Infinitive clause in German
- 1.What is a infinitive clause?
- 2.Infinitive clause with 'zu'
- 2.1.Building infinitive clauses
- 2.2.When to use the infinitive clause?
- 2.3.Verbs that initiate an infinitive clause
- 2.4.Adjectives and participles that initiate an infinitive clause
- 2.5.Nouns that initiate a infinitive clause
- 3.1.Exercise: Complete the infinitive clause
What is a infinitive clause?
As the name suggests, an infinitive clause always contains a verb in its infinitive form, which is the not-conjugated form of the verb. The infinitive can be accompanied with or without the word "zu", which is the German equivalent for "to".
|Infinitiv without 'zu'||Sie kann die Prüfung schaffen.||She can pass the test|
|Infinitiv with 'zu'||Sie hofft, die Prüfung zu schaffen.||She hopes to pass the test|
For building the infinitive clause you always need the the infinitive form with "zu"!
Infinitive clause with 'zu'
These clauses are without a subject. The subject is in the main clause, which stands before the infinitive clause. Infinitive clauses refer to the person or thing of the main clause!
Building infinitive clauses
As mentioned above, you always need zu + infinitive of the verb to build and infinitive clause. In German this combination will always be at the end of the infinitive clause, in English this is not the case.
- Ich plane (=main clause), nächsten Sommer nach Italien zu fahren (=infinitive clause). (I plan, to go to Italy next summer)
If the verb in the infinitive clause is a separable verb, then the "zu" will stand between the two parts of the verb.
- Er beginnt immer zu spät (=main clause), sich auf die Prüfung vorzubereiten (=infinitive clause). (He always begin late to prepare himself for the test)
When to use the infinitive clause?
After certain words you follow up with "zu" + infinitive. The following table provides you with the most important of these words.
Verbs that initiate an infinitive clause
|Infinitive||Translation||Main clause||Infinitive clause||Translation of the sentence|
|anbieten||To offer||Sie hat uns angeboten,||bei dem Umzug zu helfen.||She offered to help us moving|
|anfangen||To start||Morgen fängt es an,||zu schneien.||Tomorrow it will start to snow|
|aufhören||To stop||Hör bitte auf,||zu schreien.||Please stop to scream|
|beginnen||To begin||Ich beginne jetzt schon,||mich auf die Klausur vorzubereiten.||I already begin to prepare myself for the exam|
|sich bemühen||To try||Er bemüht sich,||eine neue Wohnung zu finden.||He's trying to find a new apartment|
|bitten||To ask||Ich bitte dich,||die Tür zu schließen.||I ask you to close the door|
|denken an||To remember||Denk daran,||die Wäsche aufzuhängen.||Remember to hang up the laundry|
|erlauben||To allow||Meine Eltern erlauben mir,||im Sommer nach Spanien zu fliegen.||My parents allow me to fly to spain in the summer|
|glauben||To think / To believe||Warum glaubt er,||eines Tages berühmt zu sein.||Why does he think to be famous one day?|
|hoffen auf||To hope||Sie hofft immer noch darauf,||entdeckt zu werden.||They still hope to be discovered|
|verbieten||To forbid||Ihr Vater verbietet ihr,||abends auszugehen.||He father forbids her to go out in the evening|
|vergessen||To forget||Sie hat vergessen,||mir zum Geburtstag zu gratulieren.||She forgot to congratulate me to my birthday|
|versuchen||To try||Du kannst versuchen,||auf den Baum zu klettern.||You can try to climb up the tree|
|warnen vor||To warn||Ich habe dich davor gewarnt,||mit dem Motorrad zu fahren.||I warned you to drive with the motorcycle|
In German the infinitive always stands at the end of the sentence
Adjectives and participles that initiate an infinitive clause
|Infinitive||Translation||main clause||Infinitive clause||Translation of the sentence|
|bereit sein zu||To be prepared||Ich bin dazu bereit,||die Prüfung zu schreiben.||I am prepared to write the exam|
|entschlossen sein||To be determined||Wir sind entschlossen,||nach Italien zu fahren.||We are determined to go to Italy|
|erlaubt sein||To be allowed||Es ist erlaubt,||Fragen zu stellen.||He is allowed to ask questions|
|falsch sein||To be wrong||Es war falsch,||nicht die Wahrheit zu sagen.||It was wrong not to say the truth|
|gesund sein||To be healthy||Es ist nicht gesund,||jeden Tag Eis zu essen.||It is not healthy to drink a cup of coffee each morning|
|gewohnt sein||To be used to||Ich bin es gewohnt,||jeden Morgen eine Tasse Kaffee zu trinken.||I am used to drink a cup of coffee each morning|
|leicht sein||To be easy||Es ist leicht,||einfach aufzugeben.||It is easy to just give up|
|richtig sein||To be right||Es ist richtig,||seine Meinung zu sagen.||It is right to say your opinion|
|verboten sein||To be forbidden||Es war verboten,||am Gelände zu essen.||It was forbidden to eat at the rail|
Nouns that initiate a infinitive clause
|Infinitive||Translation||Main clause||Infinitive clause||Translation of the sentence|
|die Absicht haben||To have the intention||Wir haben die Absicht,||nach Rom zu fahren.||We have the intention to go to rome|
|Angst haben (vor)||To have the fear||Sie hat Angst,||die Wahrheit zu sagen.||She has fear to say the truth|
|eine Freude sein||To be a joy||Es ist eine Freude,||dich zu sehen.||It is a joy to see you again|
|Problem haben||To have the problem||Er hat das Problem,||niemanden zu kennen.||He has the problem to know nobody|
|(keine) Zeit haben||(Not) having time||Ich habe keine Zeit,||dir zuzuhören.||I have no time to listen to you|
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