If I have two nouns, one feminine and one neuter, can I describe them with the same adjective, inflected to fit with the first of the two?

In my current translation project I have this clause:

The smell of burnt coal and flesh is in the air

From context it is clear that both the coal and the meat are burnt, so the adjective should modify both nouns. I am thinking of translating it as:

Der Geruch verbrannter Kohle und Fleisch liegt in der Luft

But the adjective "verbrannter" is genitive feminine singular to fit with "Kohle", whereas to apply to "Fleisch," it would have to be "verbranntes," and Fleisch would have to be Fleisches. Can I still write it this way, or should it be:

Der Geruch verbrannter Kohle und verbranntes Fleisches liegt in der Luft

  • 5
    It must be Der Geruch verbrannter Kohle und verbrannten Fleisches liegt in der Luft. — The strong adjective ending for genitive singular masculine and neuter is -en, not -es. (This is likely because of that extra genitive -(e)s on the noun. The adjective is handled as if it was weak.)
    – Janka
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


No, you can't. The adjectives have to be identical.
Note that this is relating solely to adjectives. About other parts of speech, there are other rules when to leave something out. Duden Grammar 2009, nr.1420 p.903

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