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I have made my research about this word and found it means "to keep".

However it doesn't come in the sense of "to have possession" of sth. as "behalten".

For example:

Kann ich deinen Platz behalten?

Also it does not come the meaning "to maintain sth." as "beibehalten".

For example:

Ich behalte meine Geschwindigkeit bei.

I am confused about this word, and not able to realize how and when to use it.

  • 4
    You should provide yourself with a good, printed dictionary, for example Duden Universalwörterbuch (that*s about 2000 pages). Such books offer not only a short explanation of the meaning of a word, they also give examples for typical use-cases. If buying a new book (about 50 euros) is too expensive, you can find used ones - that do the job perfectly - for little money in internet market places for used books. – Christian Geiselmann Feb 22 '18 at 17:04
  • You don't even need a printed book, because you get all the examples, explanation, etc. if you search the word online at duden.de, here the example for einhalten. A similiar source is DWDS. – tallistroan Feb 23 '18 at 18:53
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I have made my research about this word and found it means "to keep".

Really? It doesn't. Probably this already is the solution.
You are right, einhalten is neither behalten nor is it beibehalten.

Eine Vorgabe einhalten = to follow a specification, to meet a requirement, to comply with a specification.
You can "die Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung einhalten" = to comply with the speed limit. But if you keep your speed (don't vary it) you don't say "einhalten". Then you say "beibehalten".

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"einhalten" is more like "to comply with" or "follow the rules" than "to keep". It is a variant of "halten" ("hold") with "ein" as a special use for being inside limits/borders.

"Ich halte die Regeln ein" means "I follow the rules"

  • Just one of the meanings, see DWDS. – guidot Feb 22 '18 at 15:32
  • I am sure you can find other uses in local dialects and/or older texts. I would still say it is the most common meaning. – dakna Feb 22 '18 at 15:50
  • Versprechen einhalten corresponds to keep ones promises. – guidot Feb 22 '18 at 15:56
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"Einhalten" means to "keep" in the abstract sense of to "stay within." You "keep" or "stay within" concepts such as rules, appointments, or promises.

It does not mean "keep" in the sense of "to retain possession." That would be "behalten."

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It depends on the word combination wether einhalten can be translated with keep.

Consider the following three cases with examples:

  • Keep does not translate to einhalten: The examples you mentioned and many more

  • Examples where keep translates to einhalten (Source: Leo: einhalten):

    to keep an appointment = einen Termin einhalten

    to keep to the budget = das Budget einhalten

    to keep a term = eine Frist einhalten

    to keep the conditions = die Bedingungen einhalten

  • There might be word combinations where einhalten cannot be translated with keep. I could not find a expression with keep for

    Einen Waffenstillstand einhalten = to honor a cease-fire

    Termine einhalten = to meet one's deadlines

There are other meanings of einhalten (see Wiktionary: einhalten) where einhalten generally does not translates to keep.

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