Danish: when push comes to shove

aparis2

Senior Member
American English
Hello. How does one say "when push comes to shove" in Danish? There are different nuanced meanings, but I mean it as "if we absolutely must" or "if there's no other choice." Thank you in advance!
 
  • bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    aparis2, do you have a specific sentence in mind that you could share with us?

    I like Billebob's second suggestion, hvis ikke det/det ikke kan være anderledes (literally if it can't be any different). Or you could say, hvis det er strengt nødvendigt (if it's absolutely necessary), hvis vi er hårdt presset (if [we're] hard pressed) or hvis den er helt gal (if we're in too deep), just to mention a few other possibilities.

    But...I can't think of a situation where I'd use når det kommer til stykket (when it comes right down to it, when it really matters) for this particular English idiom.

    Maybe we can be more helpful if we have the actual sentence to work with.

    Bic.
     
    But...I can't think of a situation where I'd use når det kommer til stykket (when it comes right down to it, when it really matters) for this particular English idiom.

    Maybe we can be more helpful if we have the actual sentence to work with.

    EN "When push came to shove, we were always there for each other".
    DA "Når det kom til stykket var vi der altid for hinanden"
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    This may be a difficult one to explain, but in my view there’s a difference here, albeit subtle:

    Når det kommer til stykket tells me how a situation is in reality, in essence, when you really consider the situation, when it comes right down to it… frequently this is in contrast to what people might have thought otherwise. Politicians always promise the world, but when it comes right down to it they don’t follow through on their promises... (men når det kommer til stykket, i virkeligheden, når det gælder holder de alligevel ikke, hvad de har lovet.) Example inspired by ordnet.dk. når det kommer til stykket — Den Danske Ordbog

    That’s also how I interpret your example above in post #6.

    When push comes to shove: “if you say that something can be done if push comes to shove, you mean that it can be done if the situation is so bad that you have to do it.” I think this is the meaning the OP wants to convey, i.e. “if we absolutely must, if there’s no other choice”

    Look, if push comes to shove we'll just have to sell the car
    if push comes to shove


    I wouldn’t use når det kommer til stykket in the above example, would you? (i.e. hør engang, når det kommer til stykket, må vi bare sælge bilen :cross:).
    [I'd suggest, hvis det går helt galt, hvis det bliver nødvendigt, hvis ikke det kan være anderledes, må vi bare sælge bilen.]



    But as I said above, it’s a lot easier to be helpful if we have a specific sentence example to work with…

    Bic.
     
    Last edited:

    Beninu

    New Member
    Danish
    EN "When push came to shove, we were always there for each other".
    DA "Når det kom til stykket var vi der altid for hinanden"
    Or:
    DA "Når det virkelig gjaldt, var vi der altid for hinanden".

    I know this thread is old but I think this is worth mentioning. I saw someone mentioned "når det gælder" which is present tense, while "når det virkelig gjaldt" is past tense. "Virkelig" is just an adverb meaning "really" which brings the meaning closer to the that of the English idiom "When push comes to shove". (Reason: "When push comes to shove" as an idiom describes an extreme, hence the Danish adverb "virkelig")
     

    PoulBA

    Member
    Danish
    EN "When push came to shove, we were always there for each other".
    når det virkelig brændte på, var vi der altid for hinanden - should convey the meaning
     
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