So here are two sentences:

Ich habe Angst

Es gibt keinen Grund zur Angst

I'm just wondering what the underlying framework for leaving "Angst" without a definite article in the first sentence while using it in the second is.

  • Bei solchen Beispielsätzen kann man es schon mit der Angst zu tun bekommen ... Dec 11, 2023 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


There are certain types of specific fears. e.g. arachnophobia is the fear of spiders, agoraphobia the fear of wide open places, etc.. But

Ich habe Angst.

is about a feeling - the fear itself - rather than a specific reason for having it. It is a condition, not an action. There is an equivalent in English but it works different:

I am frightened.

Here one is something, in German one has something. It would be possible to say (grammatically correct but unidiomatic):

Ich bin angsterfüllt.

but it would sound strange the same way

I have fear.

would sound strange. Conditions and actions are expressed differently and they are expressed differently in German and English.

In the second sentence the quality of "Angst" as a condition takes a backseat and the feeling is more treated like an action. Consider the following variants:

Es gibt keinen Grund zur Angst|Unruhe|Eile|Pünktlichkeit|Aufgabe.

"Angst" and "Unruhe" (restlessness) are arguably feelings, but "Eile" (rush), "Pünktlichkeit" (being on time) or "Aufgabe" (resignation) aren't. Still they fit the sentence, because they are all nouns describing actions.

Notice that the need for the Artikel vanishes once the "action-quality" of the expression is taken away:

Es gibt keinen Grund zur Angst.
Es gibt keinen Grund, Angst zu haben.


It's the case. You can't leave out the article in dative and genitive case.

  • 1
    That is quite wrong. "Mit Angst kommst du hier nicht weiter." or "Wegen Überfüllung geschlossen" are perfectly acceptable. Dec 12, 2023 at 8:16
  • @KilianFoth Have any clue what this could be ascribed to instead?
    – Dr.Doom
    Dec 12, 2023 at 14:43

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