115 I. 3
Being and Time

Anything ready-to-hand is, at the worst, appropriate for some purposes and inappropriate for others; and its 'properties' are, as it were, still bound up in these ways in which it is appropriate or inappropriate,1 just as presence-at-hand, as a possible kind of Being for something ready-to-hand, is bound up in readiness-to-hand. Serviceability too, however, as a constitutive state of equipment (and serviceability is a reference), is not an appropriateness of some entity; it is rather the condition (so far as Being is in question) which makes it possible for the character of such an entity to be defined by its appropriatenesses. But what, then, is "reference" or "assignment" to mean? To say that the Being of the ready-to-hand has the structure of assignment or reference means that it has in itself the character of having been assigned or referred [Verwiesenheit]. [84] An entity is discovered when it has been assigned or referred to something, and, referred as that entity which it is. With any such entity there is an involvement which it has in something.2 The character of Being which belongs to the ready-to-hand is just such an involvement. If something has an involvement, this implies letting it be involved in something. The relationship of the "with ... in ..." shall be indicated by the term "assignment" or "reference".3

1 The words 'property' and 'appropriateness' reflect the etymological connection of Heidegger's 'Eigenschaft' and "Geeignetheit'.

2 'Es hat mit ihm bei etwas sein Bewenden.' The terms 'Bewenden' and 'Bewandtnis' are among the most difficult for the translator. Their root meaning has to do with the way something is already 'turning' when one lets it 'go its own way', 'run its course', follow its 'bent' or 'tendency', or finish 'what it is about', 'what it is up to' or 'what it is involved in'. The German expressions, however, have no simple English equivalents, but are restricted to a rather special group of idioms such as the following, which we have taken from Wildhagen and Heraucourt's admirable English-German, German-English Dictionary (Volume II, Wiesbaden 1953): 'es dabei bewenden lassen'—'to leave it at that, to let it go at that, to let it rest there'; 'und dabei hatte es sein Bewenden'-'and there the matter ended'; 'dabei muss es sein Bewenden haben'—'there the matter must rest'—'that must suffice'; 'die Sache hat eine ganz andere Bewandtnis'—'the case is quite different'; 'damit hat es seine besondere Bewandtnis'—'there is something peculiar about it; thereby hangs a tale'; 'damit hat est folgende Bewandtnis'—'the matter as as follows'.

We have tried to render both 'Bewenden' and 'Bewandtnis' by expressions including either 'involve' or 'involvement'. But the contexts into which these words can easily be fitted in ordinary English do not correspond very well to those which are possible for 'Bewenden' and 'Bewandtnis'. Our task is further complicated by the emphasis which Heidegger gives to the prepositions 'mit' and 'bei' in connection with 'Bewenden' and 'Bewandtnis'. In passages such as the present one, it would be more idiomatic to leave these prepositions untranslated and simply write: 'Any such entity is involved in doing something', or 'Any such entity is involved in some activity'. But 'mit' and · 􀌭ei' receive so much attention in this connection that in contexts such as this we shall sometimes translate them as 'with' and 'in', though elsewhere we shall handle 'bei' very differently. (The reader must bear in mind that the kind of 'involvement' with which we are here concerned is always an involvement in some activity, which one is performing, not an involvement in circumstances in which one is 'caught' or 'entangled'.)

3 'In Bewandtnis liegt: bewenden lassen mit etwas bei etwas. Der Bezug des "mit ... bei ..." soil durch den Terminus Verweisung angezeigt werden.' Here the point seems to be that if something has an 'involvement' in the sense of 'Bewandtnis' (or rather, if there is such an involvement 'with' it), the thing which has this involvement has been 'assigned' or 'referred' for a certain activity or purpose 'in' which it may be said to be involved.