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I want to say "Football is a game consisting of two halves."

If I want to use a relative clause, I can say

(a) Fußball ist ein Spiel, das aus zwei Hälften besteht.

But can I use bestehend for consisting, as in

(b) Fußball ist ein Spiel bestehend aus zwei Hälften.

?

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Fussball ist ein Spiel mit zwei Halbzeiten. - I wouldn't say besteht aus in German in any case, if I had to use a verb, it would be haben: "Fussball ist ein Spiel, das zwei Halbzeiten hat." or as in my first example: "Fussball hat zwei Halbzeiten." –  Em1 Oct 2 '13 at 6:57
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is possible, but not idiomatic, i.e. a native speaker normally wouldn't say so. In your version b, the participle phrase is an apposition (which also means that it should be separated from the word it refers to by a comma). Attributive use is possible as well, but not any more idiomatic:

Fußball ist ein aus zwei Hälften bestehendes Spiel.

The common way to express this is indeed with a relative clause, as in your version a.

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We do not usually use the present participle in the same context as we do in English. It is gramatically possible but we still prefer to express this in a relative clause - see your example a) and the answer given.

Another approach is to avoid the construct as a whole by concatenating "Fußball" and "ist ein Spiel" to a compound, and then use present tense for the verb bestehen. This also avoids juxtaposing sein and bestehen with their very similar meanings.

Ein Fußballspiel besteht aus zwei Hälften.

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