I was trying to translate my English documentation into my own, wonderfully terrible, German when I noticed that this sentence:

Der Benutzter muss nur einige Informationen über ... geben

was being highlighted in green. Indicating... STOP! Grammartime! The suggestion from MS was this:

Die Benutztere muss nur einige Informationen über ... geben

Now, Benutztere is not something I have seen before. Also, leo and linguee have no info on it, and a quick google search brings nothing of use.

Further, MS Word itself highlights the word in red, indicating it isn't in its own dictionary! So my question is, what is going on here? Is this just a software failure or is this a genuine, grammatically correct, suggestion?

My guess is that it is some sort of attempt at making a gender neutral collective noun, but that it is actually wrong and should be spelt differently. To be honest, I am a little perplexed.

EDIT I should point out, in case it makes a difference, the Word grammarbot did not suggest correcting muss=>müssen after I changed to Benutztere, so it doesn't think it is plural perhaps?

EDIT2: As pointed out in the comments, I made a typo with Benutzer. Removing the typo stops word from suggesting Benutztere. However, I am still curious exactly what this word is.

  • 1
    This is apparently a collision between gender selection and the non-knowledge that participles cannot form a comparative. – tofro Oct 11 '17 at 11:30
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    You should try "Der Benutzer muss..." as there is a spelling error. – IQV Oct 11 '17 at 11:36
  • @IQV Oh God, you're right. I didn't spot that. Without the error Word no longer suggests "Benutztere". Thanks for that. I am still curious about what Benutztere is though. – Yonabart Oct 11 '17 at 11:41
  • @tofro Do you mean that Word has decided I mean "Using" and then tried to turn it into a pronoun? So, the word is actually nonsense? – Yonabart Oct 11 '17 at 11:45
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    As @tofro pointed out "benutztere" is the female comparative of "benutzt". But this is not a noun, so it is normally written with "b". And you can build this word, but it doesn't really exist. – IQV Oct 11 '17 at 11:49
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Due to your spelling error (the additional t in Benutzter), Word guessed you were trying to build the comparative to the adjective benutzt.

Word further implied an unmentioned feminine noun, maybe because of the feminine Information:

Die Benutztere [insert feminine noun here] muss nur einige Informationen über ... geben

Benutzter is the comparative to benutzt, and benutztere is simply the feminine form: Benutzt - benutzter - am benutztesten.

An example:

Da standen zwei benutzte Tassen. Die benutztere von beiden (oder: Die Benutztere if you omit von beiden) war stark verkrustet.

Keep in mind that while this is possible in German, it is not beautiful. There’s just benutzt and unbenutzt. It’s like saying that two people are dead, but one is more dead than the other.

In my example, a better solution would be:

Da standen zwei benutzte Tassen. Die schmutzigere von beiden war stark verkrustet.

That is because it is easier to imagine different states of schmutzig than of benutzt.

there is a german word "benutztere":

Imagine you have 2 trousers, in german "Hosen" (f).

One you were using one evening, it didn't get dirty at all. The other one was worn like a week, and already smells a bit. not you have 2 used trousers, one is used, the other one even more. your mom asks you to give here one of the trousers to wash it, since one more will fit into the washing machine

Which one would you give here? "die benutztere"! (the one more used), the other one is "die sauberere" (the cleaner one)

PS: in "Der Benutzter muss nur einige Informationen über ... geben" it should rather read "Der Benutzer". He isn't used - and most probably doesn't need to be washed :-)

  • 3
    I would rather bite into my tongue than using "Die benutztere Hose". I would use "Die stärker/häufiger/öfter benutzte/verschmutzte Hose". Or simply: "Die dreckigere Hose." ;) – Gerhardh Oct 11 '17 at 14:16
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    @Gerhardh I didn't claim it's a nice word, nor an often used one. Ich denke auch, 'die dreckigere Hose' ist der benutztere (oops!) Ausdruck ;-) – Tommylee2k Oct 12 '17 at 6:52
  • @Tommylee2k „Ich denke auch, 'die dreckigere Hose' ist der benutztere (oops!) Ausdruck“: Mir kräuseln sich die Nackenhaare :) – Philipp Oct 12 '17 at 7:07
  • Aber die abgenutztere Hose würdet ihr schon in den Mund nehmen? Dieses Wort ist ja immerhin ein geläufigeres. – Christian Geiselmann Oct 12 '17 at 18:09
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    In den Mund nehmen würde ich Hosen, die gebraucht sind, garnicht. Weder die benutztere, noch die dreckigere. :-D Für "lange in Gebrauch" gibt's viele Ausdrücke, "benutzt" zu steigern klingt gestelzt, ist aber durchaus korrekt und imo auch gebräuchlich. "Abgenutzt" empfinde ich eher als Beschreibung des Alterszustands, ähnlich wie "ausgelatscht" bei Schuhen – Tommylee2k Oct 13 '17 at 6:52

"Ein Benutzter" would be someone who was used, the used one. "Benutztere" doesn't sound like a real german word and is probably some bug in Word itself. The präposition "Die" seems to point that Word thinks it is the female form of "Benutzter" which would be "Die Benutzte". The plural would be "Die Benutzten".

  • The initial text was "Der Benutzter", not "Die Benutzter". The correct version would be "Der Benutzte". – Gerhardh Oct 11 '17 at 12:44
  • I changed it to "Ein Benutzter" to make the difference clear. "Der Benutzter" would really be a grammatical error. – Daarin Oct 11 '17 at 13:01
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    „Die Benutztere“ ist der Komparativ zu „die Benutzte“: Benutzt - benutzter - am benutztesten. Da standen zwei benutzte Tassen. Die benutztere von beiden (oder: Die Benutztere) war wirklich schrecklich schmutzig – Philipp Oct 11 '17 at 13:35
  • @Philip: Das ist die richtige Antwort. Mach eine Antwort daraus. – Janka Oct 11 '17 at 13:41
  • @Janka Thanks, I did. – Philipp Oct 11 '17 at 14:07

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