How to determine correct form of adjective?


New Member
Hello! I have a few examples:
  • het lichte kind, een licht kind
  • een vol glas en een volle tas
  • Ze wil een grote boterham.
  • Het vlees is goedkoop.
  • Ontbijt is een belangrijke maaltijd.
Firstly, I thought form of adjective depends on an article used in the sentence (een or het/de), but some sentences show that it’s wrong. Could you mention the rule that should be used to determine correct form of adjective? Thanks
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  • It depends on two factors:

    1) Whether it is the definite article or the indefinite article.
    2) The gender of the word that follows.

    Formally, there are three genders in Dutch: masculine, feminine and neutre but for this excercise you only need to know the difference between "de-words" (= masculine and feminine words) and "het-words" (neutre words).

    With the definite article ("de" or "het"), there is always an ending "e" for the adjective.

    De grote tafel ("de-word"), het grote glas ("het-word").

    With the indefinite article ("een"), only "het-words" lose the ending "e" for the adjective.

    Een grote tafel, een groot glas (de tafel, het glas)

    There are (rare) exceptions: e.g. you might encounter "een grote man ("de-word") but also "een groot man".

    "Een grote man" means that the man is tall. Een "groot man" has another, metaphorical meaning; it's a great person and it does not refer to his height. But these exceptions are rather rare.