1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Was ist am besten?"

"Was ist am besten?"

Translation:What is the best?

January 17, 2013

50 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannahliebe

They need to identify certain grammar structures separately so the meaning is understood straight away.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yelahj

Why is the "am" needed to ask what is the best?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arhowe00

ALSO, Before people get confused!

This is for a specific reason! When speaking in the superlative (The highest degree of 'Good, better, best'), in German, we are saying what is at the best. "Am", hopefully we all know by now, is a contraction between "An" and "Dem". Because "an" is a dual preposition, this means that "Der/Dem" (Or if neuter, "Das") can be in the dative or the accusative case.

For more info on dual prepositions: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa052101a.htm

Now, because one is at the highest or greatest (this uses the superlative), we say "am" instead of "an dem". In this translation, Duo is saying one is at the highest/best, so because he is already there, we use dative.

Therefore, we say "am" when referring to somebody being at the highest position for any adjective.

For more info on adjective degrees (Positive, comparative, superlative) http://www.infoplease.com/cig/grammar-style/three-degrees-separation.html

EDIT: This idea is applied to all adjectives when speaking in the superlative, not just an individual at the highest/greatest/whatever superlative adjective you use. This idea is applied when anything is at the greatest that that thing/idea can be at. It is weird when directly translated into english, so you should probably not think of "am liebesten" as "at the most gladness (That I can be)".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tor_Heyerdal

If this applies to all superlative adjectives, then why does Duo give us "Sie ist meine beste Freundin" instead of "Sie ist meine am beste Freundin"? Aside from that though, thanks for the good explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ACardAttack

In your example it's modifying a following noun. In the Duo sentence it's standing on its own. At least that's what I've picked up on


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliDadban

Hope this helps

To form the superlative, German always adds -st or -est. Other than the few exceptions mentioned below, superlative adjectives always require a further ending:

Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land? Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?

Wir haben den trockensten Wein bestellt. We ordered the driest wine.

Die schlankste Frau ist nicht unbedingt die attraktivste. The slimmest woman isn't necessarily the most attractive one.

The superlative forms of adverbs or predicate adjectives take the form of "am -sten:" Er singt am lautesten. He sings the loudest. Ich bin am glücklichsten, wenn ich allein bin. I'm happiest when I'm alone. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/Comparatives/Comparatives.html


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClassiDuo

And "Wir sind die besten" also doesn't have "an/am" (at). Is the use of "an/am" in "Was ist am besten?" somehow related to the fact that it's a question, rather than a statement? Just wondering...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ACardAttack

Have you found an answer to this?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliDadban

Hope this helps

To form the superlative, German always adds -st or -est. Other than the few exceptions mentioned below, superlative adjectives always require a further ending:

Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land? Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?

Wir haben den trockensten Wein bestellt. We ordered the driest wine.

Die schlankste Frau ist nicht unbedingt die attraktivste. The slimmest woman isn't necessarily the most attractive one.

The superlative forms of adverbs or predicate adjectives take the form of "am -sten:" Er singt am lautesten. He sings the loudest. Ich bin am glücklichsten, wenn ich allein bin. I'm happiest when I'm alone. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/Comparatives/Comparatives.html


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

After sein you can use der/die/das besten or am besten provided the noun is understood. In this case, obviously the noun is not understood, so am is forced.

The answer (visualize someone pointing) could be either Das ist das besten or Das ist am besten because now the noun is understood.

Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, 5th Edition (Durrell, 2013, section 8.4.1 "The superlative 'am . . . sten')


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Menschenkind

That's german. good = gut, better = besser, best = am besten. hoch = high, höher = higher, am höchsten = highest, etc. :)

Edit: look what I've found for you: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa101998.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chessdragonboge

Thanks. This really helps.

I think the confusion here is why the "am" is used. When using the superlative in German, you use the word "am" in front of the superlative adjective


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heshmati

Thanks, nicely explained. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adler_Deng

Danke! Alles klar~


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Libor

it is not an adjective it is an adverb else it would be der die das +beste


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zengator

Actually, when you say "sth is the best", you are using best as a noun.

When you say "that is the best sth" THEN you are using best as an adjective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob_Dean

here best seemed like a noun to me so I used a capital B


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zengator

It's not necessary (in fact, it's wrong) to capitalize all nouns in English. Capitalize only proper nouns and the first word of a sentence. Unless "best" is the first word of a sentence, it should never be capitalized.

Die Eule sorgt nicht. Er wird dein Antwort aufgrund Kapitalausstattung falsch nicht benoten.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VicDor

Zu kämpfen mit dem Feind, ihn zu verfolgen und zu vernichten und sich zu erfreuen am Geschrei der Weiber!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robertour

What would be difference between "what is best" and "what is the best", if any?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

In English, "what is best" is usually asking "what is best to do." The question "what is the best" asks "what is the best one."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chessdragonboge

i think "the" adds emphasis


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tale_spinner

Wait, shouldn't this translate to "What is best?" Wouldn't "What is the best be "Was ist der Beste?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

You have to use am here because the noun isn't known.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/orde90

Was ist die besten?

Ok I think it should be Was sind die besten?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matias426045

Could someone sum up when is a superlative used with a definite article, when with "am", and when with neither?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/betacentauri

I translated this as "What happens at best?", is it wrong? How would you say it in German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JackBond

Google Translate gives "Was ist der beste", not "Was ist am besten". Is it wrong?

Since besten is a noun here, what is the rule for determining whether it is beste or besten or something else if applicable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

Yeah, Google Translate is wrong here. And besten is not a noun here, it's an adjective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/michisjourdi

Why did it suggest "what is the matter?" ???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JackBond

"Was ist" on its own can translate to "What is the matter". When you hovered over one of those first two words, it saw that phrase, and didn't consider the rest of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alekseimirov

Why wouldn't "what is the best of all" work? It was one of the suggested meanings.


[deactivated user]

    What is bad about 'very best' rather than 'best'?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JackBond

    "very" is an intensifier, and no intensifiers are present in the German phrase.

    Something like "der allerbeste" can be translated to "the very best"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkLangan

    Great quick explanation - thanks


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chen247935

    And how would I ask "what is best"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zengator

    Try "Was ist das Beste?"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chen247935

    Diese antwort! Thanks!!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TMsZsM

    Why is "What is the better one?" wrong? (English is not my mother tong).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zengator

    "Better" is for comparing two things. "Best" is for three or more.

    (BTW, "tongue", not "tong". A tong (commonly used only as plural: "tongs") is something you might use to pick up something hot:)

    tongs


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TMsZsM

    Thank you! I guess I'm learning two languages at same time :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/traindrivermark

    It should be "which is the best"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/prkoat
    • 2621

    Tina Turner


    [deactivated user]

      The open steppe, falcons at your wrist ...


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Willdaddy

      Conan, was ist besten Leben?


      [deactivated user]

        Wow, this totally sounds like ambessen.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djocamendes

        Alguem pode me aconselhar um bom site de dicas em alemão? Desde que seja alemão\português


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rcfassio

        Tente este: http://www.aprenderalemao.com/. Não é organizado como gramática, mas ajuda muito!

        Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.