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A question in a Zeit Online interview reads:

Du hast im vergangenen Jahr zum ersten Mal eine Verhaltenstherapie gemacht. Musstest du dich zu ihr überwinden?

How can I decide when it is better to use the preposition + pronoun combination (in this case, zu + ihr), and when the "da" + preposition compound (e.g. dazu) is preferable?

https://www.zeit.de/gesundheit/2021-07/lebenskrisen-bewaeltigen-maenner-psyche-therapie-erfahrungsbericht

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A helpful rule of thumb is that you tend to refer to persons with personal pronouns ("zu ihr") and to things, actions, concepts etc. with compound adverbs ("dazu"). This implies that the example sentence would be better off using "dazu", and indeed I find that as written it sounds slightly off.

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  • Thanks. It sounded a bit odd to me too - especially in a mainstream media outlet. But maybe this 'odd' usage is becoming more common in colloquial German.
    – Shoe
    Jul 11 at 9:46

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