I got home around five yesterday

archibaldworthington

Senior Member
American English
Ich bin gestern gegen fünf nach Hause gekommen.

I want to say, "I got home around five yesterday."

[Edit] "I came home around five yesterday," works alright as well. [Edit]
 
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  • bearded

    Senior Member
    There has been already a discussion on whether 'around five' and 'gegen fünf' are equivalent or not. I will try to summarise its result as follows: it is colloquially correct (idiomatic), but - if you want to be more precise - around five would be 'circa um fünf Uhr', while 'gegen fünf' actually means 'towards five'.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I agree with ablativ. I might capitalize: Fünf

    EDIT: Cross-post with bearded.
    EDIT 2.0: I was obviously wrong about "fünf", but I don't want to delete since this post was referenced.
     
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    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    There has been already a discussion on whether 'around five' and 'gegen fünf' are equivalent or not. I will try to summarise its result as follows: it is colloquially correct (idiomatic), but - if you want to be more precise - around five would be 'circa um fünf Uhr', while 'gegen fünf' actually means 'towards five'.
    I hope this is on topic.

    Hi bearded, I can't really imagine saying "I got home towards five yesterday".
    We would use "around" or "about" in American English. "Gegen" can mean "about", right?

    It was hard to find, but I found it way down in the "gegen" listing. It does say "adv" though. :confused: I guess I'm writing this because "circa um fünf Uhr" seems like a mouthful to me. :D

    http://www.wordreference.com/deen/gegen
    II adv (ungefähr) about, around; (fast) nearly
     
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    archibaldworthington

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi bearded, I can't really imagine saying "I got home towards five yesterday".
    We would use "around" or "about" in American English. "Gegen" can mean "about", right?
    I think "almost" five might be the word he's looking for. (That is, if I understand the implication of "towards" correctly.) "Towards" seems to imply that it is not yet five (so one didn't get home just past five, which could also be considered "around five") and that time is approaching five. Therefore, I think "almost" might be the word he's looking for.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Hi Archibald, I think we still wouldn't say "I got home at almost five yesterday", but I'd understand it to mean:
    I got home a little before five yesterday.
    I got home just before five yesterday.

    I think when we use "about" or "around" in American English, it means that it could be a little before or after five, and I've always understood "gegen" to have that exact meaning in German.
     

    archibaldworthington

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi Archibald, I think we still wouldn't say "I got home at almost five yesterday", but I'd understand it to mean:
    I got home a little before five yesterday.
    I got home just before five yesterday.
    I think those are fine as well, and they do sound a bit less awkward, but I hear the "at almost + (INSERT TIME OF DAY)"-construction quite a bit (at least here in Texas anyway.)
     

    djweaverbeaver

    Senior Member
    English Atlanta, GA USA
    "Towards five" doesn't sound at all idiomatic to me. I don't see what the problem is in saying that "(so) gegen fünf" means the same thing as "at around five". What proof do you have, bearded man, that their meaning differ?
    Also saying "at almost five" doesn't mean the same thing. It means that you got home at some point within in a few minute BEFORE five whereas "around/about" can mean a few minutes before or after five o'clock.
    Lastly, isn't "circa um" pleonastic because don't they mean the same thing, at least umgangsprachlich? If you're going to use the two of them together, "um circa fünf Uhr" sounds better than "circa um fünf Uhr" in my opinion.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    @ perpend
    @ djweaverbeaver
    I am not discussing idiomaticity of English expressions here, since this is the German forum. But in German gegen does mean toward(s), see the expression gegen Abend = toward(s) evening. It never means 'around'. Concerning ''towards five vs gegen fünf'' please see the extensive discussion in thread We want to come back about one o'clock dd. 20.4.2014. As you can see in it, for most native speakers (and for me) ''gegen fünf'' means 'shortly before five' and not before/after five. This latter meaning is colloquially admitted, as I wrote in #3 above, but it is not the original exact meaning.
    I think that 'at almost five o'clock' is a valid alternative (as suggested by Archibald) if 'toward five' does not sound idiomatic in English.
     

    djweaverbeaver

    Senior Member
    English Atlanta, GA USA
    @ perpend
    @ djweaverbeaver
    I am not discussing idiomaticity of English expressions here, since this is the German forum. But in German gegen does mean toward(s), see the expression gegen Abend = toward(s) evening. It never means 'around'. Concerning ''towards five vs gegen fünf'' please see the extensive discussion in thread We want to come back about one o'clock dd. 20.4.2014. As you can see in it, for most native speakers (and for me) ''gegen fünf'' means 'shortly before five' and not before/after five. This latter meaning is colloquially admitted, as I wrote in #3 above, but it is not the original exact meaning.
    I think that 'at almost five o'clock' is a valid alternative (as suggested by Archibald) if 'toward five' does not sound idiomatic in English.
    Well, I just looked up with definition of toward(s), and the dictionary gives "shortly before, close to: toward midnight", so even though three of us wouldn't say it, we cannot state that it's not correct.

