0

Under the topic of infinitives, my grammar book[1] notes the construction “zum + infinitival noun + bringen / kommen” is used as a phrasal verb to express the completion of an action. Two examples are offered:

zum Halten bringen / kommen – bring / come to a stop

zum Kochen bringen / kommen – bring/come to the boil

I then tried to find examples of these constructions in full sentences and after checking Duden, canoonet.eu, I found the following examples on linguee.com:

(a) Wie aber können wir unser Raumschiff am Ziel zum Halten bringen, ohne Treibstoff zum Abbremsen zu benutzen?[2]

(b) Nur soviel Wasser zum Kochen bringen, wie auch wirklich gebraucht wird.[3]

(c) Erklärtes Ziel von Toastmasters ist, dass bei jedem Club-Treffen möglichst alle Anwesenden zum Sprechen kommen.[4]

(d) Mögen die Bilder und Texte auf diesen Seiten Sie inspirieren, erfrischen, zum Weinen bringen, zum Lachen, Sie ärgern.[5]

In examples (a) and (b), there is the sense that after the verb halten and kochen has acted, the space ship does come to a stop and the water is now boiling, the verb actions are complete.

For (c) and (d), I don’t understand where the meaning of completion is. If anything, in these examples, the verbs are acting sufficiently enough to indicate that a person is now "talking" or "crying" and leave the next steps open.

Sources:

  1. “Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage – 3rd Edition”, Martin Durrell, 1996, Arnold.

  2. Linguee search - zum Halten bringen

  3. Linguee search - zum Kochen bringen

  4. Linguee search - zum Sprechen kommen

  5. Linguee search - zum Weinen bringen

3

Bringen zu plus infinitive can be used to form causatives from intransitive verbs. I see no aspectual component. This is the case for examples a), b), d).

Sie brachte ihren Bruder zum Weinen.
She made her brother cry.

Sie brachte ihn zum Aufgeben.
She made him give up.

Der Lokomotivführer brachte den Zug zum Stehen.
"The train driver made the train stand."
The train driver brought the train to a halt.

Kommen zu plus infinitive can be used to signify that a state is reached eventually, after a certain amount of time has passed.

Das Fahrzeug schlitterte an den Straßenrand und kam zum Stehen.
The vehicle skidded to the side of the road and came to a halt.

However, example c) is different. Just as for English get to, the meaning seems to have shifted from reaching a certain place to being able to make time for a certain activity.

Ich komme nie zum Aufräumen.
I never have time to clean up.

Ich hoffe, ich komme heute noch zum Trainieren.
I hope I manage to make time for training today.

Wir kamen nicht dazu, den Louvre zu besuchen.
We didn't get to (or manage to) visit the Louvre.

These verbs are highly polysemous, so there will be many other uses. For instance, kommen zu plus a deverbal noun has a passive meaning.

Die Polizei setzt Wasserwerfer ein.
= Die Polizei bringt Wasserwerfer zum Einsatz.
The police are using water cannons.

Wasserwerfer kommen zum Einsatz.
Water cannons are being used.

Also, zu itself can be a final preposition, i.e. express a purpose.

Ich komme zum Trainieren hierher, nicht zum Reden.
I go here in order to train, not to talk.

1
  • 1
    Nice analysis. However in "zu itself can be a causal preposition. Ich komme zum Trainieren hierher, nicht zum Reden. I go here in order to train, not to talk "zu" is a final and not a causal preposition.
    – Nico
    Mar 14 '20 at 19:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.