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A question about using colours in German


I wrote some simple sentences describing objects in German. So far, in my studies I had only used a colour at the end of a sentence. For example Das Auto ist gelb. Die Handtasche ist schwarz.

In today's exercise I tried to use colours another way. I wrote Das ist ein gelb Auto, es ist keine rot Auto and Dies sind orange Blumen. There were a few others but I wont list them all.

All of the sentences got corrected. The corrector changed them to Das ist ein gelbes Auto, es ist keine rotes Auto, Dies sind orangene Blumen.

What is going on with the endings here? Are there rules about how to change colours? I noticed that gelb and rot had es added, but orange had ne added instead.

More interestingly 'Dies sind nicht lila blumen' was marked as correct. Why does 'lila' not change but the others do?.

For learning: German
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    When you use the colors in this manner they become declined as adjectives. The adjective in german when used this way declines into the same gender and number as the noun they are describing.

    In your examples Auto is neutral singular, the adjectives in neutral singular (nominative) end in -es,hence gelb-es Auto/ rot-es Auto. It would do the same if instead of saying a color you said simply that it was a big (groß) car: groß-es Auto.

    Blumen are plural so the adjective ends in -en: orang-en Blumen /schön-en Blumen.

    Lila however is an exception, this color doesn't decline at all and that's why it wasn't corrected.

    Here's what the book 'German Grammar', by Dr. Paul G. Grades, says about declensions:

    If an adjective is preceded by words like der (the), dieser (this), jeder (each), welcher (which), solcher (such) or all(er) (all), it takes "weak" endings:

    If an adjective is not preceded by any of the words mentioned above, it takes "strong" endings. Adjectives preceded by indefinite pronouns or numerals take strong endings. EXCEPTION: when using keine and alle, the adjective following these indefinite expressions take weak endings.

    If an adjective is preceded by words like ein (a, one), mein (my, mine), sein (his), ihr (her) kein (no, none), unser (our) or euer (your), it takes "mixed" endings.

    There are three neat tables in the book for each type of ending. You might want to make a some tables yourself to refer to.
    Weak endings:
    Nominative Singular -e
    Accusative Masculine Singular -en
    Accusative Feminine or Neuter Singular -e
    Dative (all) -en
    Genetive (all) -en
    All plurals -en

    Strong endings:
    Nominative Masculine Singular -er
    Nominative or Accusative Feminine Singular -e
    Nominative or Accusative Neuter Singular -es
    Nominative or Singular Plural -e
    Dative Masculine Singular -em
    Dative or Genetive Feminine Singular -er
    Dative Neuter Singular -em
    Dative Plural -en
    Genetive Masculine Singular -en
    Genetive Neuter Singular -en
    Genetive Plural -er

    Mixed Endings:
    Nominative and Accusative singular are the same as their strong endings.
    All plurals, as well as everything in dative and genitive, take their weak endings.

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