I've read on the internet the following sentence

Ich mache heute Sport"

I was wondering why there is no Article used here?
I have read this question and still not able to understand why is it the case?

  • german.stackexchange.com/questions/9789/… Does this help you?
    – choXer
    Jan 5 at 21:15
  • It's the same as in English "to do sports" - also without an article.
    – RHa
    Jan 5 at 23:06
  • @choXer it's very specific context, but thanks
    – Mahmoud
    Jan 6 at 10:38
  • @RHa AFAIK people don't normally say "I'm doing sport today, or I'm going out to do sport today" it sounds weird to me, besides, sports in your example is plural and indefinite so it doesn't take an article anyway.
    – Mahmoud
    Jan 6 at 10:41
  • @Mahmoud Although Sport is not plural, it is indefinite in the German sentence too. That's why it doesn't require an article.
    – RHa
    Jan 6 at 11:00

First note that the German Sport may mean something other than the English "sport"; it can mean sports in general or even an active hobby. It can be used with treiben or machen to form what are basically new verbs meaning "to do sports", "to exercise" etc. In this case Sport is an abstract noun so it doesn't need an article, though maybe you could add one if you were doing one specific sport. I don't know why you would do that; if you were going to play tennis you'd just say Ich spiele Tennis.

Edit: The (something) + machen pattern can use either a singular noun, a plural noun, or an abstract noun, and it's not always clear from the meaning which should be used. Examples:

  • ein Foto machen (singular noun) ― "to take a picture"
  • Ausflüchte machen (plural noun) ― "to make excuses"
  • *Platz machen (abstract noun) ― "to make room"

(See the Wiktionary entry for more examples.) In this case English prefers the collective, plural noun "sports" while German thinks of it as an abstract noun. I don't think there is a specific rule for this, in fact I don't think there's even a rule to tell you that you can use machen here instead of one of the other verbs that serve a similar purpose. (The technical term is "Light verb" ― Funktionsverb). For example:

  • eine Entscheidung treffen ― "to make a decision"
  • Stellung nehmen ― "to comment"

I think it's best to think of these as fixed phrases where the meaning is usually clear but the exact words are somewhat arbitrary. Note that English has these verbs as well, and the word choice can be just as arbitrary, see the Wiktionary appendix for more information.

  • In English even abstract Nouns need articles, does that mean in Deutsch you can omit the articles with abstract Nouns? Also, does that mean "Sport machen" together is actually forming a new verb here "to do sport", in this case it's intransitive verb right? Because there is no object in that sentence.
    – Mahmoud
    Jan 6 at 10:47
  • It is not true that abstract nouns always need an article in English. Counterexamples from Wikipedia: "Physics is the natural science that studies matter", "Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resource".
    – RHa
    Jan 6 at 10:57
  • @Mahmoud: I might have said 'uncountable' instead of 'abstract', but it would be a bit circular since 'uncountable' just means that it doesn't need an article. As a rule of thumb, abstractions are usually uncountable in German as in English (though they don't always agree). In this case you might think of Sport as the act of doing a particular type of activity, so an abstraction. English uses the collective noun "sports" for the same thing, but this is one of the ways Sport differs from "sport". I'll try to expand my answer to cover this better.
    – RDBury
    Jan 6 at 13:19
  • It's funny to recognize, that language per se is the application of abstraction. It's abstractions all the way down (or up). Sport, Ballsport, Tennis, gemischtes Einzel. An welchem Punkt es ins explizit Abstrakte umschlägt scheint mir willkürlich zu sein, faktisch sagt man aber tatsächlich nicht "Ich mache heute Hobby", obwohl das noch absdtrakter ist, oder "Ich mache heute Bewegung", was ja bei fast allen Sportarten der Fall ist, aber auch Spazierengehen/Wandern umfassen würden. Jan 6 at 15:18
  • I think it couldn't be more clear, really :) thank you very much!
    – Mahmoud
    Jan 6 at 15:31

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