The more X's the more Y's

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by paradoxa4, May 16, 2011.

  1. paradoxa4

    paradoxa4 Senior Member

    Venezuelan Spanish

    What's the German for the expression "the more X's, the more Y's"

    For instance:

    The faster you run, the sooner you get tired.

    The more you eat, the fatter you'll get.

    The longer you sleep, the bigger you'll grow.

    The harder they fight, the easier their foes will be.

    The more you study, the more you learn.

    :D Please, give me German examples (Or if you were so kind to translates those examples above)

    Thanks in advance :)

    (By the way, I SWEAR it's not a homework, even if you think so and you don't believe me, just explain the rule and not translate anything, I'm looking for learning, not cheating anyone)
  2. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    The default for this is

    je ..., desto ...

    So there is, for example:

    Je mehr du isst, desto dicker wirst du.
    Je länger du schläfst, desto größer wirst du.

    In some cases you have "more", in other you have to use the comparative form of the adjective, similar to English.
    Note the comma after the first part.

    The contrary form is
    je weniger ..., desto ...


    Another form is "je ..., je ..."
    This is seldom used and mostly it expresses a written style or a fixed form. But it is active and correct.

    Grimm gives examples in "Deutsches Wörterbuch". (search for "je")

    Je mehr einer trinkt, je mehr einer dürstet.

    It is an old saying.
    It means "Je mehr man trinkt, desto größeren Durst hat man."

    This construction is mostly used in sayings and literature, it seems to be or become dated.

    Eine Pflanze, das Gartengeißblatt, heißt volkstümlich "Jelängerjelieber" (von "Je länger, je lieber".)

    The third possible form is "je ..., umso ..."

    "Je mehr du dich schmückst, umso schöner wirst du."

    Grimm gives some other forms, like "wie ..., je ..." - but this is dated now or only used in dialects. Example: "wie mehr sie darvon nutzen, je mehr werden sie aufgeplasen mit eigen heiligkeit. Fischart " - this is dated now as well in style as in orthography.

    The sentence can also be reversed. Grimm gives an example from Lessing:

    "Sie sehen noch einmal so reizend aus, wenn sie böse sein wollen; denn es kömmt doch selten weiter damit, als bis zur ernsthaftigkeit, und diese läszt ihrem gesichte um so viel schöner, je fremder sie in demselben ist." (the style is dated.)

    Modern German:
    Umso besser werden Ihre Ergebnisse, je mehr Sie sich anstrengen.

    This reversed form is used to emphasize it.
    Please note, that Grimm uses his own orthography, established in the 19th century.
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

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