How should we translate this sentence from a 1918 paper on a phenomenon of electricity in conductors?

Der Schroteffekt gibt desto eher zu Störungen Anlass, je größer die Abklingzeit, je kleiner also die Dämpfung des Empfangkreises ist.

The latter part from je onwards is easy, but the composition of desto eher zu is somewhat difficult. Google Translate is showing:

The shot noise effect is more likely to cause disruption …

The dictionary meanings of desto is "all the" and eher implies earlier/ sooner and it does not match Google Translate. The wordings all the sooner does not make much sense. How is the desto eher combination typically used?

  • 1
    The dots on umlauts are not optional! I corrected this for you. If you want to write German text you have to learn how to create umlauts on your keyboard. An allowed workaround (not a solution, just a workaround!) is to write an e after the vowel (ä=ae, ö=oe, ü=ue), but omitting the dots is an error! Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 13:50
  • You are right. Danke schön. I installed German in Word. Still self-teaching the language to myself.
    – ACR
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 14:40
  • 1
    If you want to stick to the US keyboard layout in MS-Windows, you can use the US International keyboard layout instead of "plain US". This makes " a dead key. Press it, then a to get ä etc. If you need the " character, you have to follow it with a space. Right Alt+s gives ß in that keyboard layout.
    – Janka
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


The word-pair »je - desto« is in English "the - the"

Je jünger Kinder sind, desto kleiner sind sie.
The jounger children are, the smaller they are.

and »desto eher« is "the more likely":

Je lauter die Party ist, desto eher rufen die Nachbarn die Polizei.
The louder the party is, the more likely the neighbors will call the police.

This was your sentence. Cause and effect are in reverse order here, so »desto« (the effect) comes before the two causes (»je« appears twice, once for each cause):

Der Schroteffekt gibt desto eher zu Störungen Anlass, je größer die Abklingzeit, je kleiner also die Dämpfung des Empfangkreises ist.

English is just a foreign language to me, but I think »"the more likely"« is a usefull translation:

The shot noise effect is the more likely to cause disruption, the greater the decay time is, i.e. the smaller the attenuation/damping of the reception circuit is.

The word »zu« has nothing to do with »je - desto«. It is part of the phrase:

zu etwas Anlass geben = etwas verursachen
to give a cause to something = to cause something

  • 1
    Thanks. So desto eher is a phrase, this makes so much sense now.
    – ACR
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 14:41
  • 1
    @M.Farooq: no, the je ... desto combination is what is fixed here. Eher is just one of many possible comparatives (see my answer).
    – Takkat
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 6:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.