Grammar: "than"-"as"-"like"- "how" or "what..." on the web-site for teachers and learners of English as a secondary language from a German point of view
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German "als" - "wie" = English "than" - "as" - "like", "how"  or "what...."?

1. als
 
usage
equivalent
examples
German translation
After comparatives than ...bigger than, more expensive than größer als, teurer als
in modal clauses as if / as though It looked as if /as though it might become hot.  Es sah so aus, als ob es heiß werden würde
in temporal clauses when  When Mrs Potter came home she was hungry. Als Mrs Potter nach Hause kam, hatte 
sie Hunger.
  while While she was cooking, her son Tony was watching TV. Als sie kochte, sah ihr Sohn Tony fern.
  just as Just as the detective story was most thrilling, 
Mum called him to have dinner.
Gerade als der Krimi am spannendsten war, 
rief seine Mutter ihn zum Abendessen.
in one's characteristic,
capacity + noun
as As a professional educator she knew how to call him. Als Lehrerin von Beruf wußte sie wie sie 
ihn rufen mußte.
contrast anything but He did anything but behave perfectly. Er benahm sich alles andere als mustergültig.
exception nothing but He had nothing but football in mind. Er hatte nichts als Fußball im Kopf.
                                                          .   He was 5 years senior to his brother.               . Er war 5 Jahre älter als sein Bruder.

2. wie
 
usage
equivalent
examples
    German translation
Together with comparisons 
(= positive of adjectives or adverbs)
expressing equality and inequality
as  adjective/adverb as 
not so adj./adv. as 
He was nearly as big as his mother.
                not so big as
                not as big as 
Er war fast so groß wie seine Mutter.
         nicht so groß wie
in questions asking about the 
quality of an event or an action
what .(to be).. like?
answer: ...adjective....
how..(full verb).?
answer: (full verb+ adverb
She asked him: "Tony, what was your  football match  like this afternoon?"
"Oh, it was rather exciting."
"How did you play?"
"I played rather  well."
Sie fragte ihn: "Wie war das Fußballspiel heute nachmittag?"
"Oh, es war sehr aufregend."
"Wie hast du gespielt?"
" Ich spielte ganz gut."
in questions asking about the
quantity of uncountable or 
countable things
How much...?
How many...?
"How much fun did you have?"
"How many goals did you score?"
"How much bigger were the other boys?"
Wie viel Spaß hast du gehabt?
Wie viele Tore hast du geschossen?
Um wie viel waren die anderen Jungs größer?
comparisons expressed by nouns like "I fought like a lion, but I'm still too small." Ich kämpfte wie ein Löwe, aber ich bin noch zu klein.
comparisons expressed by adjectives/adverbs like "I ran like mad, but I couldn't keep the ball." Ich rannte wie verrückt, aber ich konnte den Ball nicht halten. 
process of perception verb of perception 
+ ....ing
"I saw the ball coming but I couldn't get it." Ich sah wie der Ball kam, aber ich konnte ihn nicht bekommen.
process of growing or diminishing comparative and comparative "The cross became longer and longer." Die Flanke wurde immer länger.
expressing an example such as "I ought to be quicker such as the defender. I must eat more." Ich müßte schneller sein so wie der Verteidiger. Ich muß mehr essen.
expressing excuse pardon "Pardon?", asked Mrs Potter. "Are you hungry?" Wie bitte? fragte Frau Potter. Hast du Hunger.
expressing emphasis And how! "And how!" Na und wie!
asking about the appearance of 
anybody or anything
What...look like? "And what do your hands look like? Go and wash." Und wie sehen deine Hände aus? Geh und wasch dich!
saying That depends. "That depends", Tony answered. "For you they will be dirty, for Dad they are clean." Wie man es nimmt. Für dich sind sie dreckig, für Papa sind sie sauber. 
Attention: comparing like a "Don't always treat me like a little boy." Behandele mich nicht immer wie einen kleinen Jungen.
Attention: identifying as "Then don't behave as a little boy." Dann benimm dich nicht, als wärst du ein kleiner Junge.


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