Ich liebe Katzen in jeder Gestalt und Größe und werde ihnen helfen, um ein gutes Leben zu führen.

I wrote this sentence for a writing exercise in German. A native told me that I should drop the "um" in the sentence after the comma. They gave the following explanation.

„um zu + Infinitiv“ leitet einen Nebensatz ein, der nur dann funktioniert, wenn das Subjekt im Hauptsatz und im Nebensatz gleich sind. Das kannst du überprüfen, indem du beide Satzteile getrennt formulierst: Ich werde ihnen helfen. + Die Katzen führen ein gutes Leben.

I don't grasp the idea behind of the explanation. Could someone give a more detailed explanation of this issue?


1 Answer 1


I think you're asking the question the wrong way around. There are zu infinitive constructions, and sometimes these have um added. The um translates roughly to "so that" or "in order to". A zu infinitive is frequently used with helfen, meaning "to help (to do something)". In this case you're helping the cats have a good life. With um the sentence means something like you're helping the cats in order to have a good life, and as pointed out in the comments, that doesn't really make sense.

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