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The context concerns a certain component - for brevity let's call it X. Some believe this component is the name of a single part of a multi-part whole. Others believe it is the name of the multi-part whole itself. What does "X muss auf das Ganze gehen" mean? From the context I infer it means, effectively, "X is the whole." Am I correct? The word I care about most is this sentence is aufgehen. Dictionaries are not providing clear help. I see a common definition of aufgehen in dictionaries as "rise up from." That could possibly fit the context, but I suspect it is not correct. Despite the use of the accusative, which parallels my example, this idea does not seem to fit either: Auf den Sack gehen.

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Unfortunately, your interpretation is wrong. The verb is not "aufgehen". One can tell this because the parts of a separable verb do not separate when it's in infinitive, so aufgehen is still aufgehen when combined with a modal verb like müssen.

Auf etwas gehen here means to aim at something or to go for something. So, the sentence literally means "X must go for the whole." A more idiomatic translation is probably "X has to go all in."

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  • Fabulous, RHa! Thank you. In the back of my mind I wondered about aufgehen. I should have looked up gehen + auf. This now makes sense.
    – Ben Weaver
    Commented Mar 14 at 21:27

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