0

The simply connector "dass" sends the verb at the end of the sentence. I have always learned it in this way but, one trainer says this is not true.

Here is the sentence:

Michael says, that doing more work is crazy.

I wrote this way because I learnt this way of structure:

Michael sagt, dass mehr Arbeit verrückt zu machen ist.
Michael sagt, dass mehr Wissenschaft verrückt zu lernen ist.

This is by the trainer:

Michael sagt, dass mehr Arbeit zu machen verrückt ist.

The trainer says we can write the verb in the middle too that will act as a component for the noun Arbeit.

What my trainer said and wrote is correct according to dass format?

5
  • 1
    1. The word »verrückt« is an adjective, not a noun. Only nouns are written with uppercase first letter. This is a error that I corrected in your posting. 2. Grammar is the science of building sentences. Grammar is not the science of buildings fragments of sentences. Therefore I replaced the underlines by some concrete words. – Hubert Schölnast Apr 5 at 10:21
  • 1
    The verb "ist" is at the end of your sentence as well as at the end your your trainer's sentence. Your problem does not really seem to be related to your question. – Carsten S Apr 5 at 10:22
  • Somewhat unrelated, but "Arbeit machen" is not really German. In most cases it will be better to just use "arbeiten". There is also "Arbeit erledigen", but it has a slightly different connotation. – Carsten S Apr 5 at 10:24
  • @Carsten S: Just as in English you'd normally say "I'm working," instead of "I'm doing work." I can see how circumstances might change that though, for example if you're complaining about a lazy coworker you might say Ich mache seine Arbeit und meine eigene. I was also wondering if tun be used here instead of machen, but that seems to be covered here – RDBury Apr 5 at 16:17
  • @RDBury, good example, in that case I also find that it sounds natural. – Carsten S Apr 5 at 18:23
1

Words like "dass", "da", "weil", "dadurch", "wenn", "falls", "obwohl", "als" and some more are called »unterordnende Konjunktionen« in German which literally translates to "subordinating conjunctions" but the term used in English grammar is just "subjunction".

A subjunction introduces a new class of clauses which are called "subordinate clauses". (In German: »Nebensätze« which literally is "aside clause" or "lateral clause")

In a subordinate Clause the finite verb is at the end of a sentence, while in closes questions and some jokes it stands at position 1 and in main clauses of statements at position 2.
So, indeed, the effect of a subordinating conjunction is just what you described: The finite verb moves from position 2 to the end. But only the finite verb moves. All infinite verbs and all words that aren't verbs stay where they are.


Let's start with the subordinate clause from your example and let's act as if it was a main clause:

English: Doing more work is crazy.

German Version 1: Mehr Arbeit zu machen ist verrückt. (This is the literal translation. It's correct, but stylistic it's not the best version in German.)

German Version 2: Mehr zu arbeiten ist verrückt. (Sounds much better in German. Literall: Working more is crazy.)

What is the finite verb in all these sentences?

In the English sentence the finite verb is: »is« and in the German sentences it is »ist«.

So, turning those main clauses into subordinate clauses will not change the word order of the English sentence, but in the German sentences the finite verb must move to the end:

Eng: Michael says, that doing more work is crazy.
Ger 1: Michael sagt, dass mehr Arbeit zu machen verrückt ist.
Ger 2: Michael sagt, dass mehr zu Arbeiten verrückt ist.

These are correct German sentences.


What did you do wrong?

In your version you also moved the words »zu machen« to the end of the sentence, but these words belong to the subject (not only in German, but also in the English sentence) and so you cut the subject into pieces, which is not allowed in German.

These words together are the subjects of the sentences:

doing more work
mehr Arbeit zu machen

working more
mehr zu arbeiten

The German construction is called »Infinitivgruppe mit zu«. It only can be the subject of a sentence if the verb is a copula (»sein«, »werden«, »bleiben« and sometimes also some other verbs). And this is the case in your example.

3
  • On the last point, I can see where most verbs would not be usable with a zu clause, but is it really only copulative verbs? A few minutes with DeepL produced Dieses Gericht zuzubereiten dauert eine Stunde. I don't think you can call dauern a copulative verb. If this is wrong then please explain why because I seem to be missing something. – RDBury Apr 5 at 15:36
  • Copulas are verbs that indicate the occurrence, existence, or persistence of a state. This does not have to be only the three verbs »werden«, »sein« and »bleiben«. When other verbs are used in this function, they are also copula. An example of this is also the word »heißen« in the sentence »Ich heiße Hubert«. Also »dauern« in »Die Tätigkeit dauert eine Stunde.« is another example. I edited my answer to make it clearer. – Hubert Schölnast Apr 5 at 15:49
  • We must have different ideas on what counts as a copula/copulative verb. But Duden and DWDS don't agree on which part of speech nicht is, so how you define what may depend on who you ask. Definitions are neither right or wrong, just more or less commonly accepted. – RDBury Apr 5 at 16:13
2

Note that "zu machen" is syntactically not part of the verb but part of the group "mehr Arbeit zu machen" which is the subject of the subclause. This group must precede the predicative "verrückt". That's why the word order "Michael sagt, dass mehr Arbeit zu machen verrückt ist." is correct.

Btw I would prefer the the translation ... dass mehr Arbeit zu tun verrückt ist. or ... dass mehr Arbeit zu leisten verrückt ist.

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