What is the difference between the following two sentences?

Die Meiers bleiben sehr gern unter sich.

Die Meiers bleiben überhaupt sehr gern unter sich.

I know that both mean something like

The Meiers [very much] like to keep to themselves.

I just can't figure out what the überhaupt contributes here. In other words, why/how would the second German sentence above fall short? Why would the speaker feel compelled to insert the überhaupt?

1 Answer 1


"Überhaupt" here indicates that the statement is a generalization.

A possible example with some more context is:

Die Meiers nehmen nicht am gemeinsamen Abendessen teil. Sie bleiben überhaupt gern unter sich.

Here a possible translation could be "generally". So the above example translates to:

The Meiers don't participate in the joint dinner. They generally prefer to stay among themselves.

  • 1
    Hmmm... I would have used anyway, but that is perhaps more a translation of sowieso. Commented May 20, 2018 at 22:15
  • 3
    I'd note that überhaupt with this meaning is never used on its own. It's always preceded by a concrete example, just like @RHa wrote in the answer.
    – marstato
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 23:32

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