haben wir sie davon abhalten können


Senior Member
English (BrE)
"Wie es aussieht, haben wir sie davon abhalten können, in die Siedlung einzudringen!"

I have no idea why the infinitive "können" is used here instead of the past participle "gekonnt". Considering that the sentence starts with "haben wir", shouldn't you say instead:

"Wie es aussieht, haben wir sie davon abhalten gekonnt, in die Siedlung einzudringen!"
  • Demiurg

    Senior Member
    That's called Ersatzinfinitiv (substitute infinitive).
    In the complex tense forms of some verbs the past participle is substituted by the present infinitive when it comes after an infinitive.

    Always with the modal verbs dürfen, können, mögen, müssen, sollen, wollen and with brauchen ...
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    I have a question.
    Usually I use the "Ersatzinfinitiv" "können", too. But ocassionally I say "gekonnt". Is this simply wrong; or is it colloquial language or even standard language?
    What is the difference in style?
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