Welche Idee gefällt Ihnen am besten?
Welche Reise würden Sie am liebsten buchen?

Why would I use am besten in the first sentence and am liebsten in the second one? Is there any rule for their use?

  • 2
    Try and say "Wie begeht man am besten Selbstmord" vs. "Wie begeht man am liebsten Selbstmord"
    – tofro
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 17:44
  • Sorry i didnt get the example im not very good at deutsch .
    – N88
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 22:04
  • N88, tofro only get's a notification that you replied to the comment if you use @tofro
    – Iris
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 7:57
  • @Iris Almost. Since tofro was the first one to comment, he should've gotten a notification. It's even possible that N88 did use the @-syntax but it was automatically removed by the system. Anyhow, in general your note is true and worth mentioning.
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 13:51
  • 1
    @N88 "Am liebsten" can only be used for something you like (at least a bit) - So my suicide example does not work with it. It would, however, somewhat work with "am besten".
    – tofro
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


This is really not that complex, provided we start at the core of it. Am besten is from the group: gut, besser, am besten. These describe quality:

Gut, besser, am besten = well, better, best

Wo fischt man am besten? = where to fish best?

Welche Suppe schmeckt am besten? = which soup tastes best?

Am liebsten is from the group: gern, lieber, am liebsten. They describe something entirely different, namely, how gladly something is done!

Gern, lieber, am liebsten= gladly, more gladly, most gladly

Hence you could easily prefer fishing in a place that is not so good for fishing, because it is, for instance, tranquil:

Am besten fischt man hier, aber am liebsten gehe ich dort hin. Dort ist es viel ruhiger!

Similarly, someone's husband might cook better than someone else, but not quite as gladly:

Mein Mann kocht besser als mein Bruder, aber nicht so gern. Am liebsten mache ich es selbst.

You probably got curious, because you chose to use "gut gefallen" in your second example, which means "to like well". This contains "well", but expresses gladness, hence your confusion.

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