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For my homework, I've been reading a book recently and I saw a part which left me curious:

Der Lotharpfad ist ein Stück Wald, das so aussieht wie direkt nach dem Orkan.

My question is, does it look like a piece of forest after the hurricane or it means something else? After wie comes "direkt nach dem Orkan", so does it mean "it looks like directly after the hurricane"?

(mini question= shouldn't it be used as Stück des Walds? Or is it just a special word that's used generally?)

  • Literally: "The Lotharpfad is a piece of forest, that looks like directly after the hurricane". "Aussehen wie" = "To look like". – Rudy Velthuis Feb 2 '18 at 21:07
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What may be confusing you is that "dem Orkan" is used as a reference to a concrete point in time here.

aussieht wie direkt nach dem Orkan

is basically saying

it looked like [everything looked] just after hurricane [had passed]

I added the notes to make it easier to understand.

The sentence, however, is perfectly fine as "wie" can introduce a component part of a sentence and "direkt nach dem Orkan" is a "Zeitergänzung" (temporal component part).

Let's look at some more examples. Every temporal adverb is a valid Zeitergänzung, e.g. "gestern", "vorgestern", as is, of course, "vor zwei Wochen".

Der Wald sieht aus wie gestern / vorgestern / vor zwei Wochen

Now this doesn't sound odd nor is it hard to understand, is it?


About "ein Stück Wald". That's an indication of quantity, like saying "ein Glas Wasser", "ein Laib Brot". If you said

Ich hätte gern ein Glas des Wassers / ein Laib des Brots

you're saying that you'd like a glass of that (a particular, already previously mentioned or otherwise known to the speaker) water or a loaf of that bread. Apparently the author of the book you're quoting from is talking about some (any) piece of woodland or, if he mentioned the wood previously, he doesn’t want to stress that it’s a part of that wood.

  • That helps me understand it a bit better, thank you very much but can't we use the sentence without so, or relocating it? – Deha Ortasarı Feb 3 '18 at 21:43
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    @DehaOrtasarı You can indeed just drop the "so" without changing the meaning of the sentence. I can't see a possibility to relocate it, though. The "so" in conjunction with "wie" can be roughly translated to "just as", but it doesn't really change the meaning of the sentence. Using "so" in this occasion, sounds "smoother" to me, however. – idmean Feb 4 '18 at 13:35
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As native German I don't have problems understanding this. At a very very exact inspection; Ok it's not 100% correct. See following example: [Edited after RHa]:

Mein Onkel sieht aus wie nach einem Regenguss.

This sentence says, your uncle looks like he went just through very rainy weather. Your sentence looks the same. This piece of forest looks like (sieht aus wie) a hurricane just went through it (which was really the case, as far as I know).

Normally the phrase sieht aus wie is used like object 1 sieht aus wie object 2 of the same kind as obj 1.

Mein Onkel sieht aus wie Barack Obama.

But here it's used like object 1 sieht aus wie something that could have happened to obj 1.

  • 2nd Question: you can ask "a piece of something" - > Stück des Waldes or "whad kind of piece" - > Stück Wald – Filius Patris Feb 1 '18 at 15:48
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    "Dein Zimmer sieht aus wie eine Bombe eingeschlagen hätte" is incorrect as it lacks a wenn or some other conjunction. The sentence in the question is correct, however. Consider "Mein Onkel sieht aus wie nach einem Regenguss" - IMHO this is completely correct. – RHa Feb 1 '18 at 20:42
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I don’t know what kind of book you were reading, but this sentence is really bad german. Grammar is confusing and the sense is hard to get ;)

Your assumption is right, the forest looks like after a hurricane. Just because it is named after one. I can’t explain it better than wikipedia, so have a look here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lothar_Path

Second question: Stück Wald is correct, but you can also use Stück des Waldes (with e in Waldes).

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    Similar: Ich esse ein Stück Kuchen. – Christian Geiselmann Jan 26 '18 at 18:24
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    "this sentence is really bad german. Grammar is confusing and the sense is hard to get" - I disagree it is hard to get. I, too, did initially think it's very colloquial, but then I realized "nach dem Orkan" is simply a description of a particular time. Thus, it is the same construction as "sieht [noch] genauso aus wie gestern", which I'd consider sufficiently well-phrased also in writing. – O. R. Mapper Jan 26 '18 at 18:52
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    "Ein Stück des Waldes" wouldn't usually be used by anyone in this sentence. You would only use this phrase when you've already talked about the forest (at great length) and want to emphasize "ein Stück". (compare "piece of cake" and "piece of the cake" in English") – Zac67 Jan 26 '18 at 18:54
  • if "so" implies it's a Stück Wald, shouldn't it be "das aussieht wie so direkt nacht dem Orkan"? (It's a part-forest, it looks like so after the hurricane) – Deha Ortasarı Jan 26 '18 at 22:51
  • @DehaOrtasan: "So" does not imply it's a Stück Wald. "So" refers to "wie direkt nach dem Orkan". (The sentence would still be comprehensible without "so", it's mainly for emphasis/as an "announcement" that a description what it looks like will still follow.) – O. R. Mapper Jan 27 '18 at 6:10

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