Tu as vraiment de la chance, XXX, c’est pas donné à tout le monde d’être amie avec un joueur de tennis mondialement connu.

We were having a conversation in French, and I was wondering how I'd express the same idea in German. This French expression literally means "It's not given to everyone to (be friends with a world-renowned tennis player)", or more naturally, "Not many people/folks get to (be friends with a world-renowned tennis player)".

The following sprang to mind as its German equivalent, but I wonder if this phrasing might not come across as a bit too straightforward, mundane? How is this idea commonly expressed in German?

Nicht viele Leute sind mit einem weltberühmten Tennisspieler befreundet.

  • Is there some irony (or plain fandom) in that expression, or am I just guessing from the literal translation?
    – Karl
    Jun 14, 2019 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


A very literal translation would be:

Es ist nicht jedem gegeben...

But that’s typically used for personal traits and talents or rather, lack thereof. It’s also a touch stilted and old-fashioned.

In your example, the simpler

Nicht jeder kann...

is probably the better choice, being more colloquial and idiomatic.

Your translations would also work well.

  • 1
    A less stilted alternative (in many cases) for the first sentence would be "Nicht jeder hat das Zeug zu ...". May 28, 2019 at 5:30
  • 2
    In colloquial speech this would probably be inverted: "[Es] kann ja nicht jeder mit einem...." May 28, 2019 at 6:25
  • 2
    @O.R.Mapper "Nicht jeder hat das Zeug dazu, mit einem Weltklasse Tennisspieler befreundet zu sein"? That only works for being or achieving something special. "Nicht jeder hat das Zeug zum Soldaten/ Tennisspieler/ ..." or "Nicht jeder hat das Zeug dazu, den Mount Everest zu besteigen/ einer Wildkatze in die Augen zu sehen/ ...
    – hajef
    May 28, 2019 at 10:59
  • @hajef: Yes, as I wrote, it's an alternative for the first sentence. The one that came with the restriction that it's "typically used for personal traits and talents or rather, lack thereof". May 28, 2019 at 11:15
  • 1
    The "Nicht jeder kann" form would work here in the sense of "Nicht jeder kann von sich behaupten mit einem weltberühmten Tennisspieler befreundet zu sein"
    – Cubic
    May 29, 2019 at 10:09

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