kennen (zu) lernen

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by sirix, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. sirix Member

    Szczecin, Poland
    Poland, Polish
    when one uses "kennen lernen" and when "kennen zu lernen". Specific eamples would be best.
  2. Toadie

    Toadie Senior Member

    It's the same thing, actually, it's all just a matter of when you use "zu" with verbs.

    You wouldn't say:
    "Ich möchte nach Deutschland zu fahren." but rather "Ich möchte nach Deutschland fahren.", because möchten is a modal verb.

    On the flipside, you wouldn't say:
    "Es fängt an, regnen." but rather "Es fängt an, zu regnen." because anfangen isn't a modal verb (or lassen, I should add).

    This applies with kennenlernen as well. You wouldn't say:
    "Die möchte ich kennenzulernen."
    but rather:
    "Die möchte ich kennenlernen."
    because möchten is a modal verb, meaning the "zu" is not needed.

    There is a common phrase:
    "Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen." (not "Sie kennenlernen")
    The "zu" is included because "sich freuen" is not modal.

    Does that help at all?

    EDIT: Bitte, kann mir ein Muttersprachler sagen, ob ich das richtig erklärt habe? Danke :p
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  3. Sidjanga Senior Member

    German;southern tendencies

    I think you're quite right, I'd just like to stress/underline what you say and what you don't say, and make a few other commments.
    Good job! :)

    Maybe as a further illustration:

    Ich möchte ihn gerne kennen lernen. (möchten = modal verb -> no "zu")

    When you actually meet him, you may say:
    Schön(,) dich kennen zu lernen. (no modal verb, but "schön" -> infinitive with "zu")

  4. sirix Member

    Szczecin, Poland
    Poland, Polish
    Well, I don't grasp it yet, but thanks anyway :). Could somebody give some other example of using "kennen zu lernen", besides variations of "Es freut mich, Sie kennen zu lernen."?

    And, is the following gramatically correct? (I'm aware that it's probably strange thing to say on the street... :)
    Es freut mich, die Möglichkeit des Sie Kennenlernen?

    Or maybe this one:
    Es freut mich, die Siekennezulernenmöglichkeit.
  5. Toadie

    Toadie Senior Member

    Definitely NOT that one, and the first one is messed up too.

    I think it would be better as:
    Ich freue mich auf die Möglichkeit, Sie kennenzulernen. (oder kennen zu lernen)

    Or possible this (in a more roundabout way):
    Ich würde mich freuen, wenn ich Sie kennenlernen könnte.
    That one seems a bit less idiomatic though.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008
  6. sirix Member

    Szczecin, Poland
    Poland, Polish
    Well, I wanted to use "das Kennenlernen" (as a noun), or "das Kennenzulernen", if the latter's more apropriate.

    Still I'd appreciate if some native could confirm if quoted Toadie's sentence is correct (or say why it's not).
  7. Toadie

    Toadie Senior Member

    The "noun" form (actually the gerund) never has zu. It would without a doubt be "das Kennenlernen", but it wouldn't sound idiomatic to use it in this case.

    Still, "Siekennenzulernenmöglichkeit" is without a doubt, not a word.
  8. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm not a native, but I can confirm that Toadie's sentences are correct and that yours are not.

    I'm slightly perplexed as to why you are bringing up nominalized forms when your original question was about when zu needs to be used with the infinitive (which has nothing to do with nouns).

    Quite frankly, I think you need to grab a good grammar book and learn all about when zu is used with the infinitive and when it isn't. There is nothing special about kennenlernen in this regard; it behaves just like other infinitives as far as zu is concerned. Your question, then, is a broad one that cannot be reasonably treated in a single thread. There are numerous situations in which zu is used, and a whole bunch in which it is not, and I'm afraid a random list of examples is unlikely to be of much help to you in the long run.
  9. sirix Member

    Szczecin, Poland
    Poland, Polish
    Worry not, it helped a lot. Or at least a little.

    I guess that these are The Rules, and one just memorizes them. Still, some of them are very confusing to me. Take this one:

    arbeiten ist besser, als im Liegestuhl zu liegen

    Am I right therefore that "Walking is better than lying." is "Gehen ist besser als zu liegen." ? (If I was to give my shot I would say "Gehen ist besser als Liegen.")

    Another one:
    ich sehe keine Möglichkeit, das zu tun
    is also strange to me, because I expect come connecting word in place of a comma ("für",say).

    But guess I'll have to live with all that :)
  10. Toadie

    Toadie Senior Member

    "Gehen ist besser als liegen" is right. The reason you use "zu" in the example provided was because there was another part to the sentence. It was not just "als zu liegen" but "als im Liegestuhl zu liegen." When it's just a verb, you don't need the "zu" for this structure.
  11. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    You can also say:
    "Zu gehen ist besser als zu liegen."

    Usually you use parallel (equal) constructions in such sentences.
  12. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    It is much better to use verbs, as already stated by the others.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  13. sirix Member

    Szczecin, Poland
    Poland, Polish
    Many thanks!
    I sort of suspected that both construction _should_ be more-or-less correct, in the academic sense at least. Speaking natively highly inflected language (polish) should afterall provide me with good intuitions...

    Once more - thank you very much, because I started to doubt it :).
  14. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Hi, in such cases the orthography is very important. If it is wrong, you cannot understand without difficulties.
  15. Schiffers Member

    Related to the use of "kennen zu lernen", I have a dative/akkusative question.
    In the following sentence the personal pronoun/object is in the akkusative: "Ich freue mich shon darauf, Sie/euch kennen zu lernen". My only confusion lies in the fact that "zu" is a dative preposition. However, in this instance is it a case that as "kennen" is an akkusative verb it prevails. I am currently studying two way prepositions and my current studies do not seem to fit with this phrase. Any feedback on this is much appreciated. Schiffers.
  16. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

    In this case, "zu" is a conjunction not a preposition.

    Ich habe keine Zeit zum Lernen. (preposition, zum = zu+dem)
    Ich habe keine Zeit, zu lernen. (conjunction)
  17. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Well, strictly speaking it is a dative. The dative can have adverbial meaning and the entire infinitive clause Sie kennen zu lernen is a dative adverbial adjunct. The old dative gerund ze lernenne later lost its dative ending (-ne) and merged with the nominative (originally: nominative: lernen, dative: ze lernenne) only retaining the preposition zu as a case marker, i.e. ze lernenne became zu lernen. Today, this original nature of the infinitive with zu as a dative gerund is not transparent any more and zu is re-analysed as a conjunction. This is analogous to the adverbial full infinitive in English derived from the Old English dative gerund as in ic habbe þone mete to etanne > I have [that] food to eat (John 4,32).
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  18. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    English (US)

    I write, not to disagree with anything Demi or Bernd said, but to try to address Schiffers's confusion more directly.

    It's not sufficient that "zu" appear in a sentence for every noun in the sentence to take the dative. Using English terminology, the noun has to be the "object of the preposition" zu. In "Mein Freund geht zur Schule", only "Schule" (not "Freund") is dative because only "Schule" is the object of "zu".

    In the case of your sentence, not only is "Sie/euch" not the object of "zu", but "zu" (as Demi points out) is not even a preposition, but rather an adjunct to the infinitive, as in English "to learn". So your sentence is analogous to the English "I want to see you", in which it should be clear that "you" is simply the accusative object of "see" and that the "to" has nothing to do with determining case.

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