Here I am looking for general advice and discussion in order to grasp how native speakers would convey the meaning.

The construction to be plagued with (on its own, without the following object) tells me two things:

  1. there are a lot of things connected to the subject of the construction
  2. those things are without doubt negative (unless used ironically)

I am having a hard time to find a construction in German that does both things. For example, I would like to say:

Internet forums these days are plagued by superfluous comments.

Is the direct translation acceptable? (I have yet to come across it, and it is not listed in Duden.)

Heutzutage sind Internetforen mit überflüssigen Kommentaren geplagt.

I did find it in some other places, but most sources where it is actually used dated from the 19th century.

The most common alternative I have found, has been to use voller:

Heutzutage sind Internetforen voller überflüssiger Kommentare.

This tells me that there was an abundance of something, but doesn’t convey the inherent negativity.

Are there further alternatives or common constructs? Laborieren?

Note: to be plagued with and to be plagued by may be used interchangeably.

3 Answers 3


The translation with geplagt sein von might, at least in parts, be a false friend. Literal translation rather leads to verseucht sein mit or verpestet sein mit. plagen only works with persons or animals. So your translation might be understood, but definitely sounds weird.

Internetforen sind verseucht mit überflüssigen Kommentaren

Internetforen sind verpestet mit überflüssigen Kommentaren

do kind of work, but both are definitely a bit on the heavy side.

In case the receiving end of the plague is not a person as in your example, a translation using voll sein mit with an adjective transporting the negative connotation of the plague might in fact be best:

Die Internetforen sind voll von absolut nervigen Kommentaren.

Die Internetforen quellen über vor unnötigen Kommentaren.

In case it's about a person, an alternative translation for "to be plagued with" might be with

gestraft sein mit


heimgesucht werden von

Both, however, do not work well with non-persons.

  • Thanks for the ideas (+1) - verseucht and heimgesucht are rather good. I understand your points and the distinction between person and non-person usage. I find it comparable to using infested in English.
    – n1k31t4
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 6:46

»strotzen« may also be an alternative for you:

Internetforen strotzen vor überflüssigen Kommentaren.

It's usually used derogatorily, for people as well:

Die Nachbarskinder strotzen vor Dreck.

In this last case you could replace »strotzen« by »starren«.


Depending on context you may use

überschwemmt sein mit


überschwemmt werden von

or in your example

Internetforen sind von überflüssigen Kommentaren überschwemmt.

Internetforen werden überschwemmt von überflüssigen Kommentaren.

Internetforen werden von überflüssigen Kommentaren überschwemmt.

Where you may or may not like the consistency of the metaphor that is used: of something liquid in detrimental abundance.

Or a tiny bit more restrained in expression (and with unconsistent methaphor):

Internetforen werden heutzutage nur so überschüttet von überflüssigen Kommentaren.

Internetforen werden heutzutage von überflüssigen Kommentaren nur so überschüttet.

The latter two would be typical in oral communication. "Nur so" adds an emotional emphasis on what is being said. Leave "nur so" away (or replace it by "geradezu") for use in written communication.

Oh, and here is another one, quite typical in recent years:

Internetforen werden heute zugemüllt mit überflüssigen Kommentaren.

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