As is said here, there are three types of adjectives/adverbs in German:

  1. Predicative adjectives: Der Clown ist lustig.
  2. Adverbial adjectives/adverbs: Der Clown springt lustig herum.
  3. Attributive adjectives: Er ist ein sehr lustiger Clown.

In English, some adjectives are only predicative, not attributive, for example, sick: I am sick, but not a sick man. Are there such adjectives in German?

Also, most German predicative/attributive adjectives can be used as adverbs, if it makes sense. But, probably, not all of them?

  • 3
    It’s not really three types of adjectives, but rather three different uses.
    – chirlu
    Dec 12, 2015 at 13:16
  • 2
    Sick is very much an attributive adjective in English, too. And one really should distinguish between adverbs and adjective in my opinion.
    – Jan
    Dec 12, 2015 at 21:14
  • 1
    Wasn't in old times Turkey routinely called "The sick man at the Bosporus"? Dec 14, 2015 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are lots of adjectives that are limited to one or two of these uses. In fact, most of the possible combinations exist:

  • only attributive: inner-
  • only predicative: futsch
  • only adverbial (usually called adverb): sehr
  • attributive or predicative: schwanger
  • attributive or adverbial: völlig
  • predicative or adverbial: –
  • 2
    I don't understand the first item »only attributive: inner-« Do you mean adjectives with the prefix inner-? Maybe like innerhalb?. If you mean this, then your statement is wrong. »Der Ball liegt innerhalb des Spielfelds« is adverbial usage. Maybe you want to add examples to your statements to make them more clear. Dec 13, 2015 at 9:09
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    @Hubert Schölnast: Adjectives are usually given in their form without ending (e.g. you would write blau in a list of colour adjectives, not blauer or blaue). However, for adjectives that are attributive-only, this form does not exist. In this case, it is customary – at least in texts for language learners – to give the stem of the word and use a hyphen to indicate that it is not a complete word. So what I mean is the adjective in, e.g., innerer Bereich or innere Unruhe.
    – chirlu
    Dec 13, 2015 at 20:17
  • 2
    Maybe you want to add examples to your statements to make them more clear. Dec 13, 2015 at 21:06

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