1

Er hat sich alle Mühe gegeben, es sie glauben zu lassen.

{vs}: ... Deshalb haben wir doch diese ganze Mühe auf uns genommen, um es zu bekommen.

Both sentences are about going out of your way to achieve something, and with the "sich Mühe geben" construction, I have never seen um placed at the top of the "to achieve something" part.

So I kind of automatically assumed that Mühe and um shouldn't go together when Mühe is used with this specific meaning. Then I came across the second construction "Mühe auf sich nehmen" which is followed this time by um.

Which now makes me wonder why the "sich Mühe geben" construction does not require um to express the idea of "in order to" in the first place. I cannot seem to recall another instance where you are allowed to omit um with the "in order to" meaning.

  • 1
    It doesn't require it. "Er hat sich alle Mühe gegeben, um es sie glauben zu lassen" also works, as does "Mühe auf uns genommen, es zu bekommen", but both have slightly different meaning than the resp. other variant, and the original variants are more natural in this particular context. – dirkt Apr 24 '17 at 6:47
  • With ''um'' you can tell a reason why you do/did something. – Dude Apr 24 '17 at 9:27
2

To me, the difference seems about whether you make an effort of doing something, or whether you make an effort in order to achieve something. The latter goes with "um ... zu".

First sentence

Let's compare:

(1) Er hat sich alle Mühe gegeben, es sie glauben zu lassen.

(2) Er hat sich alle Mühe gegeben, um es sie glauben zu lassen.

Both wordings are possible, though there is a difference in what they literally express. The first one expresses that he made all efforts to make her believe (i.e., he made only those efforts that are suited to make her believe). The second one expresses that he made all efforts (no restriction), and did that with the aim of making her believe. The difference may be rather nuanced and tends to be overheard, but it would explain why the first sentence is more natural.

It also explains the possibility of reordering. While this one is possible (though a bit construed, because "Mühe (ge)geben" belong together):

(1') Er hat sich alle Mühe, es sie glauben zu lassen, gegeben.

this one is awkward:

(2') *Er hat sich alle Mühe, um es sie glauben zu lassen, gegeben.

Second sentence

Again, let's compare:

(3) Deshalb haben wir doch diese ganze Mühe auf uns genommen, es zu bekommen.

(4) Deshalb haben wir doch diese ganze Mühe auf uns genommen, um es zu bekommen.

Sentence (3) expresses that this is why we made all the efforts of getting X. This requires that the reason (what "Deshalb" refers to) has already been mentioned or is contextually salient.

Sentence (4) expresses that we made all those efforts ("diese ganze Mühe"), and we did it in order to get X. This requires that the efforts have already been mentioned or are contextually salient. It does not require that any reason has been mentioned yet, because the sentence is giving a reason ("Deshalb ..., um ... zu ...")

Hence, I think that depending on the context, both sentences are possible. That said, I find the reordered

(3') Deshalb haben wir doch diese ganze Mühe, es zu bekommen, auf uns genommen.

more natural than (3). "aus uns genommen" seems a bit wide a stretch in this case...

0

Here, the question should not actually be about sich Mühe geben or Mühe auf sich nehmen.

The actual question shall be

When should be used um ... zu and when only zu?

An example with um ... zu

Er geht zum Arzt, um gesund zu werden -> He goes to the Doctor in order to get well

and an example with only zu

Die Spinne versucht sich zu verstecken -> The spider tries (himself) to hide

The first example of yours is constructed with only zu, while the second one with um ... zu. These are not same but similar to the English version of only to and in order to.

There is a very good tutorial, which shows the differences between um ... zu with zu.

  • And why don't you answer the actual question? :-) – dirkt Apr 24 '17 at 6:48
  • @dirkt after 30 seconds of your comment, the edit is already done :) – Ad Infinitum Apr 24 '17 at 6:50
  • Interesting! So does "um" serve to emphasise the "in order to" aspect? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 24 '17 at 6:56
  • @Alone-zee As I stated in my answer, these structures are not 100% same but very similar. I have added a tutorial to the end of my answer. Please, read it. It explains very good the differences between these structures. – Ad Infinitum Apr 24 '17 at 7:07
0

To understand the difference between um zu and zu, maybe also have a look at examples for final and consecutive use of um zu, as compared to the purely subordinating use of zu.

  • Yes, I know, it's not a good answer according to stackexchange criteria, but it gets very long if I just copy everything there, and I think it will still be useful for the one asking. – dirkt Apr 24 '17 at 15:44

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