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Ich gehe in ein Restaurant essen.

Ich gehe in ein Restaurant zum Essen.

Do both sentences work? What is the difference besides here Essen is a noun and not a verb?

  • Both sound a bit clumsy, IMO. I would say: Ich gehe essen. The restaurant would be implied. If it were not in a restaurant, I would mention that. – Rudy Velthuis Jun 18 '18 at 13:52
  • For me as an Austrian native speaker, using then noun in zum Essen implies that you are talking about a recurring meal time (say Mittagessen). Normally, you would have the meal at home, but today, you'll have it at a restaurant. – Hermann Schachner Jun 23 '18 at 9:09
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Both sentences mean the same thing.

At first I thought that Ich gehe in ein Restaurant zum Essen puts emphasis on the fact that you're going there to eat (and not to have a drink) and that Ich gehe in ein Restaurant essen puts emphasis on the fact that you're going to eat at a restaurant.

However, it occurred to me that both sentences can be pronounced so that the mean both.

Ich gehe in ein Restaurant essen (emphasis on the restaurant)
Ich gehe in ein Restaurant essen (emphasis on eating there)
Ich gehe in ein Restaurant zum Essen
Ich gehe in ein Restaurant zum Essen

The sentence Ich gehe in ein Restaurant zum Essen could (and this would be a very rare interpretation) also mean something like If I do eat at all, I will do so at a restaurant and nowhere else.

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