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When using a clause as a subject, does one need to use a comma to delimit the clause? And should the verb be conjugated in plural or singular? Or is it preferable to use another kind of construction?

Wenn man einen Teilsatz als Subjekt benutzt, braucht man dann ein Komma, um den Teilsatz abzugrenzen? Und sollte das Verb im Plural oder Singular stehen? Ist es vielleicht besser, den Satz anders zu formulieren?

Was wir während dieser Phase machen, ist die Dateien prüfen und die Programme installieren.

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Perhaps you can add some examples. Would be nice. – bernd_k Jun 7 '11 at 12:36
@bernd_k: Is the example I gave not enough? – Eldros Jun 7 '11 at 13:31
Yes it is enough. – bernd_k Jun 7 '11 at 13:41
I think it should read "Translation" and not "Traduction", right? – Hendrik Vogt Jun 7 '11 at 13:51
There also a comma is missing between "ist" and "die". :) – ladybug Jun 7 '11 at 14:48
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You need the comma there, yes. The sentence sounds a little odd to me. I would probably rather write:

Während dieser Phase prüfen wir die Dateien und installieren die Programme.

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The sentence in the version from Eldros looks like a bit like a "Rohfassung" (concept?), the way some Germans initially write down there thoughts before they polish them for the "Reinschrift" (fair copy). – bernd_k Jun 7 '11 at 13:33
Abgesehen von der Zeichensetzung, die ich meist falsch mache: Ist dies nicht eine typische Gelegenheit für die Verwendung des Infinitiv mit zu? Was wir während dieser Phase machen, ist, die Dateien zu prüfen und die Programme zu installieren.? I ask, whether this isn't a typical case to use some zu in the infinite form (while warning about the way I put the commas - a weakness of mine). – user unknown Jun 7 '11 at 18:24
@user: Yes, see thei's answer. – Hendrik Vogt Jun 8 '11 at 9:19
@bernd_k: Well I seem to only be able to write in Rohfassung until now, even after 4 year living in Germany. – Eldros Sep 19 '11 at 15:03

There is something wrong with the example sentence because you cannot put disconnected phrases as a subject like that.

I propose as the nearest correct equivalent (not necessarily the stylistically best way to convey the message):

Was wir während dieser Phase machen, ist das Prüfen der Dateien und das Installieren der Programme.


Was wir während dieser Phase machen, ist (es), die Dateien zu prüfen und die Programme zu installieren.

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