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I've learned the constructions:

besser als, better than


so gut wie, as good as.

But when I translated the expression "also known as," to be "auch bekannt wie", a native speaker corrected my translation as "auch bekannt als", What is going on?

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Are you referring to persons or things? I think that is handled differently. For things you can use 'auch bekannt unter dem Begriff xxx'. –  bernd_k Oct 2 '11 at 14:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The word "als" has different meanings, depending on context:

  • in comparisons, translated as "than."

A ist besser als B - A is better than B.

  • temporal, translated as "while."

Als ich zum Laden ging... - While I was walking to the shop...

  • as a proposition used with the word "bekannt", translated as "as"

Stefani ist bekannt als Lady Gaga - Stefani is known as Lady Gaga.

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Note also that some dialects substitute "wie" for "als" in the comparison, i.e. "A ist besser wie B"; standard German only has "A ist besser als B". –  Felix Pahl Oct 3 '11 at 9:03
Don't do that, though! My dialect (Bavarian) does this, but it is WRONG and HORRIBLE and WRONG. ;) –  Cass Oct 3 '11 at 10:04
Was it always wrong in Bavaria or did it suddenly become wrong after the ascension of Hochdeutsch? Why would Bavaria speech be more horrible than Hanover speech? Or is this something new in Bavaria that just the kids do? –  hippietrail Oct 7 '11 at 11:54

Additionally to Cass' answer:

The correct translation to "also known as" would "auch bekannt als", but you can compare a person to someone or something else, using "wie" in that expression:

Er war auch bekannt wie ein bunter Hund.

He was known all over the place.

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