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In the following sentence:

Nach getaner Arbeit ist gut ruhen.

Should "ruhen" be in lower case (verb) or upper case (noun)?

And what is the exact translation of the sentence? Is it something like:

  1. It's good to rest after work is done.
  2. You can take a good rest after work is done.

1 Answer 1

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"Ruhen" in this case is a verb and therefore written with a lowercase "r". But this construction is rather outdated. You probably won't find it outside of old quotes or sayings (like this one) in modern German.

The meaning is more along the lines of "If you've finished all your work, you can rest (especially) good" (because there are no nagging unfinished tasks in the back of your head).

In modern German you could phrase it as "Nach getaner Arbeit kann man gut ruhen".

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  • What is this construction of "sein + Infinitiv" called? Aug 25, 2021 at 20:40
  • @KeN SmilePachI: My impression is that the gut, or some adjective, is (or was) needed in addition to sein and the infinitive. I'd call it a form of gerund, which is basically where you use a verb as a noun. English typically uses the "-ing" form for gerunds, but German typically uses the infinitive instead. So a literal translation might be "After finished work, resting is good (better than usual)."
    – RDBury
    Aug 25, 2021 at 23:59
  • Perhaps you could give version that's more idiomatic for modern German. I'm thinking a zu clause would work: Nach getaner Arbeit ist es gut/besser, zu ruhen.
    – RDBury
    Aug 26, 2021 at 0:21
  • @RDBury Good idea, thanks. I edited the answer. I think that a construction with "können" conveys better the implied comparision, "resting after the work is done vs. resting while still some work is left". Aug 26, 2021 at 8:25
  • @KeNSmilePachI, no. "Ist gut ruhen" here means "you can/are allowed to have a good rest". Quite oldfashoned wording, anyway.
    – vonbrand
    Aug 27, 2021 at 2:24

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