For programming an interface where you can set conditions like

"The temperature equals more than 38 celsius"


"The amount of moisture does not equal 30%"

What would be the best fitting versions of the word "equals" and "does not equal"?

For equals, the word I was told was Gleich but when i entered that in Google translate it shows "equal" which grammatically does not make sense.

And for "does not equal" I got the word Ungleich from someone, but again when I went to verify, the word I saw that it translated to was "unequal". So technically perhaps correct but when in the context of programming, I imagine there are more standard words for this.

3 Answers 3


The most common comparision operators and their everyday German expressions are:

a = b — a (ist) gleich b

a ≅ b — a (ist) ungefähr/in etwa (gleich) b

a ≠ b — a (ist) ungleich b

a < b — a (ist) kleiner (als) b

a > b — a (ist) größer (als) b

a ≤ b — a (ist) kleiner (oder) gleich b

a ≥ b — a (ist) größer (oder) gleich b

When used in a sentence, there are some caveats.

Die Preise von Äpfeln und Birnen sind gleich.

Die Preise von Äpfeln und Birnen sind nicht gleich.

(instead of ungleich)

Der Preis der Äpfel ist höher als der der Birnen.

(because Preis calls for höher/niedriger instead of größer/kleiner)

For software, this tends to be by far too complex as it's only a minor function in any program.

→ Let the users enter that stuff in math language.

  • 1
    Könnte es sein, dass du hier Äpfel mit Birnen vergleichst? Sep 17, 2018 at 18:40
  • I recommend if natural language should be part of a software to have a look into fuzzy logic and implement the fuzziness of natural language down to the control circuit itself. Then, the user could write things like Es ist drinnen viel zu heiß. and the computer understands room temperature == much too hot and can react accordingly. ("much too hot" being one of two dozen different fuzzy values to select from.) This eliminates the need to ever set numeric temperature and other values which no one ever has a grab on.
    – Janka
    Sep 17, 2018 at 18:55

First of all, you cannot expect the form of a translator's output to correspond to the form of the input. For example, the following German forms all correspond to the same form, equal, in English:

  • gleich, gleiche, gleichst, gleicht, and gleichen
    (Gleich is an adjective; the others are conjugated forms of the verb gleichen.)

It depends on the context, which is correct.

Aside from that, gleich and ungleich are not the best translations for your example sentences. For "The temperature equals more than 38 celsius" appropriate translations are:

  • Die Temperatur ist größer als 38 Grad Celsius.
  • Die Temperatur ist höher als 38 Grad Celsius.
  • Die Temperatur beträgt mehr als 38 Grad Celsius.
    (I favor the third one.)

The sentence "The amount of moisture does not equal 30%" is better translated to

  • Die Feuchte ist ungleich 30%.
  • Die Feuchte beträgt nicht 30%.
  • Die Feuchte beträgt keine 30%.
    (Again, I favor the third one; but notice @mtwde's comment below.)

By the way, the programming context is irrelevant here.

  • 1
    "Die Feuchte beträgt keine 30%." würde meiner Erfahrung nach umgangsprachlich eher als "weniger als 30%" verstanden werden. Nicht als "mehr oder weniger als (genau) 30%"
    – mtwde
    Sep 18, 2018 at 8:46
  • I guess (relative) Luftfeuchtigkeit is intended. While I like the push towards shorter words, I would not recommend to abbbreviate this to Feuchte, which is marked as elevated technical term by Duden.
    – guidot
    Sep 18, 2018 at 12:41

Usually you don't say it equals (es gleicht etw.), but it's equal to (es ist gleich etw.) in German, especially in maths (and programming), e. g.

1 + 1 = 2

Eins plus eins ist gleich zwei.

So, in your example:

The amount of moisture does not equal 30%

Die Feuchtigkeit ist ungleich 30%.

(In this particular case you would take "betragen", however I think my point is clear.)

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