Reading an article in Handelsblatt come across this sentence "Düsseldorf. Der drastische Anstieg der Gaspreise zwingt nun auch in Deutschland einen ersten Versorger zur Aufgabe"


Looked up "Aufgabe" in dict.cc and the translation "surrender" did not quite fit.

What is the meaning of "zur Augabe" in this context?

Why is the preposition "zu" used in this context?

  • 2
    While dict.cc may be a useful tool, but it doesn't replace an actual dictionary with written out definitions instead of single word translations. You should probably check at least two, preferably three or four different references as your "due diligence" before asking here. Another thing to consider is that it's not immediately clear there are two related questions here; both are in the title but only one is in the question body. You should be aware that many people skim the title and only read the question, or vice versa.
    – RDBury
    Sep 25, 2021 at 13:53
  • 1
    Edited the text to include the question in the main body.
    – John Lamb
    Sep 25, 2021 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


I think the real cause the problems here is the verb zwingen. In this case it's part of the prepositional verb zwingen + zu, where the zu is followed by an abstract noun or a nominalized verb. Some examples are:

  • zum Rücktritt zwingen -- "to be forced to resign"
  • zum Handeln zwingen -- "to be forced to act"

and in your case

  • zur Aufgabe zwingen -- "to be forced to surrender/give up"

I think there was another recent question here about aufgeben/Aufgabe; it's rather tricky since it seems to span a broader range of meanings than any single English word can handle. The exact English translation will depend very much on context. In this case we're talking about a business so you might say "withdraw from the market" to be very specific.

Prepositional verbs in general aren't covered well in dictionaries and one has to glean what one can from usage examples etc. In this case dict.cc does cover it, see zwingen under 2 Words: Verbs. Another good source is the wonderful DWDS usage database, see zwingen (Wortprofil) and check the entries under hat Präpositionalgruppe.

  • PS. The other question I was thinking of was Ich werde vs. Ich werde mich. I doesn't seem to be very helpful for this question though.
    – RDBury
    Sep 25, 2021 at 14:57

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