"At least you are not alone."
Translation:Wenigstens bist du nicht allein.
A great article, to summarize this read:
"wenigstens" is when you "whine" with pessimistic/optimistic or hopeful statements.
"mindestens" is when you state that it could be more.
"zu mindest" is when you say, at least form my point of view, at least in my opinion, ...from what I know.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Mindestens is more to do with numbers. E.g. There are at least three apples, "es gibt mindestens drei Äpfel." Zumindest is used as a consolation method. E.g. at least your father is there "zumindest ist dein Vater da" wenigstens can be used in both situations.
I can add, 'wenigstens' comes from 'wenig'.
My theory is:
When you have less XYZ and we try to lead your view upwards, then we tend to use 'wenigstens'.
When someone is used to have more XYZ and now he/she has less of it, we tend to use zumindestens or mindestens. Also with the aim to lead your view upwards.
"Am" means "at the" (being a contraction of "an dem". Since "dem/the" is a determiner, it should be followed by an object, a noun (z.B., "am Laden" ==> "at the store"). It can be immediately followed by an adjective or an adverb/adjective combination, but then those modifiers need to be followed by a noun (z.B., "am neuen Garten" ==> "at the new garden").
So, since wenigstens is an adverb, it doesn't use a determiner. To make things just a bit more complex: the translation to English is "at least", a prepositional phrase.
"Am" is also used for forming superlative in German. As written in Wikipedia
"The superlative is formed with the preposition am and the ending -en, e.g. am schönsten "most beautifully". Only a limited number of adverbs have a special elative form ending in -stens, e.g. schnellstens ('as fast as possible'), bestens ('very well')". "
So "wenigstens" is one of those special adverbs. But as far as I understand "am wenigsten", is also a valid form, (listed in e.g. Wiktionary).
So in retrospect I think my mistake was adding an s in the end. I.e. a valid alternative answer should be: "am wenigsten bist du nicht allein". Can someone confirm?
Why would "Wenigstens bist du allein nicht" not be proper german? I was under the impression that you could tack on "nicht" at the end of any german sentence to negate it. In this sentence that doesn't seem to be the case. Please let me know if anyone has any insight on this.
The 'nicht' is not always in the last position of a sentence. Indeed it is a result of determinded random if it is there. http://faculty.vassar.edu/vonderem/deutsch_heute/Kapitel02/Grammatik/nicht1.html
Wenigstens bist du nicht alleine.
I still have not fully understood the difference between zumindest, wenigstens, and mindestens. It is still not crystal clear to me even after reading the site which is suggested by Bryan_Seelig (Thanks to him). It still seems I can use any of those in many cases with some slight differences in meaning.