The weak form of an adjective is used when the adjective is preceded by a demonstrative pronoun, such as 'se' or 'þes', or the possessive pronouns 'min', 'þin', 'ure', 'eower'. For example, 'se goda mann geaf to me hund – the good man gave a dog to me' or 'heo lufaþ ure godan hundas - she loves our good dogs'.
Weak adjectives are considered grammatically weak as they have comparatively few suffixes compared to strong adjectives. In the table below, you will find the declensions for 'god - good', 'halig - holy', 'heah - high' and 'wis - wise'. Notice that only the nominative singular, neuter accusative, and the plural genitive and dative have different endings. Remember, an adjective always takes the gender of the noun it is modifying.
Just like nouns, adjectives with two syllables often lose the vowel of the second syllable when they gain a suffix. So the plural nominative of halig is almost always written halgan. You will also see this with hefig - heavy, ligen - flaming, or yfel - evil.
Since weak suffixes begin with vowels, 'h' is dropped before the suffix. The nominative plural of words like heah - high and hnah - lowly can be written 'hean' and 'hnan', but it is more common for 'h' to be replaced by 'g' making 'heagan' and 'hnagan'.
Adjectives ending in a vowel drop that vowel when a suffix is added. So the nominative plural of æðele - noble is wisan, niwe - new is niwan, and gifre - greedy is gifran.
As you can see, adjectives follow very similar rules to nouns. You can practice weak adjectives using the questions below. Otherwise, feel free to continue on to Strong Adjectives.Return to Intro to Adjectives Continue to Strong Adjectives