I wish to add a sentence to a software manual in German, with a meaning like this:

This keyboard shortcut is not available in the developer version.

I think that this translation is the simplest choice:

Dieses Tastenkürzel ist in der Entwicklerversion nicht verfügbar.

as I found it used in a very similar context in another software manual:

Google Books snippet of "nicht verfügbar" form

However, I noticed that the original writer of our manual preferred zur Verfügung stehen in these contexts. This is in line with the suggestion in an earlier question that the very similar zur Verfügung stellen collocation is often used in software development, though our manual never uses stellen, only stehen.

The problem is which verb form to use. The regular passive is:

Dieses Tastenkürzel wird in der Entwicklerversion nicht zur Verfügung gesteht gestanden.

But the answers and comments to the earlier question said that regular passive with stellen would be the equivalent of a future or progressive tense in English. I want to describe the present state of the software, so the "regular" passive does not seem suitable.

The statal passive is:

Dieses Tastenkürzel ist in der Entwicklerversion nicht zur Verfügung gesteht gestanden.

This emphasizes that the present state is the result of a previous action. That is the truth; the shortcut has been deliberately removed in the developer version. But the original author never used zur Verfügung stehen in the statal passive, Google Books does not have any recent examples of zur Verfügung gestanden (or ...gesteht, my mistaken conjugation) in the statal passive, and a random person on the Internet says it is wrong.

So can you use the statal passive form, ist + zur Verfügung gesteht gestanden or is that collocation wrong?

I know that German uses passive voice much less than English does. Is there some non-passive form of zur Verfügung stehen that I should use instead?

  • 3
    In addition to the answer: the participle is "gestanden", not "gesteht" (which happens to be third person singular present tense of "gestehen").
    – Carsten S
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 7:41
  • @CarstenS: Thank you Carsten. I have made an elementary mistake there and will update the question accordingly.
    – Matthew
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 18:30
  • @CarstenS I woould have rather said it is "zur Verfügung gestellt" for the first sample sentence - from "stellen". Oops, that was already said further down the thread:-)
    – Frankstr
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 17:52
  • Actually a passive of stehen is possible, but because stehen is intransitive it's the impersonal passive: Es wird gestanden.
    – RHa
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 6:10

1 Answer 1



Zur Verfügung stehen already refers to a state in active, so the sentence of choice to describe the state is:

Dieses Tastenkürzel steht in der Entwicklerversion nicht zur Verfügung.

Zur Verfügung gesteht is ungrammatical (i.e., "wrong"). The past participle of stehen would be gestanden, but isn't applicable here anyway.

I will address some aspects of this individually:

There is no passive of stehen.

There is no regular passive voice of stehen ('to stand'), because it is an intransitive verb. To my knowledge, there is no regular passive of the English equivalent to stand in the meaning 'to be upright' either.

Stehen is the result of stellen

Stehen means 'to stand', stellen means 'to make sth. stand'. Hence, stehen is kind of an Zustandsaktiv for the result of stellen. If you want for some reason to construct the Zustandspassiv (present tense) for something that literally 'is made stand', you would have to use stellen:

?Dieses Tastenkürzel ist in der Entwicklerversion nicht zur Verfügung gestellt.

This sentence is very uncommon und arguably considered bad style because it is unnecessarily complicated. It basically emanates from stehen, takes a detour to stellen to construct the Zustandspassiv, just to end up with the same meaning as stehen again.

Since you are looking for an impersonal wording, you are perfectly right that you haven't considered the Vorgangspassiv (which has an implied subject). If personalness is desired, however, Vorgangspassiv would be stylistically be more acceptable than Zustandspassiv as @O.R.Mapper and @DonHogo pointed out:

not impersonal:
Dieses Tastenkürzel wird in der Entwicklerversion nicht zur Verfügung gestellt.
Man stellt das Tastenkürzel in der Entwicklerversion nicht zur Verfügung.


zur Verfügung gestellt sein = zur Verfügung stehen

Since stehen ('to stand') equals gestellt sein ('to be made stand'), zur Verfügung stehen means nothing other than zur Verfügung gestellt sein.

Thus, the clear recommendation is:

Dieses Tastenkürzel steht in der Entwicklerversion nicht zur Verfügung.

  • 1
    This answer is extremely well-written and I will accept it immediately because I doubt that anyone can improve on it. The key point I missed is that stehen is intransitive, but you have also kindly explained the correct relationship between stehen and stellen. Thank you so much!
    – Matthew
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 6:14
  • 1
    @Matthew: I would indeed like to add a remark, which may be tangential on the grammar side of things, but relevant for choice of words: "... steht nicht zur Verfügung" just describes a fact, without giving any hint about the reasons. "... wird nicht zur Verfügung gestellt", in contrast, sounds much more "active" and implies that someone (you/the software author!) had consciously decided against making the function available (in the worst case, even intentionally making it unusable). Usually, this is not the idea you want to convey to users. Commented May 11, 2021 at 8:08
  • 2
    You could add that Vorgangspassiv (wird zur Verfügung gestellt) would work much better than Zustandspassiv in this case and isn't even totally uncommon. Still worse than simply stehen, though.
    – DonHolgo
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 8:10
  • Matthew: My pleasure! @O.R.Mapper and DonHolgo: Thanks for the remarks, added a paragraph. Commented May 14, 2021 at 1:50

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