Geld dabei. (adjectival)
Die Ernte muss genügend schnell durchgeführt werden. (adverbial)


You use "genügend" (here) to describe an amount of an uncountable thing.

Ich habe genügend (viel) Geld/Milch/Schlaf/...

If the thing is countable, on the other hand, you can't use "genügend" alone. Even

Ich habe genügend viele Äpfel.

sounds weird to me (may be regional); I'd say

Ich habe hinreichend viele Äpfel.

Note that "genug" can be used in both cases.

Ich habe genug Geld.
Ich habe genug Äpfel.

(The latter may be colloquial, though.)

  • Who says that? The "cannot use it alone with countables"-part? "genügend Äpfel" yields 2000 results on Google. "genügend viele Äpfel" only 3. "genügend viele Leute"... 2000. "genügend Leute" 300.000... I think that is a pretty clear indication that it CAN and sometimes even SHOULD be used with countable nouns. -1 google.de/…
    – Emanuel
    Jun 7, 2014 at 20:48
  • @Emanuel: That only shows that people use it (cf "wegen dem Wetter"). I don't think it's correct usage but I may be wrong.
    – Raphael
    Jun 8, 2014 at 11:11
  • @Raphael... if one usage is 100 times more common than the other, I think it is the correct one, no matter what Duden or grammar books say. Maybe it was wrong once but that ship has sailed.
    – Emanuel
    Jun 8, 2014 at 20:40

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