können hinein ohne zu klingeln

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Chong, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Chong New Member

    I'm reading my little book that I use to study German, and there's a sentence that says, „Herr und Frau Lessing und die beiden älteren Kinder haben jeder einen Hausschlüssel und können hinein ohne zu klingeln.“ I read this as, "Mr. and Mrs. Lessing and both of the older children each have a key and can inside without ringing the bell." Is some conjugation of „gehen“ not needed here?
  2. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Kraków, Poland
    German & AmE
    Hinein is actually the prefix attached to the verb 'gehen' hier. But I suppose that, due to the distinctive meaning it carries as opposed to prefixes like ver-, um-, zer-, etc., it's possible to leave out the verb 'gehen'.

    So it's equally correct to say:
    "... und können hineingehen ohne zu klingeln."
    "... und können hinein ohne zu klingeln."

    However, this only applies if an auxiliary verb is used.

    "Wir müssen hinein."
    "Wir können hinein."
    "Wir sollen hinein."
    "Wir dürfen hinein."

    If anything, then leaving out 'gehen' could be considered informal, but I don't think that even that applies here.
  3. Chong New Member

    Do you think that it's something I'd ever hear?
  4. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Kraków, Poland
    German & AmE
    Yes, it definitely is. Such an omission is actually more common in spoken language than a sentence with the verb, at least in my experience.
    By the way, more often than not, you will also hear 'rein' instead of 'hinein'.

    "Wir müssen rein."
    "Wir können rein."
    "Wir sollen rein."
    "Wir dürfen rein."

    The same rules apply to the following forms of 'gehen':

    hereingehen (reingehen)
    herausgehen (rausgehen)
    heruntergehen (runtergehen)
    heraufgehen (raufgehen)

    In each case, the prefix is seperable from the verb and can be used on its own when an auxiliary verb is used. The verbs in brackets are the colloquial equivalents.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  5. Chong New Member

    Alrighty then. Danke schön : )
  6. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    We do something similar in English when we say "I want in". We just don't do it with verbs like can.
  7. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Aren't you comparing apples and oranges? "Want" is a main verb, so there's no difference between "I go in", "I want in", "I want a hamburger" etc. while in German the main verb can be dropped in certain cases, e.g.

    "Ich mag nicht ins Kino."
    "Ich darf nicht in die Disco."
    "Ich kann Spanisch."
    "Ich muss mal."
  8. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    No. My point was that there are some situations in English where the verb of motion can be omitted, similar to the German omission of the verb of motion with modal verbs.

    I want in is in no way analogous to I want a hamburger. Those are truly apples and oranges.:D

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