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A colleague of mine at work is from time to time saying me just "Du hast es gut" and laughing... I asked him a couple of times what does it mean as I am not native and couldn't find any info regarding that sentence in a colloquial context. He just replies "it means you have a good life"

In case it could help, he is from Mid/South-Hessen(Darmstadt) with a very strong accent.

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    Did you google the translation or check a dictionary? What is unclear with the results you got? – Torsten Link Oct 17 at 13:36
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    I used google translator and also linguee and dict.cc. Unclear is that the sentence seems incomplete to me, like it is missing something like "du hast es gut GEMACHT", du hast es gut "GEDACHT", du hast es gut "vermutet" ... just "du hast es gut" means nothing to me – blfuentes Oct 17 at 13:38
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    It means the same as the American English "to have it good", if you are familiar with that. – Fabio says Reinstate Monica Oct 18 at 0:39
  • Literal translation: "You have it good". – Bob Jarvis Oct 20 at 17:00
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I can not tell you anything else than you friend. "Du hast es gut" really just means that. It's going really well for you or you are lucky. Depending on context, it can refer to your life, your job, whatever...

Another example could be:

-Ich habe gestern meine Nebenkostenrückzahlung bekommen, 120€! Yesterday I got paid back some of my service charges
-Du hast es gut, ich musste sogar noch drauf zahlen! Lucky you, I even had to pay extra

Addendum: As mentioned by orithena in the comments and Dreamer in another answer, it often expresses envy or emphasizes, that oneself has bigger problems than the other person. However, this doesn't need to have a negative connotation. As with other remarks, this really depends on your delivery.

  • Thanks for the clarification. I just wanted to be sure, there are too manz common phrases in German... – blfuentes Oct 17 at 13:46
  • compare Du hast gut Reden, cheap talk, talk is cheap; Reden ist silber, Schweigen ist gold. cp selber – vectory Oct 18 at 20:04
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It's a colloquialism for "I envy you".

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    As a native speaker: this is the actual answer. – steros Oct 18 at 10:41
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    This. Although it sounds like it, it isn't about you at all, but about me whining. – Damon Oct 18 at 15:49
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    Also native speaker here. While it can express envy, IMHO it doesn't need to. It can be used with connotations ranging from "I envy you" via "stop complaining, there's no reason for that" and neutral description to a positive "Lucky you - enjoy how well you are doing". – cbeleites supports Monica Oct 20 at 15:22
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If the emphasis is on 'du', (You have it good) the implication is that, whatever you might have been complaining about, he has more to worry about than your paultry concerns. This is often done ironically, in a jokey way.

It reminds me of the Monty Python 4 Yorkshiremen sketch.

6

It might have different nuances of meanings depending on the context.

First of all, it simply is a short term for "You are doing well (in job, life, relationship, money, ...)"

The meaning could be either, ...

... acknowledging and commending your luck or success.

... voicing some moderate envy on your situation

... pushing your nose into your own sucess, in case you are complaing about minor stuff

... asking you to stop bragging

... simply acknowledging that you are in bad luck, but there is still sunshine in your life

... making fun of an unfortunate situation (see: 'you got it goin on')

... trying to change the topic on their lack of success/luck

5

Another native speaker here. The closest answer in my mind is:

"Lucky to be you"

3

My German is rough but my head instantly read "You have it good." Is there a reason this wouldn't be true? It's mildly surprising what I know to be an English idiom translates so well.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/have%20it%20good

  • " Is there a reason this wouldn't be true? " Yes, e.g. "Ich gefalle ihm" doesn't mean "I like him", "Fahrt" doesn't mean fart, and many other. – c.p. Oct 19 at 12:17
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    I don't really understand this criticism past maybe "direct translations can be misleading" and "sound alike words (to English) are not always the same." While both are very true neither quite make sense here. The direct translation is an English idiom which seems to match the meaning translation from the native speakers. I'm not really sure where the sound alike criticism comes from. Can you address specific to this phrase where the direct translation goes wrong? – foreverska Oct 19 at 14:21
  • "Can you address specific to this phrase where the direct translation goes wrong?" No. "Is there a reason this wouldn't be true?" Yes, that there exist translations which do not make sense, just this one happens to hold (as you were yourself surprised). The answer containing your both your surprise and that question we debate is somehow contradictory. – c.p. Oct 19 at 19:16
  • Alright, I see which hill you're on now. – foreverska Oct 20 at 2:23
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    Although a direct translation into english would make sense that's why I asked it, because in a small talk context it could have a hidden sense I don't get as non native speaker – blfuentes Oct 20 at 6:53
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As a Dutchman and reading on WikiPedia that Darmstadt has a strong Lutheranian heritage, I hear an echo of Calvinism in this "Du hast es gut". In the protestant part of the Netherlands, there is still a sense of being uneasy with enjoying life. Dutchmen tend to comment on others who are not working or even enjoying themselves, resulting in benevolent comments that are not really disproving, but still reflect some uneasiness.

There is not much context provided, but I can imagine @blfuentes being either nicely dressed, enjoying a good large cuppa coffee behind his or her desk or sitting somewhat laid back in the office chair.

This is somewhat similar to the answer by @dreamer who suggests it might mean "I envy you".

  • Thanks for adding extra meaning, really interesting – blfuentes Oct 20 at 6:54
  • (Native Speaker here) To me, "Du hast es gut" is part of the basic idioms that are understood by any native German speaker, regardless of region. Also, using religious connotations in everyday speech is entirely absent from native everyday German language usage. I.e. you have an interesting and plausible, but incorrect hypothesis here. – toolforger Oct 20 at 7:23
  • @toolforger Thanks for your comment. I see no religious connotation either in "Du hast es gut". It's just,... if a colleague would say this to me, I would feel like I would need to have to explain something. It's not religious perse, but rather social-cultural. A bit like the Jante Law — which I'm sure also applies to the Low Countries. But, we are over-explaining things here! :D – Ideogram Oct 20 at 8:57
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English colloquial equivalents would be

Good for you!

or

Lucky you!

both of which are close to the literal translation (which doesn't work like that in English)

you have it well

The sentiment expressed depends a lot on context in the conversation and the accentuation used and can range from

  • indifferent but active listening ("Ja, echt...")

  • positive support including some admiration

  • implicit prompt to elaborate more on whether you feel you are doing well and whether you like it or whether you think it'll continue like this

  • envy in the sense of "I wish I was doing that well"

  • caution in the sense of "don't push your luck, it may run out"

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