a strong maybe

deltron

Senior Member
English (American)
Greetings! I didn't know if German had a way to express the strength of a yes/no/maybe.

I wouldn't know how to say "a definite no", "a strong maybe" or "a resounding yes".

As for context:
1: "Are you going to be able to make it to my birthday party?"
2: "I can't say yes for sure, but it's a strong maybe" (let's say an 80% chance of happening, where just "maybe" would be 50/50)

The question really boils down to: can I use an adjective with vielleicht? My gut feeling says no, that "ein starkes vielleicht" doesn't sound right.
 
  • Ief

    Senior Member
    I will answer this with a more or less wise saying of our beloved Chancellor Willy Brandt

    The SPD is "die Partei des donnernden Sowohl-als-auch."

    Therefore yes, also in german you can use an attribut like strong (stark) sure (sicher) or even something like roaring (donnernd, schallend) to give a maybe more strength. But if you use "vielleicht" it will also be understood like as you were pendant and want to suspend something. Hence if you say

    "Ich komme ganz sicher vielleicht." You will be misunderstood or you will, at least, irritate people.

    Beside the conjunctive mood it would be better use a verbal expression for "maybe" to express a high confidence. I would guess, most germans would say, according to you example

    "I tend to come, but I can't say yes for sure."

    "Ich tendiere dazu, zu kommen, aber..."
     

    Sowka

    Forera und Moderatorin
    German, Northern Germany
    I wouldn't know how to say "a definite no", "a strong maybe" or "a resounding yes".
    I would say: "Ein entschiedenes Nein!", "Ein klares Ja!", but I can't think of anything involving "vielleicht" that wouldn't be ambiguous.

    As for context:
    1: "Are you going to be able to make it to my birthday party?"
    2: "I can't say yes for sure, but it's a strong maybe" (let's say an 80% chance of happening, where just "maybe" would be 50/50)
    I would say: "Ich kann nicht ganz sicher zusagen, aber ich werde (sehr) wahrscheinlich / höchstwahrscheinlich dabei sein können."

    The question really boils down to: can I use an adjective with vielleicht? My gut feeling says no, that "ein starkes vielleicht" doesn't sound right.
    I don't think this is possible. But maybe someone else has an idea.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member

    Bonjules

    Senior Member
    German
    …...

    The question really boils down to: can I use an adjective with vielleicht? My gut feeling says no, that "ein starkes vielleicht" doesn't sound right.
    It is true; certainly it wouldn't be standard German.
    But I think as an informal, creative use 'ein starkes vielleicht' would be understood, especially as a lone affirmative:
    "Was für ein vielleicht ist das? "Ein starkes 'vielleicht' ".
    Maybe others would disagree.
     
    Last edited:

    Boyar

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hier ein paar Beispiele, die man im deutschen Internet finden kann:

    Man kann nicht beides anschließen...ein schwaches "nein" ist mesitens besser als ein starkes "vielleicht"... (router-forum.de)

    Cybi, Montag 31.12.2018 20:35h. kann mich mobil nicht ein/austragen, deshalb schon mal ein starkes Vielleicht, hängt noch von Logistik ab. ;-). (www.groops.de/waldlaeufer/event/neujahr-in-koepenick)

    Es handelt sich hier um eine sogenannte Lehnübertragung, vielleicht ? :)
     

    Ief

    Senior Member
    Es handelt sich hier um eine sogenannte Lehnübertragung, vielleicht ?
    Das mag schon sein, aber idiomatisch und alltagstauglich ist so eine Entlehnung bislang weder in geschriebener, noch in gesprochener Sprache . Dann könnte man auch gleich so etwas sagen wie

    Ich bin epistemisch ambivalent über das kontingente Movens meines Tuns, aber die Eintrittswahrscheinlichkeit dieser Hypothese ist jedoch durch das Vorhandensein präjudizialer Determinanten positiv beeinflusst.

    Verstehen wird man dich so auch, aber du wirst vermutlich komisch angeguckt.
     
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