5. Further Advice Regarding Extended Adjective Constructions

Despite its length, an extended adjective construction is no different from a regular adjective: it appears before a noun and has the appropriate adjectival ending. If it appears in a series of adjectives then it will usually be separated from other adjectives (or extended adjective constructions!) by a comma:

ein in Stuttgart gebautes, deutsches Auto
a German car built in Stuttgart

das in Frankfurt stehende, von dem berühmten Architekten entworfene Gebäude
the building which was designed by the famous architect and is situated in Frankfurt

Occasionally an extended adjective construction will appear within another extended adjective:

das von dem in Frankfurt wohnenden Architekten entworfene Gebäude
the building designed by the architect who lives in Frankfurt

The outermost extended adjective construction modifies Gebäude: das von . . . Architekten entworfene Gebäude. The inner construction modifes Architekten: dem in Frankfurt wohnenden Architekten. Then we begin to translate in the following order:

the +  
building +  
designed +  
von dem Architekten
by the architect +  
living +  
in Frankfurt
in Frankfurt

In other words we do not read in a straight line but rather we move from beginning to end and then backwards, quite the opposite of what we would do in English. And when these constructions are nested inside each other, we read from the outermost to the innermost.

Although you may find these constructions frustrating at first, as you gain comfort via practice, you will come to appreciate how efficiently they allow complex relationships to be communicated.

Last revised on October 6, 2014.