Years ago, Berlitz taught me the construction, "eine zum Lieben" as "someone to love." I'm a bit confused by this.

There appears to be an alternate construction, "um eine zu lieben". But the one above has Lieben as a noun and zum contraction of "zu dem," is that a gerund construction?

This question comes from my translation of the latter part of the poem I cited earlier, beginning with "fame if you win it."


Rühm wenn gewonnen.
Kommt und dauert nur ein Moment.
Was is wahre wirklich im Leben?

Es ist die Liebe.
Es ist eine zum Lieben.
Einst gefunden,
Bau deine Welt herum sie

Mach eine glücklich.
Mach nur eine glücklich.
Und du wirdst auch glücklich sein.
Und du wirdst auch glücklich sein.

1 Answer 1


This is quite complicated. First, "eine zu lieben" sounds quite odd to me; especially because the verb "lieben" has a (in this context) negative connotation of "making love" – in opposition to "real, true love". So I think this translation is a no-go in this context.

I think it's better to start with the grammatical construction of the English version. Here, I think the "to love" is simply the infinitive form. It's the same in German: "[Die Antwort] ist, jemanden zu lieben". So, I think it isn't helpful to rack one's brain trying to analyze that quite strange Berlitz translation.

So, I would propose the following (using most of your translation – didn't care about syllables and rhythm):

Ruhm wenn gewonnen,
verweilt nur einen Moment.
Was ist wirklich wichtig im Leben?
Es ist die Liebe,
jemanden zu lieben.
Hast Du sie gefunden, bau Deine Welt um sie herum.

Mach' jemanden glücklich,
irgendjemanden glücklich,
und auch Du wirst glücklich sein.

  • Without looking at your translation, I came to 'jemand' too. Aber was wäre mit Ruh, wenn gewonnen - in einer Minute zerronnen? Jul 14, 2011 at 12:33
  • @user: sounds nice to me, you've just to add a 'm' to 'Ruh' ("Ruhm"), because otherwise one would think you meant 'Ruhe' (which can be shortened to 'Ruh' in poetic language).
    – tohuwawohu
    Jul 14, 2011 at 12:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.