While looking for a translation for "while playing", I ran across many examples of "beim spielen":

Sie haben die letzte Zeit ein Menge Zeit beim spielen eines Fantasiespiels namens Prometheus verbracht.

Beim spielen ging es sich immer um die Mutter.

and even:

Er rennt sie beim spiel um, sie geben ihm einen besen.

These examples can be found here: https://bit.ly/41rYlHh

and one example of:

Mutter-Jungtier-Interaktionen sind ansonsten nur selten dokumentiert, sie beschränken sich auf das Säugen und auf Schutz seitens der Mutter, während spielen oder gegenseitige Körperpflege bisher nicht beobachtet wurde.

How is this correct? Why is the participle not being used? Are these typos that should be capitalized?

  • There are a lot of examples for "beim Spielen", see for example context.reverso.net/%C3%BCbersetzung/deutsch-englisch/…
    – RHa
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 18:27
  • Thanks, I will clarify.
    – user44591
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:16
  • 1
    The DWDS corpus you linked is "Blogs" (web-based corpus) so there is a high likelihood that people make spelling mistakes or don't capitalize at all. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Are these typos that should be capitalized?


How is this correct? Why is the participle not being used?

Because we don't use the Partizip I for progressive and continous aspects in German. And neither for gerunds. German has no aspects nor a gerund.

That form beim Spielen is a modal adverbial that uses a nominalized infinitive as an argument to the preposition bei. A modal adverbial tells a circumstance. You could also use a normal noun as in the example beim Spiel. The latter is common when someone wants to describe a concept rather than an action as the circumstance.

Beim Füttern von Löwen …

This is more about the action of feeding lions. How the zookeper would explain it. Hands on. Or better not.

Bei der Fütterung von Löwen …

That's more about the concept of feeding lions. How an expert on lions would explain it. About nutrition, ranks of the lions, and so on.

während Spielen oder gegenseitige Körperpflege

Don't let this fool you. That während does not translate to English while in the temporal sense. It translates into whereas!

  • Super helpful! Thanks.
    – user44591
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 22:04

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