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I came across this idiom in a sentence similar to this one:

das iPhone verkauft sich wie geschnitten Brot

geschnitten Brot sounds wrong to me, shouldn't the adjective be declined?

I searched the alternative form "wie geschnittenes Brot" and based on google results it is 4 times less popular.

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It should, but it’s an idiom. I used to cringe whenever I read or heard “Butter bei die Fische” or “Nachtigall, ich hör dir trapsen”. – k.stm Sep 13 '13 at 8:46
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Generally speaking you are right to doubt the grammatical correctness of this term. According to all applicable grammatical rules, this should read "wie geschnittenes Brot".


According to Igor Trost, "Das deutsche Adjektiv", in certain idioms, adjectives appear without their appropriate inflectional suffixes:

  • wie geschnitten Brot
  • kein schöner Land
  • auf gut Glück
  • etc.
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It's perhaps not immediately obvious to everyone that schöner in kein schöner Land is comparative without inflectional ending, not positive with masculine ending. – chirlu Sep 13 '13 at 9:03
A similar construct can be found in many toponyms, e.g. "Grünwald, Alt Grünwald", "Klein Altgrünwald" etc. (vs. "Grüner Wald", "Altes Grünerwald", "Kleines Altesgrünerwald"...) – marsze Sep 13 '13 at 14:12
@chirlu It's completely non-obvious. I used to think that too, and I am German. – Kilian Foth Sep 15 '13 at 11:53

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