3

Es sollte bekannt sein, dass mir an ihr liegt ... und dass ich Leute rette, an denen mir liegt.

I understand that "liegen an" has a meaning of "something is important to someone" or "something matters to someone". And I usually see this phrase used with the (dummy?) subject es and the (real?) subject viel/wenig/nichts.

Es liegt mir viel an meinem Beruf. = {literally: "a lot lies on my job for me"}

In the example sentence, on the other hand, the absence of both es and viel has me puzzled, and I'm not sure what to make of its construction. Is it usual to omit the parts es and viel like this?

  • The first sentence is not grammatically correct when you omit the words you omit. There has to be something that "an dir liegt", either "viel" (many things) or something specific, usually ar character trait or action, e.g. "dass sie mir morgens eine Kaffee macht". The second part has exactly the same problem, no object, but it can't be fixed by inserting something at the three dots, so the sentence is incorrect the way it is. – Nearoo Apr 29 '17 at 20:57
1

Contrary to commenters above I find your example sentence

Es sollte bekannt sein, dass mir an ihr liegt ... und dass ich Leute rette, an denen mir liegt.

completely well-formed. Yes, it is a little bit on the higher side of style, possibly to be found in a letter as Goethe, Wieland or other cracks like them would have written, but this does not make the sentence wrong or ill-formed, does it?

I would not try to seek a universal rule here. Simply take "mir liegt an x" as an idiom, in other words: accept it as it is. I would suppose it had its heyday in the 19th century or so.

Other sentences that sound sound and beautiful in my well-read German ear are:

Du sollst aber wissen, dass mir an dir liegt.

Ich lese alte Bücher, weil mir an guter Sprache liegt.

Ihm liegt an gutem Essen, darum kauft er sein Gemüse nur direkt beim Gärtner. Auch an gutem Wein liegt ihm, und diesen baut er selber an.

| improve this answer | |
  • Danke! Old-fashioned it is, then. Another question comes to mind: How would you rephrase this part as a contemporary German speaker? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens May 9 '17 at 17:28
0

Es liegt mir viel an meinem Beruf.

I would translate that to "My job means a lot to me" or "My job is important to me". You got that right

Es sollte bekannt sein, dass mir an ihr liegt ... und dass ich Leute rette, an denen mir liegt.

These sentences are not correct, its not usual to omit words here. As you noted, viel/wenig/nichts or etwas is missing. So it has to be "Es sollte bekannt sein, dass mir etwas an ihr liegt" which translates to "It should be well-known that she means something to me". You also suggested to add "es". This would change the whole meaning. So "Es sollte bekannt sein, dass es an ihr liegt" translates to "It should be well-known that it is her fault."

| improve this answer | |
  • Danke. What do you think about "Es sollte bekannt sein, dass es mir etwas an ihr liegt"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 29 '17 at 15:49
  • No "es" here. This makes absoultely no sense. – scienceponder Apr 29 '17 at 16:06
  • Absolutely no sense is a bit harsh, there certainly is no logical reason behind it, but yes, you would omit it there. – Nearoo Apr 29 '17 at 20:59
  • 1
    @Alone-zee You cannot have "es" here because "etwas" already is the subject of the subclause. The "Es" in the main clause is a pseudo-subject, which is necessary because there is no other subject in the main clause. – user18544 Apr 29 '17 at 23:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.