Old Norse/Adjective Declension

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In this chapter, the following concepts are explained:

  • strong declension
  • weak declension
  • present participle and comparative declension
  • comparative and superlative formation

Labial mutation (aka. u-umlaut) is marked by an L before the ending.

Front mutation (aka. i-umlaut) is marked by an F before the ending.

Just like nouns, some adjectives inject a -j- or -v- between the stem and the ending, depending on the stems of their Proto-Germanic ancestors (a-, ō-, ja-, jō-, wa- and wō-stems). The distinction between the adjectives which make either or none of the injections is not made in this page.

Strong declension[edit]

Masculine declension[edit]

Strong masculine adjective declension
case singular plural
nominative -r -ir
genitive -s, -ar -ra
dative L -um L -um
accusative -an -a

Feminine declension[edit]

Strong feminine adjective declension
case singular plural
nominative L -∅ -ar
genitive -rar -ra
dative -ri L -um
accusative -a -ar

Neuter declension[edit]

Strong neuter adjective declension
case singular plural
nominative -t L -∅
genitive -s -ra
dative L -u L -um
accusative -t L -∅

Weak declension[edit]

Masculine declension[edit]

Weak masculine adjective declension
case singular plural
nominative -i L -u
genitive -a L -u
dative -a L -um
accusative -a L -u

Feminine declension[edit]

Weak feminine adjective declension
case singular plural
nominative -a L -u
genitive -u L -u
dative -u L -um
accusative -u L -u

Neuter declension[edit]

Weak neuter adjective declension
case singular plural
nominative -a L -u
genitive -a L -u
dative -a L -um
accusative -a L -u

Present participle and comparative declension[edit]

Masculine declension[edit]

Masculine present participle and comparative declension
case singular plural
nominative -i -i
genitive -a -i
dative -a L -um
accusative -a -i

Feminine declension[edit]

Feminine present participle and comparative declension
case singular plural
nominative -i -i
genitive -i -i
dative -i L -um
accusative -i -i

Neuter declension[edit]

Neuter present participle and comparative declension
case singular plural
nominative -a -i
genitive -a -i
dative -a L -um
accusative -a -i

Comparative and superlative formation[edit]

-ari, -astr[edit]

Comparative and superlative formation with -ari, --astr
positive comparative superlative
-r -ari -astr

-ri, -str with front mutation[edit]

Comparative and superlative formation with -ri, -str and front mutation
positive comparative superlative
-r F -ri F -str

Irregularities[edit]

Some adjectives had their comparative and superlative forms based on different stems than those of their positive forms.

Comparative and superlative formed from different stems
positive comparative superlative
gamall ellri ellztr
góðr betri beztr
illr, vandr verri verstr
lítill minni minnstr
margr fleiri flestr
mikill meiri mestr

Some comparative and superlative forms developed by analogy from positive forms that were adverbs. These positive forms are indicated in parentheses, and do not exist as adjectives, but rather as adverbs.

Comparative and superlative formed from adverb positives by analogy
positive comparative superlative
(aptr) eptri epztr, aptastr
(fyrir) fyrri fyrstr
(of) øfri, efri øfstr, efstr
(út) ýtri ýztr
(austr) eystri austastr
(vestr) vestri vestastr
(norðr) norðarri norðastr
(suðr) sunnar sunnastr