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to hold someone to something

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by aksa, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. aksa New Member

    English Canada
    Hi,

    I am having trouble finding the German translation of an English expression, "to hold someone to something", with the meaning that you would expect someone to deliver on something they promised.

    To be specific, someone made a very generous offer to me. I would like to acknowledge his generosity, but at the same time I don't want it to get awkward between us if he does not deliver on his offer in the end. Therefore I would like to make it clear to him by saying "I will not hold you to it."

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    :)
     
  2. FloVi

    FloVi Senior Member

    Berlin
    Deutsch / Deutschland
    Formal:
    Ich nehme Ihr Angebot an, halte es Ihnen jedoch nicht vor, wenn Sie zu den genannten Bedingungen doch nicht liefern können.

    Informal:
    Ich nehme Dein Angebot gern an, halte es Dir jedoch nicht vor, wenn Du zu den genannten Bedingungen doch nicht liefern kannst.

    Alternativen:
    ..., nehme es Ihnen jedoch nicht übel, ...
    ..., nehme es Dir jedoch nicht übel, ...
     
  3. aksa New Member

    English Canada
    thanks for your reply!

    is there anything closer though? (maybe there isn't...) your translation is more like "I won't hold it against you". Whereas "I won't hold you to it" implies "I won't force you to do something you said you would if you change your mind."

    ?
     
  4. Voxy

    Voxy Senior Member

    Hamburg; Germany
    Deutschland, deutsch
    I have to investigate a bit more. Does this all happen among friends?
    (Seems to be the case.;))
    Or else, are you talking about an apropriate form of communication
    between sort of business partners?
    The former you can say something along the line:
    ..., fühl' Dich aber nicht verpflichtet/gezwungen, ...(die Sache
    zu liefern

    The latter unfortunately I don't know actually. The communication
    seems to happen in a formal/business context and there is no such
    pattern/phrase that frees the business partner to deliver something,
    that he/she pitched with superb conditions previously, in order to get
    you hooked. (I don't think that's the case here.;))

    Hope that helps a bit.

    Voxy
     
  5. aksa New Member

    English Canada
    no it is strictly between friends. A friend offered to do a very generous favour to me. He was a bit drunk at the time :). I still want to remind him gently about it, but at the same time I know he is really busy and he may have said it at a moment when he didn't think.
     
  6. Voxy

    Voxy Senior Member

    Hamburg; Germany
    Deutschland, deutsch
    All right, I understand. See my post above.
    To get it straight, you don't want to give him the feeling to exploit
    him or to exploit the certain circumstances where he did his
    strange offer, right? ;)
    There are several ways to remind him gently:
    DU musst Dich wirklich nicht gezwungen fühlen, das zu tun.
    DU musst Dich wirklich nicht verpflichtet fühlen,...
    Glaub mir, Du musst das wirklich nicht tun,...

    I prefer "wirklich" in that particular context, because that particular
    term strongly emphasize your own regret and awkward feeling about the
    whole thing. On the other hand you offer him choices to escape,
    reconsider and readjust his opinion regarding his (stupid) offer.

    Voxy
     
  7. aksa New Member

    English Canada
    OK, thanks a lot, I'll try it!
     
  8. starrynightrhone Senior Member

    Austria
    Austria, German
    :thumbsup:

    Well done, Voxy. I was thinking about a German equivalent for a couple of minutes and failed miserably.

    Aksa, you might also want to consider Flovi's alternative (the "nicht übel nehmen" one: "Ich nehme es dir aber nicht übel, falls du das doch nicht machen kannst"), it sounds good too.
     
  9. aksa New Member

    English Canada
    Indeed, I will consider these options carefully. Thanks to all!
     
  10. elroy

    elroy Imperfect Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    My dictionary suggests "beim Wort nehmen."

    Would that work here?

    I won't hold you to it. - Ich werde Sie/Dich nicht beim Wort nehmen.
     
