"Was ist am besten?"

Translation:What is the best?

January 17, 2013

46 Comments


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

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

January 30, 2013

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

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

January 17, 2013

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)".

August 27, 2015

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.

September 7, 2015

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

June 7, 2017

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

June 7, 2017

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

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...

January 15, 2016

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

Have you found an answer to this?

June 7, 2017

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

June 7, 2017

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')

March 12, 2015

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

January 17, 2013

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

October 6, 2014

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

Thanks, nicely explained. :)

January 25, 2013

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

Danke! Alles klar~

December 15, 2014

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

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

January 25, 2014

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.

February 26, 2014

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

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

January 30, 2016

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.

January 30, 2016

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

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

May 22, 2014

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."

March 12, 2015

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

i think "the" adds emphasis

October 6, 2014

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!

March 11, 2017

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?"

June 29, 2014

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

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

March 12, 2015

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

Was ist die besten?

Ok I think it should be Was sind die besten?

January 23, 2016

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

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

August 29, 2014

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?

November 29, 2014

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

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

March 12, 2015

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

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

April 7, 2015

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.

June 13, 2015

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

Oh! Danke!

June 19, 2015

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

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

June 13, 2015

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?

March 1, 2016

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

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

April 27, 2016

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"

April 29, 2016

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

Great quick explanation - thanks

June 3, 2016

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

And how would I ask "what is best"?

January 15, 2019

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

Try "Was ist das Beste?"

January 15, 2019

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

Diese antwort! Thanks!!

January 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inguin-freyr

The open steppe, falcons at your wrist ...

September 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/prkoat
  • 2053

Tina Turner

July 18, 2015

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

Conan, was ist besten Leben?

July 5, 2014

[deactivated user]

    Wow, this totally sounds like ambessen.

    September 24, 2014

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

    why is am?

    March 14, 2015

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

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

    January 11, 2015

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

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

    January 21, 2015
    Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.