12

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?

11

"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. – Rudy Velthuis May 20 '18 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 May 20 '18 at 23:32

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.