Turning adjectives into nouns

Understanding grammar is key to understanding a language.
German grammar tips with Wunderbla, online German lessons.

Turning adjectives into nouns

Reminder: In German, adjectives start with a lower case letter, while all nouns start with a capital letter.

Das Hotel ist alt. 

The hotel is old.

You can turn adjectives into nouns. These start with a capital letter.

Das Leben ist schön. (schön = Adjektiv)

Life is beautiful. (schön (beautiful) = adjective)

Das Schöne im Leben (das Schöne = Nomen)

The beauty of life (das Schöne (beauty)= noun)

The adjective becomes a noun when it comes immediately after an article (der, die, das, etc.) and there is no noun immediately after it.

das gute Leben aber das Gute im Leben

the good life / the good things in life

It is especially common to turn adjectives into nouns after words like etwas (something), nichts (nothing), wenig (few) and viel (lots).

etwas Altes, etwas Neues und etwas Blaues

something old, something new and something blue

im Westen nichts Neues

All Quiet on the Western Front (literally "nothing new in the west")

viel Gutes und wenig Schlechtes

lots of good things, few bad things


  • You have to add an ‑es ending to nouns created from adjectives after the words etwas (something), nichts (nothing), wenig, (few) or viel (lots).

Ich lerne viel Neues.

I'm learning lots of new things.

  • In all other cases the same rules apply as for adjective endings.

Neues planen

to plan something new

vor Neuem Angst haben

to be afraid of new things

Taking your learning further

Still facing difficulties with 'Turning adjectives into nouns'? Improve your German with Wunderbla - try our German lessons for free now and receive a free level assessment!

Do you know any tips to avoid making mistakes with 'Turning adjectives into nouns'? Share it with us!

Improve your German further and test Wunderbla, online German lessons.