I wanted to say in German the following sentence:

He is a state approved male nurse.

Google translate came up with:

Er ist ein staatlich anerkannter Krankenpfleger.

I am wondering why 'staatlich' is not inflected. After attempting to understand the information on canoo.net I have concluded that 'staatlich' is an invariable adjective i.e. one that does not have comparative and superlative forms. That makes sense, but if that is true, then it should surely follow that the adjective 'anerkannt' should also remain uninflected, as there are no comparative or superlative forms of that either.

So the question is, why is 'staatlich' not inflected when 'anerkannt' is?

  • Though here it looks as if the question roots from some deeper misunderstandings of adjective inflections.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 8:26

1 Answer 1


Because "staatlich" here is actually an adverb and applies/relates to "anerkannt", not to "Krankenpflieger".

I had the same question, see "Eine schrecklich nette Familie": why? and the questions referenced from there.

  • Note that both words are in the default degree of comparison, i.e., the positive, and are not inflected in this respect. Inflection for comparison and case–gender–number inflection are two separate things.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 18:29

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