I was looking for a translation for:

What would you like me to say?

and was given "Was würdest du mir zu sagen?".

To me, that translates literally to:

What would you say to me?

Which is correct and for what reasons?


You're right, "Was würdest du mir sagen?" (mind that the "zu" is wrong there) translates to "What would you say to me?.

I would translate "What would you like me to say?":

Was möchtest du, dass ich sage.

I think in general the structure

What [do you want | would you like...] me to [do | say | ask... ]

is in German

Was [willst | möchtest...] du, dass ich [tue | sage | frage ...]

It's the same with

I want you to go


Ich will, dass du gehst

  • Thank you. "dass ich sage" still sounds alien to me, which is why I couldn't get it. "What would you like, that I say" doesn't feel right but I will learn to get used to it! – Ste Sep 11 '14 at 10:01

"Was soll ich dazu sagen?" - Google Translate or other translation services fail here because of the English source grammar, where me and to had an ambiguous relation from a machine's view. Only on searching for a probably manually added idiomatic phrase "What would you like me to do?" the resulting translation gets it correct.

To find our way out of this we my split the originial to:

What would you like? - Was möchten Sie gerne? Was hätten Sie gerne?
Was should I say? - Was soll ich sagen?

This can be put together again to German

Was hätten Sie gerne, dass ich sage? or more idiomatic: Was soll ich Ihrer Meinung nach sagen?

but probably we will mostly just hear the short version we already had from above:

Was soll ich sagen?


What would you like me to say.

My translation would be:

Was möchtest du (denn), dass ich dazu sage.


Was soll ich deiner Meinung nach dazu sagen.

  • 1
    Das "dazu" ist falsch; es hat in der Frage keine Entsprechung. – user unknown Sep 11 '14 at 20:28

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