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There is a very peculiar English phrase/fragment that is used to express the feeling that something is a weak case of something. It's as if you are warning emphatically the person you are speaking with to lower their expectations for what they might have given an assertion you have just made.

Zum Beispiel. Ich bin bestenfalls auf Sprachniveau A2, und ich bin ein schwache A2 (at that)".

It is the "at that" part that I don't know how to express when trying to say "I am at best at the language level of A2, and a weak A2 at that". What is the German idiom or construct for expressing the "at that" portion of the above sentence?

Also, in a compound sentence like that above, is OK to leave out the second "ich bin" and just say "Ich bin bestenfalls auf Sprachniveau A2, und ein schwache A2" like English speakers frequently do? Or will leaving out the second "ich bin" annoy the ears of a German native speaker?

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    For what it's worth, both of the previous answers have not fully understood the idiomatic meaning of "at that" in the question. "At that" means, essentially, "moreover." In other words, "not only am I A2, but moreover (i.e., to make matters worse), I am a weak A2." – Kiril Jun 2 at 8:07
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    "...und noch nicht mal ein starker." – Kilian Foth Jun 2 at 20:18
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… , und ich bin ein schwacher A2.

The problem from the beginning is this phrase is unidiomatic. If someone said that to me, I would immediately assume too much exposure to English.

The idiomatic phrase uses a predicative instead.

… , und ich bin schwach.

But that's not too idiomatic either. It's better to avoid the second ich bin:

Ich bin bestenfalls auf Sprachniveau A2, und schwach darin.

That darin is the at that you are looking for. Even better:

Ich bin auf Sprachniveau A2, und dabei eher schwach.


You might wanted to focus on the fact at that also means to make it worse, but this again seems unidiomatic to me in the above sentence, as the matching German expression noch dazu and um es schlimmer zu machen both introduce new facts. I try nevertheless.

Ich bin auf Sprachniveau A2, und noch dazu eher schwach (darin).

You have to drop the bestenfalls, so eher schwach becomes a new fact.

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    How about adding an "auch noch" somewhere? – tofro Jun 2 at 8:04
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    I've addressed that in my edit. – Janka Jun 2 at 8:19
  • The third meaning. – Janka Jun 2 at 9:03
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    "noch dazu", "auch noch", even "darüberhinaus auch noch" are perfect translations. – tofro Jun 2 at 9:05
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What is the German idiom or construct for expressing the "at that" portion of the above sentence?

The expression you are looking for is "noch dazu".
"Ich bin bestenfalls auf Sprachniveau A2, und eine schwache A2 noch dazu.".
But it sounds a little odd because the meaning of "at that" is already expressed in "bestenfalls".
So you could say "Ich bin bestenfalls auf Sprachniveau A2, aber höchtens eine schwache A2". This emphasizes that you are in the very lowest region of A2.

is OK to leave out the second "ich bin" and just say "Ich bin bestenfalls auf Sprachniveau A2, und ein schwache A2"

Yes this is ok. It sounds more natural than having "ich bin" two times.

  • @PiedPiper uuh you're right! Corrected... – puck Jun 2 at 8:22

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