zum Mitnehmen, zum Lachen

scarlet o horror

New Member
English
Zum is a contraction of zu + dem. Ok, but why is to takeout known as "zum mitnehmen"? Has zum got some other cultural use that I don't understand? Why does the last edition of Zitty magazine have written on the cover: "Zum Lachen, Zum Weinen, Zum Haare raufen"? Why does a flyer say "zeit zum Aufstehen!".

I suspect that this is in every case "zu + dem", and that the verbs here are being used as nouns (but I want someone to confirm it for me). Does this mean in German the infinitive forms are always nouns when used without a pronoun etc.
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    That is correct. Serving as a verbal noun, roughly corresponding to the English gerund, is the main function of the stand alone infinitive. You actually spell is "zum Mitnehmen" and not "zum mitnehmen" to indicate its meaning as a noun.
     

    scarlet o horror

    New Member
    English
    Thankyou! And in the examples I gave does, "zum" always translate to "for the"? - or can it have different meanings?

    ie: for the laughter, for the tears, for the hair ruffling? for the takeout? time for the stand up?
     

    Kurtchen

    Senior Member
    German - Norddeutschland
    Thankyou! And in the examples I gave does, "zum" always translate to "for the"? - or can it have different meanings?

    ie: for the laughter, for the tears, for the hair ruffling? for the takeout? time for the stand up?


    It is implicit; something (in this case food) to take out, something to make you cry, something that makes you pull your hair out, something to laugh about, time to get up, etc. :)
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Thankyou! And in the examples I gave does, "zum" always translate to "for the"? - or can it have different meanings?

    ie: for the laughter, for the tears, for the hair ruffling? for the takeout? time for the stand up?

    If you wanted to translate it literally you would get:
    zum lachen - to the laughing
    zum Weinen - to the crying
    zum Haareraufen - to the hair ruffling
    zum Mitnehmen - to the taking with
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Thankyou! And in the examples I gave does, "zum" always translate to "for the"? - or can it have different meanings
    As Bernd already pointed out this would be the literal translation.

    But to get a correct and idiomatic English translation you should of course follow your own native speaker intuition and use appropriate pronouns (or whatever else seems to be appropriate).
    Many times you wouldn't translate German verbal nouns to English nouns or gerund or whatever but you use different constructions; like in "Zeit zum Aufstehen" (verbal noun which seems to be infinitive but isn't: infinitive would be "Zeit aufzustehen"*) which would not be very idiomatic) > "time to get up" (simple infinitive): and there are no 'special' meanings intended with these German constructions - both those sentences mean exactly the same.

    *) Only in writing this I noticed that "zu" is part of the verb in this case; same would go for "mitzunehmen" - "zum Mitnehmen"; but this doesn't mean that the same construction isn't possible with other verbal nouns, see "zum Weinen" as quoted by you already: infinitive here is simply "weinen", nevertheless it just works the same: "Es ist zum Weinen" > "It makes you cry".
     

    scarlet o horror

    New Member
    English
    Ok, and I guess the verbal nouns are always neutral in gender, hence the abbreviation to zum (zu + dem). I could investigate this whole thing further but it's not worth it. Case closed. Thanks to everyone!
     
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