“Zu” is more than a just a preposition — Using zu-constructions

In one of my lessons this week a student asked me about the word “zu”. She knew that zu is a dative preposition and that it means to in English. I was very happy to hear that those facts about zu had stayed with my student. But then I had to give her a little more information: zu can also be used like the English word too (z.B. zu viel, zu gross, zu spät). When I asked her why she was suddenly asking about the word zu. She then told me that she had recently realized that there are often sentences in German that end with zu and a verb. And there it was… the zu-construction.

We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/zu-is-more-than-a-just-a-preposition-using-zu-constructions/



  1. Mwachai Mwakaphingo Mwadzowa · · Reply

    I just started learning german two months ago and i would wish to continue therefore assist me with some of the nouns with there articles because i have a problem with that

  2. […] ‘something’” we can use the conjunction couplet “ohne…zu”. Remember the post on “zu”? The verb after zu is always in the infinitive! If there is an object or additional information in […]

  3. […] Notice that in the first clause there is no verb and no subject. They are both implied. The “herzliche Glückwünsche” are that, which you are wishing the recipients. “Zur Geburt” is in the dative because of the preposition “zu” and “Geburt being “die”. “Eures Stammhalters” is in the genitive, literally meaning “of your son and heir”. The second sentence has the standard nominative (subject) in the first position followed by the verb (reflexive verb in this case). Then comes the da-compound and the accusative “ihn” (who you will meet) and then a zu + infinitive. […]

  4. […] Note that the invitations may not always be for birthday parties, but often also to visit businesses and for marketing purposes, like in the examples above. In the second example we see a good use of a zu-construction. […]

  5. Samansiri Nanayakkara · · Reply

    Hello! wonderful post. Could you please explain about phrases that END with zu ? z.B Sie…sah nun, die Haende tief in den Jacke vergraben, mit ausdrucksloser Miene ihren Kollegen von der Spurensicherung ZU, die eine zeltplane ueber das Loch zu ihren Fuessen spannten. Vielen Dank!

    1. Das Wort “zu” passt hier zum Verb. Das Verb ist eigentlich “zusehen” — trennbares Verb. Schau mal hier: https://christianlangenegger.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/german-verbs-with-separable-prefixes-trennbare-verben/

      1. Samansiri Nanayakkara · ·

        Right! Ich danke Ihnen.

  6. […] post that gets a great deal of attention is the one about how zu is not always used as an preposition, but often with verbs whereby it is followed by the infinitive of the verb. If you haven’t […]

  7. can you please tell.is this sentence require um..zu construction?
    ER liest abends im bett ein buch.Er mochte mude werden.

    1. Abends liest er ein Buch im Bett, um sich müde zu machen. Das geht ja, “He reads in bed at night to make hiself tired.”

  8. please i would like to know more about passive sentence in german.thanks

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