BACK TO GRAMMAR WORKSHEETS
Handout: Wortbildung

Noun Suffixes:

-heit and -keit: used to form a noun from an adjective, like English -ness (politeness, etc.). -heit is the standard form, -keit is used when the adjective has a suffix already on it, such as -lich or -ig. All nouns ending in -heit or -keit are feminine.

beautifulschön   die Schönheit                      beauty                      
sickkrank__________________________________________________
friendlyfreundlich__________________________________________________
safe, secure___________________   die Sicherheit                  _______________________
difficultschwierig__________________________________________________
darkdunkel__________________________________________________
healthygesund__________________________________________________
true___________________   die Wahrheit                   _______________________
activetätig__________________________________________________
moremehr__________________________________________________
freefrei__________________________________________________
possiblemöglich__________________________________________________
clearklar__________________________________________________
importantwichtig__________________________________________________
wise___________________   die Weisheit                    _______________________
masculinemännlich__________________________________________________


-ung: used to form a noun from a verb, comparable to English -ing or -ion. All nouns ending in -ung are feminine.

to testprüfen   die Prüfung                         testing, test             
to heatheizen__________________________________________________
to hurt, injure___________________   die Verletzung                 _______________________
to applybewerben__________________________________________________
to read aloudvorlesen__________________________________________________
to decide___________________   die Entscheidung              _______________________
to leadführen__________________________________________________
to live, dwellwohnen__________________________________________________
to explainerklären__________________________________________________
to openöffnen__________________________________________________
to pay___________________   die Zahlung                      _______________________


-schaft: forms a noun from another noun, comparable to English -ship or -hood. Always feminine.

friendder Freund   die Freundschaft                 friendship                 
brotherder Bruder__________________________________________________
member___________________   die Mitgliedschaft            _______________________
neighborder Nachbar__________________________________________________
landdas Land__________________________________________________
fatherder Vater__________________________________________________


-lein and -chen: diminutive suffixes, which make the given nouns seem smaller. Always neuter.

womandie Frau   das Fräulein                        ‘little lady’, miss        
house___________________   das Häuschen                   _______________________
brother___________________   das Brüderchen                   little brother             
maidendie Magd___________________________   girl                           
birdder Vogel__________________________________________________
child___________________   das Kindlein                        little kid                   


Other Noun Forms:

The infinitive forms of verbs can be used as nouns in many cases. We do this in English with the -ing forms of verbs (His writing is excellent, etc.). When used this way, verbs functioning as nouns are always neuter:

das Sprechen        das Rennen        das Leben        das Sehen        das Reiten        das Schreiben


Many nouns bear obvious similarities to verbs you already know. There’s no direct pattern to discern here, but see if you can determine what these nouns mean and which verbs they’re related to.

der Stand   stehen                             a stand or standing     
der Fall________________________________________________
der Verdienst________________________________________________
die Suche________________________________________________
der Verkauf_________________________   a sale                       
der Flug________________________________________________
das Geschenk________________________________________________
die Rede________________________________________________
die Tat_________________________   a deed or action         
der Sprung________________________________________________


Verb Formation:

One very common inseparable prefix for German verbs is ver-. Quite often, though not always, verbs with ver- have been formed from an adjective, especially in the comparative form.

beautifulschönverschönern   to beautify                
betterbesserverbessern_______________________
long___________________verlängern_______________________
shortkurzverkürzern_______________________
big___________________vergrößern_______________________
small___________________verkleinern_______________________


Occasionally, the same thing will happen using the prefix er- instead of ver-.

coldkalterkälten   to make/catch cold     
brighthellerhellen_______________________
high___________________erhöhen_______________________
new___________________erneuern_______________________


Adjective Formation:

-lich: many adjectives are built from nouns (and occasionally verbs) using the suffix -lich. Unlike English, where -ly usually indicates an adverb, in German -lich is always an adjective (or rather, remember that there is no distinction between adjectives and adverbs in German).

friendder Freundfreundlich   friendly                    
humander Mensch__________________________________________
to hope___________________hoffentlich   hopeful(ly)                 
festival___________________festlich_______________________
dangerdie Gefahrgefährlich_______________________
essencedas Wesenwesentlich_______________________
primary thingdie Hauptsachehauptsächlich_______________________


BACK TO GRAMMAR WORKSHEETS