nett, Sie kennenzulernen!

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Anne Frank

Senior Member
Russian
Hi! I started learning German, and wonder why in the sentence Nett, Sie kennenzulernen! the "zu" is right between the verbs kennen and lernen? what's the reason for it?
P.S. Pay attention that I'm not as good at German right now as want to be in the future, so please write in English.
 
  • bearded

    Senior Member
    between the verbs kennen and lernen? what's the reason for it?
    Hi
    It is not between two verbs: kennenlernen is one verb, in which the part ''kennen'' works as a separable particle (prefix). In such verbs (as you will surely learn later on) the prefix is separated from the rest of the verb in certain moods and tenses - and, if there is 'zu', this is placed between the prefix and the main verb.
    kennenlernen - Wörterbuch
    Some examples:

    Ich wollte sie kennenlernen
    Ich lernte sie kennen
    Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen.
     

    Anne Frank

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hi
    It is not between two verbs: kennenlernen is one verb, in which the part ''kennen'' works as a separable particle (prefix). In such verbs (as you will surely learn later on) the prefix is separated from the rest of the verb in certain moods and tenses - and, if there is 'zu', this is placed between the prefix and the main verb.
    kennenlernen - Wörterbuch
    Some examples:

    Ich wollte sie kennenlernen
    Ich lernte sie kennen
    Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen.
    So what does zu mean here? Is it an infinitive?
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    On a side note: You should avoid the word "nett" because it can mean both "nice" and "nice but a little dumb". ...
    Is this regional? Or a kind of sociolect? I would never think so in such context. (Nett, Sie kennenzulernen. Schön Sie kennenzulernen. "Es freut mich, sie kennenzulernen." is often just an empty phrase (Floskel). So there is not much difference. It is just a friendly remark at the beginning.
     
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    Anne Frank

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It is like 'to' in English: nice TO meet you / nice TO become acquainted with you. The verb is in the infinitive.
    I got it, but it still feels like there’s two verbs in one anyhow, and they are quite the same: that’s nice know to learn you, that’s how it actually sounds to me. Far too confusing....
     

    Anne Frank

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I can only tell you the German figure of speech (Redewendung) for "nett": "Nett ist die kleine Schwester von scheiße" (Nice is shitty's little sister). So in my neck of the woods we try to avoid "nett" ;)
    But the question is if it goes like that only in your neck of woods, or in the whole Germany. That’s what matters.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Nett, Sie kennenzulernen!

    The phrase is called "erweiterter Infinitiv mit "zu" = extended infinitive with "zu". It is grammatically an infinitive group. See also Wikipedia Infinitivgruppe – Wikipedia


    The extended part is "Sie",

    "Nett" is the main clause in an abbreviated manner (It is in complete form: "Es ist nett.".

    The comma clarifies the structure.

    A simple infinitive ( "bloßer Infinitiv/einfacher Infinitiv) with "zu" is "kennenzulernen". But it is usually not used in this way, because it needs an accusative object.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    I can only tell you the German figure of speech (Redewendung) for "nett": "Nett ist die kleine Schwester von scheiße" (Nice is shitty's little sister). So in my neck of the woods we try to avoid "nett" ;)
    Here an example, where "nett" is pejorative (ironische Bedeutung!)
    um auszudrücken, dass man jemanden oder etwas gar nicht gut findet
    "Das ist ja ein netter Freund! Erst leihe ich ihm mein Geld, und dann haut er mit meiner Frau ab”
    aber das ist etwas ganz Anderes als "Nett, Sie kennenzulernen!"
     
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    Alemanita

    Senior Member
    German, Germany
    I can only tell you the German figure of speech (Redewendung) for "nett": "Nett ist die kleine Schwester von scheiße" (Nice is shitty's little sister). So in my neck of the woods we try to avoid "nett" ;)
    Für jemanden, der in Kapitel 1 oder 2 der deutschen Sprache herumstolpert, ist diese Bemerkung wirklich wenig hilfreich.
    Das Hauptaugenmerk der Frage war doch auf dem 'zu'. Wenn du den Ausdruck "Freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen" bevorzugst, bleibt doch die Frage nach dem "zu".
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    bleibt doch die Frage nach dem "zu".
    that’s nice know to learn you, that’s how it actually sounds to me. Far too confusing....
    If it is not used in a compound word, ''kennen'' is of course a verb infinitive in its full right. But, as I wrote before, 'kennen' can also be used as a prefix or 'separable particle' before the verb 'lernen'. Kennenlernen (literally ''learn to know'', not know to learn) is therefore a separable verb (like, say, ''einschlafen'') and means ''to know someone for the first time/to become acquainted with someone''. Like with all separable verbs, when there is 'zu'+infinitive, the 'zu' must be inserted between the prefix and the main verb:
    Es ist schön, hier einzuschlafen (it is nice to fall asleep here)
    Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen (I am glad to meet you/to become acquainted with you.

    Anne Frank, please let me/us know whether my explanation now clarified the issue, or if you are still confused.
     
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    Anne Frank

    Senior Member
    Russian
    If it is not used in a compound word, ''kennen'' is of course a verb infinitive in its full right. But, as I wrote before, 'kennen' can also be used as a prefix or 'separable particle' before the verb 'lernen'. Kennenlernen (literally ''learn to know'', not know to learn) is therefore a separable verb (like, say ''einschlafen'') and means ''to know someone for the first time/to become acquainted with someone''. Like with all separable verbs, when there is 'zu'+infinitive, the 'zu' must be inserted between the prefix and the main verb:
    Es ist schön, hier einzuschlafen (it is nice to fall asleep here)
    Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen (I am glad to meet you/to become acquainted with you.

    Anne Frank, please let me/us know whether my explanation now clarified the issue, or if you are still confused.
    Yeah, it’s became clearer now, but still demands some comprehension... would you please tell me what level students start to learn it on?.(I mean A1-B1-C1 and so on)
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    would you please tell me what level students start to learn it on?.(I mean A1-B1-C1 and so on)
    Sorry, I am not familiar with those levels, because I learnt German long ago... I would say that you will probably meet 'kennenlernen' together with the separable verbs. These usually have a chapter of their own in grammar books, and never at the beginning of the grammar, since their use is a bit complicated. Good luck!
     
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