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I was reading the sentence:

Maria versucht, Thomas dazu zu überreden, abzunehmen.

which was translated as

Maria tries to convince Thomas to lose weight.

and I recently learnt about the dazu word - the fact that it can refer to a previous something without repeating it, irrespective of case.

But in this sentence, I was confused of the usage of "dazu"

Does the dazu refer to "versucht" or is the construct of the verb "versuchen zu" or otherwise?

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In this case here dazu refers to the verb (infinitive with zu): abzunehmen.

You could also let drop dazu: Guess you can see that without dazu both terms in German and English are literally identical.

dazu would answer the question wozu emphasing the purpose: to lose weight.

  • My impression is that dazu belongs to überreden and not abnehmen. It's jdn. zu etwas überreden. dazu fills the place of zu etwas. Omitting the versuchen one would ask: "Wozu überredet Thomas Maria?" – Frank from Frankfurt Mar 4 '19 at 8:45
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    I was really unsure in the moment as I sent my answer if it couldn’t be like you say. But then try to transform it: Maria versucht Thomas zum Abnehmen zu überreden. Then it seems to be clear. – Albrecht Hügli Mar 4 '19 at 9:15
  • dazu substitutes zum Abnehmen. Without the additional abstraction layer created by versuchen: Maria überredet Thomas zum Abnehmen or Maria überredet Thomas dazu. It's still zu etwas überreden. – Frank from Frankfurt Mar 4 '19 at 9:24

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