fragt, ob er zuletzt krank war

wolftaler

New Member
Hungarian
Hey there!

OK, so I've got an issue with the word "zuletzt". According to all the dictionaries I've checked (and I've checked quite a few online ones), zuletzt means: last, the last time, last of all; in the end. But in the sentence: "Er fragt, ob sie zuletzt krank war", it is (I presume correctly) translated by DeepL as "recently". Which makes sense: "He asks her whether she's recently been ill." On account of "ob" it clearly cannot mean "last" or any other in the dictionaries, for that matter.

So how come none of the dictionaries, even the big ones, give "recently" for zuletzt as an entry?
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes, it can mean recently. It is a relatively marginal use, tough, and I wouldn't have used different words. It is by extension of the use last in a series of events or inspired by the expression in letzter Zeit or both.
     
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    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Er fragt, ob sie zuletzt krank war
    He asks, whether she recently has been ill.

    In this meaning the German sentence is NON-IDIOMATIC. This is just bad, somehow simplified German. We understand it, but this is not how it is said properly. This is why dictionaries do not list "recently" as possible translation. It just isn't in most cases.

    "Zuletzt" as short form for "in letzter Zeit" is not proper German. It occurs sometimes in colloquial settings, though. Example: "Wir haben zuletzt öfter darüber gesprochen, dass..." (= in letzter Zeit) is quite common, I believe. However, please don't use these colloquial phrasing yourself.

    er fragt, wann sie zuletzt krank war" (he asks when the last time was that she was ill),
    "er fragt, ob sie in letzter Zeit krank war" (he asks whether she was ill recently).
    :thumbsup: Exactly! These two work.
     
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    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    1 Er fragt, ob sie zuletzt krank war
    2 Wir haben zuletzt öfter darüber gesprochen, dass...


    Is that really so? Zuletzt=in der letzten Zeit does occur.
    Hm, my spontaneous reaction before reading the rest of the thread was "that sounds weird".

    In my Sprachgefühl sentences like 2 do occur, but like 1 are pretty rare.
     

    wolftaler

    New Member
    Hungarian
    This doesn't make sense to me.

    It is either
    "er fragt, wann sie zuletzt krank war" (he asks when the last time was that she was ill),
    or
    "er fragt, ob sie in letzter Zeit krank war" (he asks whether she was ill recently).
    I took the example from this article: Einmal Sputnik V und zurück

    Sie misst auch bei Waller Blutdruck, Temperatur, horcht die Lunge ab. Fragt, ob er zuletzt krank war. Er verneint, sein Corona-Schnelltest ist negativ. Er ist impfbereit.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    As I stated in #7: A peculiar use of zuletzt. It would have been better to use "in letzter Zeit". Maybe it is due to the author's regional background – sounds somehow Swiss to me ...
    The author is born in Hamburg, according to Spiegel. I would still understand it as an extension of a marginal meaning as I said in #2 and a personal choice of the author.
     
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