I've seen the phrase "X is just like any other Y" translated as X ist (genau/genauso) wie jede(r/s) andere Y auch. But I'm confused by the role auch is playing the translation. It seems to be intensifying wie in some way. But I can't find this meaning in either English Wiktionary or DWDS, nor in a few other on-line dictionaries I tried. (The German Wiktionary entry is incomplete for auch.) The closest match I found was #4 in DWDS, but I'd render this in English as "actually" or "in fact", and I don't think these match the intended meaning here. Am I interpreting this meaning too narrowly? Or is it under another meaning and I'm not seeing the connection?. Also, if auch is meant to modify wie, why is at the end of the sentence instead of in front of the word it's modifying? Is auch even an adverb here, and if not then what part of speech is it?

Context: While playing the German edition of Stardew Valley, I spoke with the character George, a retiree, who's complaining about how monotonous his life is now. He says:

Das Wochenende ist für mich genauso wie jeder andere Tag auch.
So ist es halt, wenn du in Rente bist.

I didn't have too much trouble with the rest of this speech, though I think ... wenn man in Rente ist, would work better for the last part.

PS. Some additional examples, taken from Die Zeit via the DWDS usage database:

Sie redeten über Kinder, wie andere Paare auch. (01.10.1998)
Der Adelsmarschall fährt zur Jagd wie andere Russen auch (15.05.2003)
Es ist eine ziemlich brutale Komik, die diesen Film antreibt – es ist die Komik der Freiheit, und wie jede gute Farce ist auch (31.08.2006)
Sex ist eine notwendige Operation, wie alles andere auch (22.03.2007)
Für mich ist Messi ein Gegner wie jeder andere auch. (09.02.2011)


Firstly, auch in this position appears only with wie, so it is only natural that there is no own dictionary entry in auch, as wie auch has to be understood as a single unit. The meaning is most certainly too, as the other answers stated.

As to why it is behind the noun: The most logical explanation I can think of is a shortening of

Das Wochenende ist für mich genauso, wie jeder andere Tag es auch ist.

That would explain why auch is seemingly modifying nothing:

If it was modifying wie, ''auch wie jeder anderer Tag'' would have the same meaning, but doesn't. It can't be modifying jeder andere Tag since auch only modifies sentences and satzglieder. In this case it would be modifying the repeated verb which is elided.

Edit: Every adverb can be put after wie in this fashion:

Er ist genauso hingefallen wie ich gestern

  • 1
    It's true that auch occurs very rarely at the end of a sentence; based on DWDS's marvelous usage database it's about .016% of the time. Anyway, I think the elided sein is what I needed to enable me to finally understand this question. I'm posting my own answer with what think is the full explanation. – RDBury Apr 11 at 15:46

English »just like any other« is in German »genauso wie jede(r|s) andere« (without »auch«).

And German »wie ... auch« is in English »like ... too«.

The German word »auch« simply can be translated into the English »too«:

Das Wochenende ist wie jeder andere Tag auch.
The weekend is like any other day too.

It's optional in this construction:

Das Wochenende ist wie jeder andere Tag.
The weekend is like any other day.

Of coarse you also can add other parts of speech:

Das Wochenende ist genauso wie jeder andere Tag.
The weekend is just like any other day.

Das Wochenende ist für mich genauso wie jeder andere Tag.
The weekend is just like any other day for me.

Das Wochenende ist für mich genauso wie jeder andere Tag auch.
The weekend is just like any other day too for me.

And in German you also can have it at another position without changing the meaning, so you are not forced to put it to the end if you don't like it there:

Das Wochenende ist für mich genauso wie auch jeder andere Tag.
The weekend is just like any other day too for me.

I know, that this too in the last English sentence doesn't fit very well into an English sentence, but translation doesn't work on a word-by-word level.

Any language is a method to encode meanings, and English and German are very similar languages. (They are both West Germanic languages and have been equal about 1000 years ago.) So they use very similar encoding algorithms, so the structure of most sentences is equal or at least very similar, and this makes many people believe, that a translation between these two languages works on a word-by-word level, but this is not the case.

When ever you want to translate any text, you have to fully decode the text using the language in which it's spoken or written, so that you have the meaning of this text in your mind, and then you encode this meaning using the other language (fully ignoring the grammatical structure of the sentence in the first language) to get the text in this other language.

  • 1
    Perhaps I'm still missing something, but I don't see how "The weekend is like any other day too," can make sense in the context. If there was a previous sentence, "The weekend is similar to Tuesday," then it might work. But there is no such preceding sentence. The original English is "The weekend is no different than any other time, for me," and there is no sense of "too" or "also" or "as well" in it, even in an implied but unstated way. I find the translator's choices questionable at times, which is why I experiment and find other examples before posting the question here. – RDBury Apr 10 at 19:55
  • The weekend is not just only like the days of a weekend, but ALSO like any other day. Does this help you? – Hubert Schölnast Apr 10 at 21:25
  • This is not an answer, it's just translating auch into English in a nonsensical way, then claiming that that is the answer. The only part that is an answer is the explanation that you have to examine it from a German point of view. Essentially the real answer is that it's an intensifier for wie – Numeri says Reinstate Monica Apr 11 at 19:00

The meaning of auch here is simply too or also.

In German, words like auch or noch are used quite a lot more often than in English.

So often auch is simply not translated.

Another example:

Wer riskiert, kann auch verlieren.

which may be translated to:

He who takes risks can lose.

The auch here means also in the sense of He who takes risks can [not only win but also] lose.

But I think one usually wouldn't use also or too in English here.

  • I have basically the same problem here as with Hubert Schölnast's answer. Perhaps it's a difference in perspective because of different mother tongues, but I just don't see it as a possible explanation. If I did I think would have seen it myself; "too" is the primary meaning of auch after all. – RDBury Apr 10 at 20:02
  • @RDBury: What you are talking about here is exactly what I meant when I wrote at the end of my answer, that translations do not work on a word-by-word basis. You are still looking for this word-by-word equivalent for the German word »auch«. – Hubert Schölnast Apr 10 at 21:28

I think the root problem here is not with auch, but with the exact meaning of wie. Namely, that there is a subtle change in stress between wie and "like". Focusing on the auch side has caused everyone (including me) to push the rope instead of pulling it. But, as Dodezv pointed out in his answer, the auch at the end syntax seems to only occur with wie and not with, say, ähnlich.

More specifically, normally the sentence

Ich bin ein Mann wie andere Männer.

would be translated as

I am a man like other men.

But the actual meaning and stress in German should expressed in English as

As other men are, so am I.

That sounds very awkward and unidiomatic, so it would never stand as a translation, but it does account for the addition of auch in German:

Ich bin ein Mann wie andere Männer auch.
As other men are, so too am I./As other men are, so I am as well.

The other people who answered the question are going to claim that this is exactly what they have been trying to say the whole time, and this is perfectly true. But my not understanding the subtle distinction wie and "like" meant that I was unable to understand this explanation; the sentence

I am a man like other men as well.

does not make sense without additional context. Anyway, this may not be an entirely correct interpretation of wie, but it does seem to explain the available data so that's what I going to go with.

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