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I have three questions regarding this sentence:

Seine Fähigkeit zuzuhören machte ihn zu einem guten Manager.

  1. Is "zuzuhören" correct or should it be "zu zuhören"?
  2. Should the sentence contain a comma before "zuzuhören" (or somewhere else)? I mean like the comma in the following sentence: Er hatte die Fähigkeit, Menschen zu inspirieren.
  3. Can the other zu be omitted? In that case the sentence would be: Seine Fähigkeit zuzuhören machte ihn einen guten Manager.
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The sentence with all 3 zu is correct.

Zuzuhören is the erweiterter infinitiv mit zu of zuhören (listen). It's a separable verb where the zu is inserted in the middle in this infinitive form.

A comma is not necessary and I think there must not be one. The infinite is the subject of the sentences and it cannot stand without it.

The last zu is imho also necessary. Sth makes s/o sth - - etwas macht jemanden zu etwas

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  1. zuzuhören is correct. Zuhören is a separable verb. The "zu" in "zuhören" has more in common with the preposition "zu" than with the "zu" that goes with an infinitive. These are two different uses of "zu". English has the same two separate meanings of "to" ("She asked him to go to the store.").

    The infinitive with zu is built by inserting zu between the separable part and the main part: zuzuhören, So if the infinitive without "zu" is written in one word, the infinitive with "zu" is also written in one word.

    Another arbitrary example for a separable verb would be angeben. An example for an idiom that is not a separable verb is frei haben (to have time off):

angeben - er gibt an - anzugeben
zuhören - sie hört zu - zuzuhören
frei haben - ihr habt frei - frei zu haben

  1. In your example sentence, "zuzuhören" is an infinitive clause that consists of only this single word. If the infinitive was expanded with more words ("erweiterter Infinitiv"), a comma could be used to separate the infinitive clause from the main clause, but with one word it is inserted into the sentence without a comma.

Seine Fähigkeit zuzuhören machte ihn zu einem guten Manager.
Seine Fähigkeit, seinen Kollegen und Kunden zuzuhören, machte ihn zu einem guten Manager.

  1. The German idiom meaning "to make somebody (or something) something" is "jemanden (oder etwas) zu etwas machen". So this is different from English. It's the prepositional zu that is used here.

Im Jahr 2019 machte ihn die Firma zum Manager der Filiale.
Seine Fähigkeit zuzuhören machte ihn zu einem guten Manager.

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  1. Is "zuzuhören" correct or should it be "zu zuhören"?
    The word "zuzuhören" is correct, "zu zuhören" would be wrong.

    The English verb "to listen" is "zuhören" in German. This is a separable verb. Being separable means, that in some situations the verb's prefix (here: "zu") can be separated from the verb and stand at the very end of a sentence:

    Futur I, not separated:
    Sonja wird ihrem Freund, der sie auf so unwürdige Weise betrogen hat, nicht zuhören.
    Sonja will not listen to her boyfriend who betrayed her in such an undignified way.

    Präsens, separated, "zu" at the end:
    Sonja hört ihrem Freund, der sie auf so unwürdige Weise betrogen hat, nicht zu.
    Sonja does not listen to her boyfriend who betrayed her in such an undignified way.

    In some sentences you use a construction named "erweiterter Infinitiv mit zu" If the verb, used in such a construction is not separable, the particle "zu" appears as an individual word before the verb:

    Ich bitte dich zu gehen.
    I ask you to go.

    If the verb is separable, the particle "zu" becomes an infix that squeezes into the word between the separable prefix (which is not separated now) and the main part of the verb (einkaufen = to go shopping):

    Ich bitte dich einzukaufen.
    I ask you to go shopping.

    The same happens to separable verbs which begin with the prefix "zu":

    Ich bitte dich zuzuhören.
    I ask you to listen.

    There also is the german verb "zurren" (to lash, to frap) and derived fromm it we have the separable ver "zuzurren" (to tie up, to fasten literal: to lash close) which also can be used in the same manner:

    Ich bitte dich den Rucksack zuzuzurren.
    I ask you to fasten the backpack.

  2. Should the sentence contain a comma before "zuzuhören" (or somewhere else)?
    No. A comma would be wrong. The part "Seine Fähigkeit zuzuhören" is the subject of the sentence. You never separate the subject from the rest of the sentence.

  3. Can the other zu be omitted?
    No. This "zu" must stay where it is.

    • correct:

      Seine Fähigkeit zuzuhören machte ihn zu einem guten Manager.
      His ability to listen turned him into a good manager

    • wrong:

      Seine Fähigkeit zuzuhören machte ihn einem guten Manager.
      His ability to listen turned him a good manager.

    If you use the verb "machen" in the sense of "to turn", you always need the word "zu" too.

    jemanden zu etwas machen = to turn someone into something

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