28 February 2012


Overheard in a crowd in Stuttgart: Ich möchte dich ungerne verlieren.

Translation: "I would like to lose you [in the crowd] unwillingly" or "I would like unwillingly to lose you."

Instead of saying the equivalent of "I would NOT like to lose you", the speaker said she WOULD like to lose the other person, but unwillingly (ungerne).

What's going on here? I had never heard such a construction before. Seems a little convoluted for a simple thought. I wonder whether the speaker changed her mind mid-sentence...

Maybe my German-speaking acquaintances can enlighten me?


  1. HAHAHA! I love it! 'I wish I could "accidentally" lose you in the crowd and then we'd be separated... that would be so sad and not at all my hope.' Seems like nobody ever taught this lady that some thoughts need to stay inside...

  2. It's just a turn of phrase, I'm sure. Similar to when French women shop and exclaim: "Oh, this skirt isn't ugly" (meaning 'I really like it'), or "I don't dislike these shoes, you know" (meaning, 'I must have them'). And then people wonder why French people are so negative.:)

    I'm anonymous, but you know who I am.

    1. Dear Anonymous, those aren't bad ideas. And it doesn't make sense. And I don't know who you are. :-)