    However, in also looking up gegen, I found the following.

    Gegen

    4.
    a. zur Angabe eines ungefähren Zeitpunktes, der unter- oder überschritten werden kann

    Grammatik
    zeitlich

    Beispiel
    ich komme [so] gegen 11 Uhr nach Hause

    b. zur Angabe eines bestimmten Zeitraumes, der nicht überschritten wird

    Grammatik
    zeitlich

    Beispiele

    • gegen Abend, Mittag
    • gegen Ende der Ferien, des Krieges
    Gegen, Duden Online
    So, actually, gegen would work perfectly in the suggested translation.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    @ djweaver
    I, too, saw the Duden definition, and as a matter of fact I did not exclude ''gegen fünf'' to mean ''around five''. What I meant to say is that this usage prevails in colloquial German, while (in my opinion) the meaning according to the 'b' examples is the classical one and is therefore more correct. I hope that you could read the discussion in the thread I mentioned, and could see that many among the native speakers feel the way I do.
    Nowadays, dictionaries tend to accept many features of the colloquial language, that they rejected until some years ago. Unfortunately, I studied German... several decades ago.:)
     

    djweaverbeaver

    Senior Member
    English Atlanta, GA USA
    Actually,

    I have read the previous thread (gegen ? Uhr) and there is some disagreement about what gegen and um connote, but most people seem to agree with what I said, and they also find it standardsprachlich.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    Ehrlich gesagt wundert es mich extrem wie man jetzt wieder aus den Ausgangstext ändert, evtl. nur um einen Text vorzuschlagen den man besser findet. (Was nützt das, wenn die Ausage sich ändert.)

    "Around five" kann doch sehr wohl wesentlich später als fünf Uhr bedeuten. "Gegen funf" (=towards five) ist aber definitiv vor fünf und nicht später.

    "Etwa um fünf" kann früher und auch später sein.

    Mag vielleicht unbedeutend vorkommen, aber wenn man - ohne zu lügen - es z.B. runterspielen will, dass man später als fünf kam, geht es ja nicht, dass man dann sagt, man wäre vor fünf gekommen, nur weil es "stilistisch besser" ist.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    @djweaver
    We have different opinions, but the beauty of the world is to be found in its variety:). I regret to see that you read a different thread, not the one I had recommended. In the meantime, please consider Sepia's post (gegen fünf ist definitiv vor fünf und nicht später). Sepia is a German native speaker.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Well, is the Duden or WR the authority? I think it's clear that not even native speakers of German are of one opinion on this one.
     

    Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    Well, is the Duden or WR the authority? I think it's clear that not even native speakers of German are of one opinion on this one.
    zur Angabe eines ungefähren Zeitpunktes, der unter- oder überschritten werden kann
    Duden
    gegen zehn (Uhr) around (oder about) ten (o’clock)
    WR

    Where's the difference? It's comparatively irrelevant that I humbly share Duden's and WR's view.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    @ Schimmelreiter
    But in the thread 'We want to come back about one o'clock'' you expressed a different opinion (see your #4 there).
    Are you contradicting yourself, or have you changed your mind in the mean time?
    < ... >
     
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    Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    But in the thread 'We want to come back about one o'clock'' you expressed a different opinion (see your #4 there). Are you contradicting yourself, or have you changed your mind in the mean time?.
    I wrote there:
    Exactly my own idea, given the basic meaning of gegen. You are the only one to share it!

    All (?) other users of German do use it in the sense of ungefähr​, I've found out sadly. I do hope I'm wrong.
    I changed my mind and joined the crowd. I'd meanwhile paid special attention to the issue and decided it wasn't any use ignoring the real-world usage any longer, which indeed is in stark contrast to the logical interpretation of the preposition gegen. Why should I keep on trying to turn language into something logical when defeat is inevitable in that battle?
     

    Sowka

    Forera und Moderatorin
    German, Northern Germany
    Good morning :)

    I share my own opinion ;) "Gegen" would be (somewhat) before the given time. If I wanted to say "around" - as requested in this thread - I would say:
    "um etwa fünf Uhr", "so um die fünf Uhr" (colloquial).

    But I realize that not everyone shares this opinion and expect to read or hear "gegen fünf" meaning "about five".
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Even WR offers the usage of "gegen" to mean "around/about" in the dictionary, albeit as an adverb, as I linked to above (#9).

