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Are these sentences correct German, and do they mean the same thing?

Ich habe dir schwer zu schaffen gemacht.

From DWDS: umgangssprachlich ⟨etw., jmd. macht jmdm. zu schaffen⟩etw., jmd. verursacht jmdm. Schwierigkeiten, Mühe, Sorgen:

Ich habe es gemacht, dir schwer zu schaffen.

or

Ich habe es dir schwer gemacht.

Are there reasons to prefer any?

2 Answers 2

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These three sentences don't mean the same thing.

Ich habe dir schwer zu schaffen gemacht.

This means: "I have caused you a lot of work" or "I have caused you a lot of trouble". Literally it translates to: "I created hard work for you".

Ich habe es gemacht, dir schwer zu schaffen.

This is just gibberish.

Ich habe es dir schwer gemacht.

This just means: "I made it difficult for you".

In the first sentence "schwer" is part of the phrase "schwer zu schaffen", which means "hard work to do", in the third sentence "schwer" means "difficult".

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  • The sentence I wrote was the, "Ich habe es gemacht, dir schwer zu schaffen." Both DeepL and Google Translate translate this sentence into English exactly as I intended. I would appreciate understanding why this is "gibberish".
    – user44591
    Mar 9, 2023 at 19:35
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    @user44591 Maybe you can elaborate what grammatical construction you think this sentence is following. It is hard to show the that something is not grammatical in general.
    – Helena
    Mar 9, 2023 at 19:51
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    @user44591 translators are no grammar checkers. They don't highlight errors in their input data in general. They try to still provide an output with a probable meaning. For example, the input "I mae it difficult you." is not correct English, but deepL still produces several plausible suggestions for correct German sentences.
    – Hulk
    Mar 12, 2023 at 15:00
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I don't understand the middle one, possibly something got mixed up there.

The others are pretty similar, dictionaries did not confirm my assumption, that the former is a colloquial phrase.

Zu schaffen machen is more frequently used, when the cause can't be directly assigned to a person, resulting in: Etwas macht mir zu schaffen.

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