1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

Er half mir, das Gepäck (zu) tragen (zu + Infinitiv)

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by u100, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. u100 Junior Member

    ______
    Hi

    I'm not sure why you don't put "zu" in these sentences:

    Die Mutter legt das Kind schlafen.
    Er half mir die Zusammenhänge richtig verstehen.

    And why you put it here:
    Er half mir das Gepäck zu tragen.
     
  2. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

    Germany
    German
    "jmd. schlafen legen" is a fixed expression, no need for "zu" here.

    In your second and third example, the "zu" is optional:

    Er half mir die Zusammenhänge richtig (zu) verstehen.
    Er half mir das Gepäck (zu) tragen.

    However, I would prefer the variant with "zu" in both cases.
     
  3. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    I've commented before that the distribution of bare infinitive vs infinitive with zu/to is actually quite similar in English and German. Also with "help":

    He helped me understand the meaning of the poem. :tick:
    He helped me to understand the meaning of the poem. :tick:

    It seems to be rare in both English and German that to/zu is optional, so it's interesting the "help" and "helfen" share this property.

    Of course, there are also important differences between the two languages with respect to use of the infinitive.
     
  4. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    Sometimes "helfen" behaves like a modal auxiliary, sometime it behaves like a full verb.
    If it behaves like an auxiliary, you combine it with a plain infinitive and in compound past tenses you have an Ersatzinfinitiv instead of the past participle (Partizip 2).
    If it behaves like a full verb, you combine it with a zu-infinitive and you would construct it with a past participle (Partizip 2) to form the compound past tenses.
     
  5. u100 Junior Member

    ______
    Thank you very much :)
     
  6. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    Er hat mir die Zusammenhänge richtig verstehen helfen.
    I simply can't force myself to find it correct.
     

Share This Page