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As quickly as possible can be translate as

möglichst schnell

or

schnellstmöglich

Is there any difference between the two versions? What other adjectives have the second version (i.e., _________stmöglich)?

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You can actually very easily look for "all" the words with certain ending (see this answer for some basic but quite complete search, and see one of knut's answers [which I now cannot find], were he wrote code to do it). –  c.p. May 23 at 20:36
    
@c.p. Dou you mean this one: german.stackexchange.com/a/7340/974 ? –  knut May 23 at 20:59
    
@knut Ja genau, die Antwort :) –  c.p. May 23 at 21:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

möglichst schnell has a more friendly touch: Please make it as fast if possible. You could use this, if you need it fast, but you have no authority to force it.

schnellstmöglich expresses more urgency: Make it as fast as possible! This could be used by your boss if he needs it urgent.


For your second question: I selected a list of ~stmöglich from a text database and get this result (in bold my subjective selection of common words):

  • bestmöglich
  • breitestmöglich
  • brutalstmöglich
  • ehestmöglich
  • engstmöglich
  • frühestmöglich
  • geringstmöglich
  • höchstmöglich
  • kleinstmöglich
  • kürzestmöglich
  • niedrigstmöglich
  • nächstmöglich
  • raschestmöglich
  • schlechtestmöglich
  • schlimmstmöglich
  • schnellstmöglich
  • schwerstmöglich
  • strengstmöglich
  • stärkstmögliche
  • weitestmöglich
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Maybe you could add a part about those ones that can be used as an adjective... like "schlimmstmöglich" ... because in these cases, we cannot take them apart. –  Emanuel May 23 at 20:45

schnellstmöglich means "as fast as possible"

while

möglichst schnell means "fast, if possible"

therefore, as knut already said, "möglichst schnell" is not as urgent as "schnellstmöglich" and more polite in that context.

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This kind of phrasing arises from the superlative form of an adjective.

infinitive, comparative, superlative
good, better, best e.g.

are the three states an adjective can have.

In this case:

schnell, schneller, am schnellsten

By swapping these to phrasings, as you did, the superlative state just gets passed/swapped from one word to the other

schnellstmöglich or möglichst schnell

Another phrase which might be heard is: als bald möglich or möglichst bald (I think my father uses this from time to time :) )

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