I encountered these sentences in Memrise:

Engländer lieben es über das Wetter zu reden.
Junge Leute lieben über Filme und Musik zu reden.

What is the role of es in the first sentence? Why is it absent in the second sentence?

I guess it has something to do with the object being plural (Filme und Musik) instead of singular (das Wetter), but is there a general rule? Are there other verbs following the same pattern?

  • 3
    Note that, according to § 75(3) of the official spelling rules, there shall be a comma in „Engländer lieben es, über das Wetter zu reden“. The exception E1 only applies to pure infinitives („Engländer lieben es(,) zu reden“), but not to expanded infinitives („Engländer lieben es, über das Wetter zu reden“). – user9551 Oct 8 '15 at 12:21
  • Your question is a special example of topic "verb needs object" – äüö Oct 8 '15 at 12:42

The difference has nothing whatsoever with singular and plural. The first sentence is correct, and the second is simply wrong.

The role of es is pretty much the same as that role of it in

I love it when a plan comes together.

But unlike English, German requires the placeholder for the kind of infinitive construction you named. The closest equivalent without the placeholder would be

Junge Leute reden liebend gerne über Filme und Musik.

  • Closer to the original: "Junge Leute lieben das über Filme und Musik Reden" or "Junge Leute lieben das Reden über Filme und Musik". Although I'm not sure if the first one has to be hyphenated. – Em1 Oct 8 '15 at 12:31
  • 1
    Great, thanks! Now I'm getting it, I think. Should I edit/remove the question because of the invalid sentence? – pwl Oct 8 '15 at 12:32
  • @pwl No. Especially when assuming you copied it correctly from Memrise. Then this is an error that others might stumble upon, too. You cannot delete the question anyway since it has an answer, and editing would falsify the answer. – Em1 Oct 8 '15 at 12:34
  • @Em1 Yes, that should be “durchgekoppelt”, starting with then uppercased über. It’s also not good style. The answer should include the info from Loong’s comment: Junge Leute lieben zu reden would be acceptable without an es. Infinitives quickly get complicated when there are objects involved. – Crissov Oct 8 '15 at 17:55

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.