I have the following sentence in my textbook:

Wir wollen uns nun Vokabeln zu darstellender Kunst ansehen.

As the subject is "Wir", I can say the conjugation is going to be the same as the infinitive, hence the verb "wollen" here is used, which I know means "to want / wish / desire" etc.

"nun" means "now" and "Vokabeln" means vocabulary.

Now, I thought

zu darstellender Kunst ansehen

was an infinite clause:

i.e. to see performing arts.

But if I try to put the sentence together, what I seem to get is:

We want to now Vocabulary to see performing arts.

Is this sentence wrong? Is the verb "lernen" missing here?

  • Think of "Vokabeln zu darstellender Kunst" as a single entity – npst Jan 24 '19 at 10:56

The piece

… zu darstellender Kunst ansehen …

can't be an infinitive clause. Don't let the zu fool you. It has to precede the infinitive or must be built in for separable verbs. If the zu precedes something else than an infinitive, it's a preposition. The meaning of the piece is:

… zu darstellender Kunst …

… about performing arts …

and ansehen is the infinitive belonging to the modal wollen.

  • Should it be noted that zu is a suboptimal choice here? It could be omitted, without a change of meaning. It could be "der darstellenden Kunst", or "für" or "von" – vectory Jan 23 '19 at 23:15
  • @Janka No. "Zu" can't be omitted without changing the meaning. It defines the relationship between the vocabularies and the art. Wir wollen uns nun Vokabeln darstellender Kunst ansehen would refere to vocabularies of performing art (like movements that have vocabular-like meanings). – hajef Jul 5 '19 at 14:38
  • It seems you answered a different question. – Janka Jul 5 '19 at 19:49

The sentence is correct, nothing is missing here.

Let's build the sentence beginning with this minimal sentence:

Wir sehen uns etwas an.
We look at something.

The verb »ansehen« is a separable verb, and therefore it is split into »sehen« and »an« here.

Add a modal verb:

Wir wollen uns etwas ansehen.
We want to look at something.

Now the modal word occupies position 2, so the parts of »ansehen« are joined together and stand on the last position.

When do want to do it?

Wir wollen uns nun etwas ansehen.
We now want to look at something.

But »etwas« (something) is rather wishy-washy. We want to make it more concrete:

Wir wollen uns nun Vokabeln ansehen.
We now want to look at vocabulary.

This still is too unspecified. Let's make it even more concrete:

Wir wollen uns nun Vokabeln zu darstellender Kunst ansehen.
We now want to look at vocabulary about performing Arts.

Clear now?


Wir wollen ansehen -> we want to look at ...

Now we want to look at the vocabulary of ...

darstellende Kunst = performing (dramatic) art

darstellender = genitiv of adjectiv

Darsteller = acter

darstellen = verb

darstellend = partizip present wird zu adjektiv

darstellender = adjektiviertes Verb im Genitiv

Now you can put together your sentence.

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