    It's in there. :)
     

    ABBA Stanza

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    ..., while (in my opinion) the meaning according to the 'b' examples is the classical one and is therefore more correct.
    Maybe you're right, but can we assume that with any degree of certainty? According to my understanding "gegen fünf" means "Richtung fünf", which can indeed be interpreted as "towards five". But could one not just as well argue that "Richtung fünf" is to be interpreted as implying that "fünf" is to be taken as a Richtwert (Orientierungsangabe), in which case a deviation from five in both directions would be possible, without having to stray from the classical meaning of the word "gegen"?

    "Gegen funf" (=towards five) ist aber definitiv vor fünf und nicht später.
    Nur aus Interesse, wie siehst Du das Verhalten von "gegen" in Bezug auf Mengenangaben, z.B.

    "Es waren gegen 500 Leute im Saal"?

    Sollte das ebenfalls bedeuten, dass (schätzungsweise) maximal 500 Leute im Saal waren (eher weniger)? Oder bedeutet "gegen" hier einfach nur "ungefähr"? Es gab nämlich schon einen WR-Thread dazu (gegen hundert Jahre), in dem alle Deutsch-Muttersprachler sich einstimmig für die Interpretierung "ungefähr hundert Jahre" entschieden haben (anstatt "annähernd hundert Jahre", zum Beispiel). Falls das nicht nur Glück war, frage ich mich wieso "gegen" bei Zeit- bzw. Mengenangaben unterschiedlich interpretiert werden soll.

    Cheers
    Abba
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    @ ABBA
    Zu dem Gebrauch von 'gegen' in Bezug auf Mengenangaben möchte ich mich nicht äußern ('gegen 500 Leute' klingt übrigens seltsam), aber was Zeitangaben betrifft, möchte ich bemerken, dass 'gegen =towards/in Richtung fünf' für mich eindeutig eine Orientierung von der Vergangenheit zu der Zukunft - und zwar bis fünf - ausdrückt. Die Zeit hat - leider - nur eine Richtung, man kann sie nicht rückgängig machen. Einen Wert 'in both directions' kann es zeitlich nicht geben.
     

    djweaverbeaver

    Senior Member
    English Atlanta, GA USA
    Ich kenne den Ausdruck "gegen 500 Leute" als Synonym für "ungefähr" bzw. "fast 500 Leute" nicht.
    Glücklicherweise lässt es sich in einem Wörterbuch nachschlagen:

    Gegen (adv.)

    bei Zahlenangaben) der angegebenen Anzahl oder Menge wahrscheinlich sehr nahe kommend; ungefähr

    Beispiel
    es waren gegen 100 Leute anwesend
    Gegen, Duden Online​
    Gegen
    V. bezeichnet in Verbindung mit Zahlen eine Menge, Größe, die ungefähr der genannten Zahl entspricht; ungefähr, etwa


    • es waren gegen vierzig Kinder in der Klasse
    • gegen hundert Mann waren erschienen
    • Beide kamen mir ungefähr gleich alt vor, gegen fünfzig vielleicht – Eich Stimmen 20
    Gegen, Das Digitale Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (DWDS)​
    Übrigens

    [...] Die Zeit hat - leider - nur eine Richtung, man kann sie nicht rückgängig machen. Einen Wert 'in both directions' kann es zeitlich nicht geben.


    Das mag in der physikalischen Welt sein, aber das stimmt nicht in der Sprache: Er kam gerade (eben) vs. Er kommt (jetzt) gerade. Mir fallen Beispiele in anderen Sprachen ein, aber da dies ein deutsch-englsches Forum ist, werde ich sie hier nicht posten.
     

    ABBA Stanza

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    was Zeitangaben betrifft, möchte ich bemerken, dass 'gegen =towards/in Richtung fünf' für mich eindeutig eine Orientierung von der Vergangenheit zu der Zukunft - und zwar bis fünf - ausdrückt.
    Ja, das liegt auf der Hand und ist bestimmt eine gültige Interpretierung. Man darf aber meiner Meinung nach nicht vergessen, dass "gegen" auch die Bedeutung von "ungefähr" haben kann, und zwar schon seit langem und auch in der gebildeten Sprache. Das zeigt das von mir schon genannte Thread mit dem Mauthner-Zitat "Gegen hundert Jahre, vom Ende des 17. bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts" aus dem Jahr 1910.

    Cheers
    Abba
     
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    ablativ

    Senior Member
    German(y)
    Glücklicherweise lässt es sich in einem Wörterbuch nachschlagen.
    Das hätte ich natürlich tun können. Ich wollte damit ausdrücken, dass, falls man mir einen zumindest durchschnittlichen Wortschatz in der deutschen Sprache zutraut, diese Wendung wenig gebräuchlich ist und dass ich sie eben nicht kenne. :)
     
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