I would like to nominalize this phrase but I’m having difficulties using be. When I google it, the verb be is missing in the translation. The German verbs sein or werden are hidden in the Portmanteau morpheme im and that’s why we don’t need to use sein or werden?

Could you please evaluate my translation below?

Being aware of the fact that their partners in the group count on them can increase students’ motivation.

Im Bewusstsein der Tatsache, dass ihre Partner in der Gruppe, die auf sie bauen, können die Motivation Studenten/-innen erhöhen.

Are also my following translations fine?

Wenn sie sich bewusst sein, dass …

In dem Bewusstsein, dass …

Im Bewusstsein, dass …

  • The 2nd translation has at least a typo, replace sts by ss. I'm not sure, whether the space before sein is intentional - it is wrong, since then bewusst would become an adverb as in 1st sentence and must start with an lowercase letter.
    – guidot
    Dec 4, 2015 at 7:58

3 Answers 3


Oh, there is some subject mess-up in your attempt that might be confusing. Let's dissect the original first.

Being aware of the fact that their partners in the group count on them can increase students’ motivation.

Now, subject first: Who or what does something? Note that in English we have SVO, so:

[Being aware of the fact that their partners in the group count on them]...

Now we replace this just for a moment with a perfunctory pronoun (we will get back to the original later) just to get the rest of the sentence right:

[This]... -> [Das]

The verb must match the subject which is 3rd person singular (as nothing indicates otherwise), the rest is just fine, except for the missing article:

[Das] kann (not können) die Motivation der Studenten/-innen erhöhen.

So back to the subject and the nifty normalization.

Subject means nominative, and "being" translates as "das Sein", with the "what" put in front — good old compound nouns in German. Therefore:

Being aware -> Das Bewusstsein (think: "bewusst-Sein")
(Other examples: das Alleinsein, das Glücklichsein,...)

The "of the fact" may be translated as "der Tatsache", but this is actually a set phrase in English which may be omitted in German (yay!), so let's do so.

And finally, there is a complete subordinate clause hidden in the English original, which gets translated very straight-forward into German, no fuss required.

[that their partners in the group count on them]

Leaving us with:

Das Bewusstsein (der Tatsache), dass ihre Partner in der Gruppe auf sie zählen, kann die Motivation der Studenten/-innen erhöhen.


My Translation would be:

Sich der Tatsache bewusst zu sein, dass die Partner in einer Gruppe auf einen zählen, kann die Motivation von Studenten/-innen steigern

From the other translations, the first should be used with sind and not sein. The other two are correct, but I wouldn't use them.

  • The other two are obviously not correct. You can't use "Im Bewusstsein" as a subject of a sentence. "Das Bewusstsein, dass ..., kann die Motivation der Studenten/-innen erhöhen." would be grammatically correct, even though it sounds unidiomatic.
    – Uwe
    Dec 4, 2015 at 12:21
  • @Uwe How about the sentence: "Im Bewusstsein, dass ..., können die Studenten/-innen ihre Motivation steigern." I think it's grammatically correct, but I wouldn't use it either... Dec 4, 2015 at 12:33
  • Yes, it's grammatically correct, but in my mind, that changes the meaning of the sentence.
    – Uwe
    Dec 4, 2015 at 15:41
  • @Uwe Then how you say "being in x is very nice e.g. in deutschland? Dec 5, 2015 at 7:55
  • @user1474062 "In Deutschland zu sein ist sehr schön", or, more idiomatically, "Es ist sehr schön, in Deutschland zu sein." But that construction is grammatically different, since "in" refers to "Deutschland", not to "sein".
    – Uwe
    Dec 5, 2015 at 17:56

As Stephie points out, a translation attempt is made difficult by the fact, that the English sentence is quite strange already, using abstract substantives and hiding the real acting subject (the students) in an unusual remote position. So let me first rephrase the English sentence to focus to the assumed meaning.

Students, which are aware of their team members relying on them, tend to be more motivated (than the others, which are not).

Here I assume, that can in the original sentence means, that some students are still bored, no matter, what they consider.

Translation of the rephrased sentence is easier, but nevertheless:

Studenten, die sich bewusst machen, dass ihre Gruppenmitglieder auf sie angewiesen sind, sind im Durchschnitt besser motiviert.

  • First sentence of the question: "I would like to nominalize this phrase..." So this is clearly not what OP asked for.
    – Stephie
    Dec 5, 2015 at 7:24

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