I’m bumping into this English to German translation in our software:

Project bookings to be approved -> Zu genehmigende Projektbuchungen

I’m Dutch, but something does not sound correct here. Shouldn’t it be Zu genehmigen Projektbuchungen (or maybe Projektbuchungen zu genehmigen)?

Maybe my confusion comes from the distinction between items to be approved and items to approve?

1 Answer 1


Zu genehmigende Projektbuchungen

is correct as it is. It is a present participle ("genehmigend") combined with "zu" (this combination expresses that something needs to be done), and used like an adjective (which is why it is inflected according to the following noun, "Projektbuchungen", by adding an "e").

More information and examples for this are available e.g. here.

As mentioned above, this construction indicates that something needs to be done. However, items to approve and items to be approved cannot quite be distinguished like this (and I am not sure what the semantic difference would be).

As pointed out in the linked article, this can be used only in an attributive fashion ("zu genehmigende Projektbuchungen"), not as "Projektbuchungen sind zu genehmigend". In the latter case, the infinitive with "zu" replaces the present participle with "zu": "Projektbuchungen sind zu genehmigen".

Zu genehmigen Projektbuchungen

would be incorrect; it would not be a grammatically correct construction. With an additional colon, it might be transformed into a somewhat unelegant alternative way of expressing "Projektbuchungen sind zu genehmigen":

Zu genehmigen: Projektbuchungen

This would only make sense if there were several statuses, though (such as "zu genehmigen"), and several items that are affected by one of those statuses, as in:

zu genehmigen: Projektbuchungen, Kaffeekontingent

erledigt: Begrüßung, Überweisung der Gebühren, Gefangenenaustausch

Projektbuchungen zu genehmigen

could be correct, but usually only in the context of a longer sentence. For example:

Es sind noch mehrere Projektbuchungen zu genehmigen.

  • 4
    Ich hätte gerne für den Gefangenenaustausch noch mal +1 gegeben... Nur, um eventuell zu hören, was denn sonst noch so auf dieser todo-Liste steht?
    – Burki
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 13:05

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