The sentence I’m reading is quite long so here’s just the last part. I’m pretty sure the other part of the sentence isn’t needed to ask the question.

In the dependent clause below, I’m trying to figure out why “Ernährung” is placed where it is. Everything else makes perfect sense, but shouldn’t “Ernährung” be placed after “befriedigende”? This is taken from an old German cookbook, so I have no doubt it’s correct.

“. . . um eine gesunde, geschmacklich befriedigende, dem jeweiligen Budget angepaßte Ernährung durchzuführen.”

  • Off topic: It is visible that you are citing from an old book, indeed. The spelling of anpaßte follows the old, traditional, valid up to about 1996 orthography. Nowadays you usually would write angepasste, as the simple rule is: after a short vowel - double s, after a long vowel - Scharf-ß. Das Fass ist so nass, dass es Spaß macht, aber der Ruß am Fluss macht nur Verdruss. Just in case you are interested. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 13:06

2 Answers 2


Ernährung has three attributes here:

  • gesund
  • geschmacklich befriedigend
  • dem jeweiligen Budget angepasst

The sentence

. . . um eine [attributes] Ernährung durchzuführen.

is perfectly fine.

  • It's not just fine - the variant that OP expected would be quite wrong. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 7:49
  • In German, an adjective precedes the noun even if it has attributes. In this regard, German differs from English.
    – RHa
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 8:59

In this case (as already explained by Olafant), "Ernährung" has three descriptive attributes.

Attributes are put before the noun and usually separated by commas.


In some cases they are not separated by commas, but by words like "und", "sowie" or "als auch":

  • . . . um eine gesunde und geschmacklich befriedigende sowie dem jeweiligen Budget angepaßte Ernährung durchzuführen.

  • . . . um eine gesunde sowie geschmacklich befriedigende als auch dem jeweiligen Budget angepaßte Ernährung durchzuführen.

Sometimes, attributes are put "behind" the noun by using a dependant subclause:

Instead of

  • eine [dem jeweiligen Budget angepaßte] Ernährung

can be replaced by

  • eine Ernährung[, die dem jeweiligen Budget angepasst ist].

This can be used in combination.

  • . . . um eine gesunde, geschmacklich befriedigende Ernährung durchzuführen, die dem jeweiligen Budget angepasst ist.

  • . . . um eine dem jeweiligen Budget angepasste Ernährung durchzuführen, die sowohl gesund als auch geschmacklich befriedigend ist.

In the examples above, you could put the subclause directly behind "Ernährung", but that would be even more confusing to read.

Note: The currently correct way of spelling of "angepaßt" is "angepasst" (because the "a" is a pronounced shortly)

  • The second to last example made sense to me, I guess it's because it's more like English. But everything here cleared up my confusion. Basically the adjectives and the subclause all concern themselves with the "Ernährung" so these can all go in front of the that noun. Hopefully, I understand this correctly.
    – Jimmy
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 16:24
  • Yes, that's it exactly
    – emi-le
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 8:29

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