Here are two examples:

  1. Beim entscheiden scheint die Farbe der Autos wichtig zu sein.
  2. Bei der Entscheidung scheint die Farbe der Autos wichtig zu sein.

What is correct and when exactly to use a noun and verb respectively?

2 Answers 2


Both your examples are correct and mean the same.

Beim Entscheiden...

Here, Entscheiden needs a capital E because it's used like a noun (Substantivierung).

The version with the noun sounds a bit more formal to me, but then again nouns and passive voice are really popular in formal texts anyway.

  • Beim Entscheiden is also more abstract then Bei der Entscheidung. If the decision has already been made at a certain point in time the latter would be preferred.
    – RHa
    Mar 16, 2018 at 8:37
  • "Both ... are correct", but you are writing it in capital then, so it is not correct? From my point of view this difference is very important.
    – Thomas
    Mar 16, 2018 at 12:10
  • 1
    @Thomas They are both correct to use, and just a little spelling mistake doesn't make it completely wrong.
    – Robert
    Mar 16, 2018 at 14:49

Your premise, that one is a verb and the other is a noun is wrong. Both are nouns. Both nouns are derived from verbs.

Fusions of prepositions and artices

Note, that in German there are some words, that are fusions of two other words, like »don't« or »I'll« in English are fusions of »do + not« and »I + will«.

Fusions of a preposition and an article are very common in German:

  • im = in dem
  • am = an dem (regional also: auf + dem)
  • beim = bei dem
  • vom = von dem
  • zum = zu dem
  • zur = zu der
  • ins = in das

(In colloquial speech you find also vorm, hinterm, hinters, unterm, unters, aufs, durchs and some more, but they are not part of standard German)
So, when ever you see one of these words, you know that it is a preposition and an article at the same time.

das Entscheiden

the decide
well, the noun »the decide« doesn't exist in English, but it is the most verbatim way to translate »das Entscheiden«.

So, when you hear »beim Entscheiden«, you know that it is the same as »bei dem Entscheiden«, which means: there is an article. But you also know, that an article always accompanies a noun, and so you know that »Entscheiden« must be a noun. In German all nouns need to be written with an uppercase first letter.

The German name for this kind of nouns is »substantiviertes Verb« which is »nominalized verb« in English, but this name is missleading, becasue it is not a verb. It is a noun. A better name would be »verbbasiertes Substantiv« (»verb-based noun«).

This kind of nominalization is rare in English. You just have:

The use of liquid hydrogen is dangerous. (but: I will use liquid hydrogen.)
A change might help. (but: He will change.)
The increase of his stocks was disappointing. (but: They will increase.)
The murder of Mr Miller has been cleared up. (but: She will murder him.)

In German we use this feature more often, so you find much more nouns of this type in German than in English. All nouns that are build this way (i.e. which are identical with the infinitive form of the verb, except of the capitalization) are neuter, which means that in nominative case their article is »das«, and in dative case (as in your example) it is always »dem«.

This kind of nouns describe the action itself, not it's result.

die Entscheidung

the decision

There is another kind of nominalization of verbs: Add the suffix -ung to the verbs stem. You can do the same in English with the suffix -ion:

ausstellen - die Ausstellung (to exhibit - the exhibition)
verbinden - die Verbindung (to connect - the connection)
ausbilden - die Ausbildung (to educate - the education)
entscheiden - die Entscheidung (to decide - the decision)

Those words also are nouns that are based on verbs. But since all words that end with the suffix -ung in german are nouns, it is much easier to identify them as nouns. (Well, »jung« is an exception, but here -ung is not a suffix)

All nouns that end with the suffix -ung are feminine. (And again, there is an exception: »der Dung« is male, but here again -ung is not a suffix)

Words of this class can mean the action itself, but very often they mean the result of the action. Many words can mean both, depending on the context:

  • action:

    Michael lernt während seiner Ausbildung Autos zu lackieren.
    Michael learns to paint cars during his training.

  • result:

    Mit deiner Ausbildung wirst du leicht einen Job bekommen.
    With your education you will easily get a job.

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