I'm studying German and in a book I'm reading I have the following sentence:

"Florian muss zum Arzt" ( Florian is a name )

Literally it means "Florian must to the doctor" - I do understand that it means that he has to see the doctor, but where is the verb ("to go")? Can you please point me to some information how it's grammatically possible?

Many thanks, romand


Müssen isn't always a modal verb, it can also be used as a full verb on its own, meaning to be forced to do something without specifying a verb that describes the action - it is clear from the context. The Duden lists several examples of this.

  • Even if it were a modal verb it wouldn’t need a full verb to make a complete sentence; it depends on the sentence. »Ich muss«, »ich darf«, »ich werde« all work with the correct context. – Jan Jun 3 '15 at 14:57
  • @Jan werden isn't a modal verb, and for dürfen, as for müssen, the Duden explicitly distinguishes between its usage as a modal verb with infinitive and a full verb. – Matthias Jun 3 '15 at 15:11
  • So then is a modal verb one that requires another infintive to be present? In that case, does German even have a true only-modal verb? – Jan Jun 4 '15 at 0:02
  • @Jan If you follow the classification in Duden: no. All of them have a 2nd meaning listed which is classified as Vollverb. – Matthias Jun 4 '15 at 0:15

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