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I came across this sentence in a weather report:

Bei schwachem bis mäßigen Südostwind wird es recht warm …

I am aware that bei is followed by the dative case and that adjectives in this situation end in -en. As I assumed schwach was the adjective being used I was therefore expecting schwachen rather than schwachem.

Is schwachem short for einem schwachen? Or is schwachem an adjective in its own right? In which case, why isn’t it schwachemen?

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Adjectives in German are declined differently depending on the presence of a determiner; so-called “weak inflection” and “strong inflection”. It is therefore:

bei schwachem Wind (strong inflection)
bei dem schwachen Wind, bei einem schwachen Wind (weak inflection)

See Canoo about inflection types (or any textbook, really) for more information.


Em1 noted in chat that mäßigen is wrong, it should be mäßigem as well (bei schwachem bis mäßigem Südostwind). Apparently, this is a transcript of a TV weather forecast, but the original audio is not available (and it would be difficult to hear the difference anyway); thus, the error might be in the transcript or in the original.

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Thanks for your prompt reply. Canoo looks like a good source of info, and I shall use it in my studies. –  Tony Oct 1 '13 at 14:52
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