Ich versuchte, Brot zu kaufen /Ich versuchte Brot zu kaufen


Senior Member
British English
Ich versuchte, Brot zu kaufen.

Ich versuchte Brot zu kaufen.

Google shows an interesting mix of the two. Is this a grammar point that troubles native speakers or is there a difference?
  • Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    You may, but you don't need to put a comma here in order to show the structure of the sentence. In this case, however, I wouldn't put a comma, because unlike in the case of ...

    Ich bitte, dich nach Hause zu fahren.

    (I ask so. else to give you a ride home)

    Ich bitte dich, nach Hause zu fahren.
    (I ask you to drive home yourself)

    ... there is no need whatsoever to show the boundaries of the infinitive clause in your above sentence..


    Senior Member
    I would set it so the reader can see the sentence structure easier without thinking about it. But because the sentence is very short, the reformer allowed to omit it now - or to set it, as you like it.

    For me it is easier to read the structure if you set the comma. It is not necessary even to think about different possibilities if it is set.

    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks. Perhaps I might suggest as respective English renderings (Gernot):

    I'm offering to drive you home.

    I'm asking you to drive home.

    And yes, one of the purposes of punctuation is to help the reader go more easily on his/her way, not to have to work things out or think about different possibilities.
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