The official language thread

Here is the right place to discuss and ask questions about different and especially the English language.

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What about a wonderful grey background for the category? :grimacing:

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*beep*. Yes, sorry. I don’t wanted this thread to be in “General”… Fixed.

/edit: @tasse-tee: This thread went faster off-topic as I thought. :wink:



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Ok, Ok, I’ll start with a very simple question: When do I have to use “than” and when do I have to use “as” (and what’s the difference between them)? That’s a problem a lot of Germans seems to have. :slight_smile:

If you mean when you’re making comparisons, ‘than’ is generally used for unbalance where ‘as’ tends to liken things:

Delores is taller than Doug.
Ransome is as silly as Sexy Ryker.

Is that what you meant? Can you give an example of a sentence where you wouldn’t be sure which one to use?

(I answered that one quickly because I’m hiding in the bog!)


Sorry for the delay. :slight_smile:

Yes, this is what I mean. So I can write:

Thimbleweed Park is better than Maniac Mansion (= I like TWP more)
Thimbleweed Park is good as Maniac Mansion (= TWP is equal to MM)

Wrong English would be: “Thimbleweed Park is better as Maniac Mansion”? And my own sentence above: “This thread went faster off-topic as I thought.”?

/edit: The double “as” is every time necessary?

Thimbleweed Park is as good as Maniac Mansion
Thimbleweed Park is good as Maniac Mansion

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Yep :slightly_smiling_face:

Thimbleweed Park is AS good as Maniac Mansion.

Correct :slightly_smiling_face: and you’d say it ‘went off-topic faster’ (rather than ‘went faster off-topic’).

Yes. Only the first one is correct.


German grammar mix-up… :wink: (We say “schneller off-topic” = “faster off-topic”.)

Yeah, I reckon word order is pretty much the most common cause of confusion across different languages :slightly_smiling_face:

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Blog post! :wink:


Additional question: Which sentence is correct?

This is bigger than I thought.
This is bigger as I thought.

I have found both versions. The “than” variant is the correct idiom, the second sentence is wrong? (A single “as” is only allowed at the beginning of a sentence/clause?)

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Only the first one is correct.

Unless you’re using ‘as’ in its conjunctive form (in place of ‘like’): ‘This is bigger, like I thought’ (you’d need a comma there though). But we’ve been talking about the adverb form (using ‘as’ for comparison) so that’s probably not what you meant. ‘As’ has lots of different uses.

Blimey this is difficult to explain! Thanks for the challenge :wink: And sorry if I’m confusing you.


No, no, thank you very much! As :wink: I wrote: A lot of Germans have problems with the correct use of “than” and “as”.

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It’s more correct:

  1. I remember as if it was yesterday
  2. I remember as if it were yesterday

I think the first one, but my teacher once told me that if the meaning on the sentence is something really impossible, I can use “were” instead of “was”.

Where is the truth?

I think your teacher was right. In that sentence the meaning is more hypothetical (‘as if’), so you’d use ‘were’ in the conditional sense (which is used for more abstract thoughts than actual true statements).

You could technically say either though.

That’s in another thread :wink:


Answering on another topic to be more in topic :stuck_out_tongue:

When drunk, my foreign language skills are way better. Well, if the drunkness level isn’t too high, of course. I never tried with French (when I had chances of speaking French I was usually in high school and - while teenage me had no problems in drinking - it was difficult to get drunk with my French professor around) but both English and German skyrocket, or so I’ve been told.

Why is it so? Is there some kind of inibition that makes alcohol help when speaking a second language?


Well get you :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t know, it’s odd. I wonder if somehow lacking in inhibition makes us able to access those parts of our brain.

I play pool much better too (at the right level of drunkeness). I always put that down to not being as stiff or pressured but maybe it works in the same way. Maybe it just comes more naturally.

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You don’t start to think how a sentence is constructed. :slight_smile:

You can see the same phenomenon in quiz shows: If the candidate starts to think about the answer, he’ll chose in a lot of cases the wrong answer - overruling his own first thought/gut instinct.

In the moment you start to think if a word is correct or which grammar rule applies, you tend to write or speak it wrong. You start to get unsure and that produces errors. If you drink, you don’t think; you are not unsure anymore.

But there is another point:

Are you sure that you speak a language better when you are drunk? Would the others around you think the same? Or were they also drunk and/or made the alcohol you just think you are better in that language? :slight_smile:


That reminds me of that bit, I believe it was by Josef Hader, who said a concert pianist is like the millipede who couldn´t walk if he thought about putting each feet in front of another seperatly.

So he tells this story about sitting first row in a concert where the pianist plays a very complicated very fast piece and he shouts to him from the front row:
“Woah, how you ever do that?”
And the pianist draws his hands away from the piano going: “Guawwwghhg!!!”