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I have heard the following sentences in a Slow German podcast:

Jetzt im Winter sind einfach viele Viren unterwegs. In der Schule haben die Kinder viel Kontakt zueinander. Da stecken sie sich dann halt auch an.

DeepL translator translates the last sentence as "That's where they get infected", but I'm unable to see how it got to this meaning.

  • Does "da sich stecken" mean "to get oneself into there", "to go there" ?
  • What is the subject of "anhalten" in the second clause? Does this verb mean "to stop", "to bring to a halt" or something else in this context?
  • Is "auch" a modal particle in this context ?
  • Deepl delivers not the complete picture. Anstecken can be transitive as well as reflexive, so the meaning may also translate: That's where they infect each other. – guidot Jul 23 at 9:12
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  • Does "da sich stecken" mean "to get oneself into there", "to go there" ?
  • What is the subject of "anhalten" in the second clause? Does this verb mean "to stop", "to bring to a halt" or something else in this context?

None of the above.

You have a confusion about how those words relate: stecken and an come from (sich) anstecken and not from (sich) stecken or anhalten.

Anstecken is torn apart in that sentence structure, it could have been also (probably clearer for a non native speaker):

Dort ist es, wo sie sich halt auch anstecken.


  • Is "auch" a modal particle in this context ?

No, but halt is. auch refers to the location (die Schule).

The correct translation might be

That's where they (the kids) finally get infected also (at the school).

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    "Da" kann hier als "dort" gelesen werden, ich würde es aber als "dann", "in dieser Situation" lesen. – Carsten S Jul 8 at 16:37
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    @CarstenS "ich würde es aber als "dann", "in dieser Situation" lesen" dann taucht ja im Originalsatz neben da auf, also eher nicht. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 8 at 17:00
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    @CarstenS, die Interpretation hatte ich auch erst, bis mir auffiel, dass im Satz ja schon ein dann steht, weshalb ich da doch eher im Sinne von dort interpretieren würde. – Björn Friedrich Jul 8 at 19:58
  • Thanks for the answer! I guess that the "auch" here refers to the fact that the children have a lot of contact in the school and get infected. As there is a cause-effect relationship between both facts, IMHO only a conclusive conjunction such as "finally" would be used in English. The "also" in your English translation seems odd. – Alan Evangelista Jul 9 at 14:24
  • @AlanEvangelista "IMHO only a conclusive conjunction such as "finally" would be used in English. The "also" in your English translation seems odd." I have tried to get the closest translations for halt and auch: halt => finally, auch => also. But yes, it sounds odd, usually you would only use finally in English. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 9 at 15:05
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Da stecken sie sich dann halt auch an. It has nothing to do with stecken. The way german verbs like, for example, anstecken, anziehen, ausfahren, hereinkommen, hinausgehen, herablassen, durchfahren are used when conjugated, like this:

  • Ich stecke mich niemals an.
  • Du steckst dich bei den anderen Menschen an.
  • Heute steckt er sich an.
  • Wird sie sich anstecken?

The halt in that sentence is just a stupid fillword, which usually means that the outcome is obvious or likely to be expected, given the context. In this context, it means that for the person speaking it's obvious that they are gonna be infected because they are kids, playing around, not being as careful.

Halt is Umgangssprache and is completely fine to be used, is often used, but is not a formal way to say things and some people tend to overuse it. And in my opinion, it has a somewhat negative tendency.

  • Wer nicht hören will der muss (halt) fühlen.
    → One that doesnt listen will have to feel it.

  • Mach halt die Tür zu.
    → Close the door, (I told you already).

  • Dann' mach halt.
    → Do it if you have to.

  • Das kannst du halt nicht machen.
    → You can't do that, obviously.

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  • the "auch" in that sentence is nothing more than an add-on, meaning essenially the same thing as "Da stecken sie sich dann halt an.(Imo just used in that context because it sounds better and lays even more focus on the fact that its obviously going to happen) – Sofia Jul 23 at 9:03
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    Stop rolling back those edits for improvement of readability (or audibility with screen readers) please! As you've already been told, using code formatting is wrong for emphasis or cites. Also see this relevant Meta post: german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/554/… – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 28 at 15:52
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    @Sofia, we're not trying to be mean (and my comment on another now locked answer of yours must have sounded quite confrontational, for which I'm sorry). But you just repeatedly ignore the consensus of an established community, after being told so. This is perceived as misbehaviour, and people are reacting accordingly. – phipsgabler Jul 30 at 9:22
  • Die Antwort einer anderen Person zu editieren heißt nicht, dass diese falsch oder schlecht ist. Meist sind es kleinere Rechtschreibfehler oder Formatierungen die korrigiert werden. Dass man das "Warum" der Edit gemacht wurde besser kommunizieren kann ist natürlich unbenommen. Stackexchange ist aber kein Word mit zig Formatierungsmöglichkeiten. Manche sind für das eine besser geeignet als das andere. Der "Preformatted text" Block hat etwa den Nachteil, dass Zeilenumbrüche manuell eingefügt werden müssen und auf kleineren Bildschirmen Scrollbalken auftauchen können. Daher die Editierungen. – mtwde Jul 30 at 9:43

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