I came across the following question asking to choose the right word so that the sentences are synonymous.

A. Du musst dein Benehmen verbessern.

B. Dein Benehmen lässt zu (___) übrig.

  1. begehren 2. fordern 3. verlangen 4. wünschen

The answer is 4.

The question is, why are the other three wrong? Perhaps 1. is dated. However, as for fordern and verlangen, I don't see particularly why they don't fit. Should I think it is a matter of idiomaticity?

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is a fixed phrase, see DWDS, so idiomaticity is the cause.

  • 2
    A similar case is the English phrase "it leaves a lot to be desired". This is a bit more variable than the German "zu wünschen übrig lassen", but to my knowledge the verb "desire" isn't typically changed there, too. Commented May 18 at 17:00

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