WIr haben zu Hause eine Geige, dabei kann keiner in meiner Familie __ Geige spielen

According to the source where I got this exercise, there should be no article in the blank. Could someone explain why? I have read this post and I think it maybe related, but I am not sure. Is this also a stylistic choice?

Else, could someone explain the general principle behind this?

1 Answer 1


Wir haben zu Hause eine Geige, dabei kann keiner in meiner Familie Geige spielen.

That's the most common way to phrase it. That is because Geige spielen is a verb phrase as Rad fahren. It's not about a particular violine but about the ability to play violine.

BUT you could also say

Wir haben zu Hause eine Geige, dabei kann keiner in meiner Familie die Geige spielen.

This is not super common but also not about that particular violine. The verb phrase die Geige spielen a more refined way to say Geige spielen. It is often phrased that way when it is about playing musical instruments.

On the other hand, no one says das Rad fahren when they don't mean a particular bicycle.

This is again one of those questions native speakers would get "wrong". Your materials are confusing.

  • Could you explain to me what exactly "verb phrases" are in German? I can't ind good explanations on the internet
    – Babu
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 17:19
  • Search for Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen.
    – Janka
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 17:30
  • I'd argue that in your 2nd example it is about that particular violin (thus definitive article) which is used as pars pro toto. Commented May 7, 2023 at 5:59
  • In the second example it can be either imo - it can refer to the particular violin or violins in general. One would have to phrase it differently to make that distinction.
    – HalvarF
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 10:20
  • Beim Radfahren gibt es ein eigenes Substantiv - ich meine vor der Rechtschreibreform in Zusammensetzung aber nur ausnahmsweise üblich. Das Geigenspielen findet heute wg. gutem Wetter draußen statt. Hm. Commented May 8, 2023 at 14:26

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