1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Meist in privaten Händen"


"Meist in privaten Händen"

January 27, 2013



I translated this as "Most in private hands," and was rebuffed. In this structure, how might one distinguish "most" from "mostly"? (zB: "Most lands are in private hands" versus "Lands mostly in private hands.)


My dictionary of choice says, meistens and meist is never most. http://dict.leo.org/?search=meistens

I think, and this is my own interpretation, 'mostly' refers to something abstract like time or times, as in 'in most cases', 'most of the times' or as a synonym for 'in general', while 'most' actually refers to something quantitive, like in my other examples. This is not completely true anyway, since mostly can mean 'größtenteils', too. But I think it's a good rule of the thumb.


Thank you. I'll remember.


“Most in private hands” would be ‘Die Meisten in privaten Händen’


What does "Mostly in private hands" even mean?


It means that most of [whatever it is] is owned by private individuals or entities--as opposed to by the government, publicly held corporations, and so on. For example: There are 600,000 artifacts from the lost city, mostly in private hands; only a few are in public museums.


More generally, “in X's hands” means that X has the power to direct or something, without necessarily owning it.


Mostly privately owned?

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.