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While going through the following sentence I got confused about the structure of sentence after coma. Why verb is coming at last place?

"Die großen Leute haben mir geraten, mit den Zeichnungen von offenen oder geschlossenen Riesenschlangen aufzuhören"

Is it that "mit" is acting as subordinating conjunction

  • No, it's not acting as a conjunction. It's standing at the position where you usually find subordinating conjunctions, but that's not the same thing. The subordinated clause doesn't have a conjunction - the mit is just a regular preposition that happens to come first in the subclause. – Kilian Foth Jun 15 '19 at 8:13
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Die großen Leute haben mir geraten, mit den Zeichnungen von offenen oder geschlossenen Riesenschlangen aufzuhören.

I don't question the meaning of this sentence. It's grammatically okay, though mit dem Zeichnen is more idiomatic than mit den Zeichnungen.

I've marked the tricky detail you are looking for. The zu in aufzuhören. This is the zu-Infinitiv of the verb aufhören, and thus, this is an infinitive clause. These clauses aren't lead by a conjunction.


Infinitive clauses are a special type of clause German has. It replaces an object clause when the subject in the object clause and the main clause are the same.

Ich hatte irgendwann damit angefangen, dass ich Riesenschlangen zeichne.

Here, zeichne is a finite verb in an object clause lead by dass. The whole clause is an object to the finite verb hatte angefangen in the main clause. Both subjects are the same, ich. So German speakers instead say:

Ich hatte irgendwann damit angefangen, Riesenschlangen zu zeichnen.

Instead of a finite verb, we now have a zu-Infinitiv. The subject is gone, as well as the conjunction.

Back to your example. With an equivalent object clause, it reads

Die großen Leute haben mir geraten, dass ich mit den Zeichnungen von offenen oder geschlossenen Riesenschlangen aufhöre.

In the rare case of subject clauses, infinitive clauses can also replace those:

Es ist doch selbstverständlich, dass ich dir helfe.

Es ist doch selbstverständlich, dir zu helfen.


How to spot those special clauses? Look for the zu, either in front of an infinitive, or between prefix and stem.

CAVEAT: There are a few verbs with a zu in their normal infinitive, e.g. zusammenzucken. The zu-Infinitiv of that verb is zusammenzuzucken.

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  • Vielen Dank für die Erklärung! – Anand Sangwan Jun 14 '19 at 18:41
  • Nichts zu danken. – Janka Jun 14 '19 at 18:41
  • The zu-Infinitiv is often used in places where in English one would use a gerund. Compare Die Leute haben mir geraten, mit dem Zeichnen aufzuhören / People advised me to stop drawing. – RHa Jun 15 '19 at 11:39
  • Well … no. In your example, the gerund is drawing. The German zu-Infinitiv aufzuhören drops in where English has its infinitive to stop. I've made a short list of usages of the zu-Infinitiv here: german.stackexchange.com/questions/39346/… – Janka Jun 15 '19 at 11:57

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