  11. aksa New Member

    English Canada
    This sounds actually the closest to it so far. Good one! ;-)
     
  12. starrynightrhone Senior Member

    Austria
    Austria, German
    It would Elroy.

    Gosh, first I thought we don't have a single German expression that comes close to the English one and that we'd have to paraphrase it... and now we're coming up with so many :)
     
  13. Voxy

    Voxy Senior Member

    Hamburg; Germany
    Deutschland, deutsch
    Well, I don't want to bother you, but that phrase in question is
    mostly - stress on mostly - used to express something
    in a positive way.
    Ich nehme Dich beim Wort, sounds good.
    Ich nehme Dich nicht beim Wort sounds cumbersome.

    Especially in that particular case we're discussing here, I believe
    that "beim Wort nehmen" is actually not the idiom aksa should use.
    A hunch it is, so take it with a grain of salt anyway. ;)

    Voxy
     
  14. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    I would paraphrase it like:

    Ich möchte gerne auf Dein Angebot zurückkommen, mir XXX ... zu geben. Falls es inzwischen nicht mehr möglich ist, ist es aber wirklich kein Problem.

    Kajjo
     
  15. starrynightrhone Senior Member

    Austria
    Austria, German
    Good observation Voxy :thumbsup:
     
  16. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    We now know this is a matter between friends. :)
    I really like that. Let me translate your translation:

    [Please] don't feel obligated/forced to…

    To me, these get the same idea across:

    That would be nice, but I won't hold you to it.
    That would be nice, but please don't feel obligated to do it.

    Gaer
     
  17. Robocop Senior Member

    Central Switzerland
    (Swiss) German
    Mein Vorschlag:
    Ich nehme Ihr grosszügiges Angebot gerne an, will/werde Sie aber nicht darauf behaften.
     
  18. starrynightrhone Senior Member

    Austria
    Austria, German
    Ah, how nice to have someone from Switzerland participating in this forum :)

    Is "jemanden auf etwas behaften" a set phrase in Switzerland? I'm just asking, because I'm not familiar with it (and would have had difficulties understanding it without the context above).
     
  19. Robocop Senior Member

    Central Switzerland
    (Swiss) German
    I don't think "jemanden auf/bei etwas behaften" is specifically Swiss. At least, Duden does not say so. Its meaning corresponds to "jemanden beim Wort nehmen" (take s.o. at his word).

    Used in the positive sense, I should prefer (the probably more common) "jemanden beim Wort nehmen" to "jemanden auf/bei etwas behaften". However, the negation, "jemanden nicht beim Wort nehmen" sounds odd.

    Back to the original question: it is quite difficult to give an adequate (really good) wording without knowing the exact nature of the offer. Only if you knew about it, could you optimize the part marked red in the proposal below.

    Ich finde Ihr Angebot sehr/äusserst grosszügig und nehme es gerne an. Aber falls es damit nicht klappen sollte, bin ich Ihnen nicht böse.
     
  20. elroy

    elroy Imperfect Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Mein Duden bezeichnet das Wort doch als schweizerisch:

    be|haf|ten <sw.[FONT=Uc_251]ÿ[/FONT]V.; hat> (schweiz. Amtsspr.): (auf eine Äußerung) festlegen, beim Wort nehmen: der Angeklagte wurde auf seine Erklärung, er habe sich in der Nähe des Tatorts aufgehalten, behaftet. (Hervorhebung durch mich)
    © Duden - Deutsches Universalwörterbuch, 5. Aufl. Mannheim 2003 [CD-ROM].
     
  21. Robocop Senior Member

    Central Switzerland
    (Swiss) German
    Stimmt, Elroy! Anstatt im Rechtschreibungs-Duden nachzuschlagen, habe ich mich auf den Eintrag im Duden "Sinn- und sachverwandte Wörter" abgestützt. Sorry!
     
  22. aksa New Member

    English Canada
    I am amazed by the depth of your knowledge and the liveliness of your debate. Thanks for your enthusiasm and for sharing your suggestions. It really makes learning a language richer!
     

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