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Is only the solution with the final subjunction "um" correct?

The following uses are seen often:

Ich lese [ein Buch zum Wohlfühlen].
Ich wünsche dir [einen schönen Tag zum Wohlfühlen].
Das Buch ist zum Wohlfühlen.

But can I say

Ich lese ((ein Buch)) zum Wohlfühlen. Ich laufe zum Wohlfühlen.

where the action alone is to feel good. Differently expressed using a final subjunction:

Ich lese ((ein Buch)), um mich wohlzufühlen.

Note the difference to the first use-case:

Ich lese ein Buch zum Wohlfühlen, um mich wohlzufühlen.

I hope the goal of this question is clear: Can "zum Wohlfühlen" be used for an action?

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  • Please rephrase your question more precisely. I'm not clear where you want to add an 'um' in your examples or where not. You don't state any solution with 'um'. I suggest to state the different options you consider in their entirety and directly ask about them. Dec 20, 2023 at 12:41
  • @planetmaker I made it more clear. Dec 20, 2023 at 13:38
  • You'll probably find "Wohlfühlen" in conjunction with a nice plaid, a cardigan or a luxury bath, but likely not with a book. "Wohlfühlen" means physical comfort.
    – tofro
    Dec 21, 2023 at 10:13
  • @tofro Why can't the action of reading evoke a feeling of comfort? In a cognitive sense? Is there even a line that can be drawn between "physical" (a nice feeling touch) and non-"physical" (a warm feeling of love) comfort for this usage? Dec 21, 2023 at 11:02
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    Well, I can only tell you what's commonly used. And "wohlfühlen" means physical comfort, rather than spiritual - You would use "wohlfühlen" when talking about reading in a comfy chair with a cup of tea, covered in a warm plaid in front of the fireplace. But that's definitely more than just "reading"
    – tofro
    Dec 21, 2023 at 11:29

2 Answers 2

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Since you can say

Ich lese zur Entspannung
Ich lese zur Weiterbildung

the "zum Wohlfühlen" also works. The most reason why it sounds odd, is, that "sich entspannen" and "sich weiterbilden" describes something about our brain activity, "sich wohlfühlen" is usually associated with well-being of the body, for instance when you take a bath or get a massage.

For the same reason, I'm not really fond of "ein Buch zum Wohlfühlen". It sounds more like a catch-phrase of some advertisement.

So I would reject both constructs.

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    I believe this answer nails it. The "problematic" thing about the original sentences is that the word "Wohlfühlen" does not fit too well in the context of reading. Dec 20, 2023 at 16:46
  • How about "Ich lese zum Entspannen" and "zum Weiterbilden"? Dec 20, 2023 at 19:35
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    Das ist korrekt. Ich würde aber fast immer 'zur Entspannung' oder 'zur Erholung' sagen Dec 20, 2023 at 23:09
  • When the proper nouns exist and mean basically the same - why make a noun from the verb? Dec 20, 2023 at 23:15
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    @planetmaker: Slightly different meaning in general, even when it has the same meaning in the concrete context: The verb "entspannen" (transitive) turns into "das Entspannen" (i.e. we expect an object). The verb "sich entspannen" turns into "die Entspannung" (no separate object). For instance: "Für das Entspannen des Werkstückes sollte man Sicherheitshandschuhe tragen". Dec 21, 2023 at 8:06
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You can theoretically say "Ich lese zum Wohlfühlen", but I suggest you use "Ich lese ein Buch zum Wohlfühlen".

In general, your usage of "wohlfühlen" feels off to me, as a native speaker. It's just not a word people use often. I'd substitute it with different words, depending on the context.

To your examples: "Das Buch is zum Wohlfühlen" translates to "The book is for feeling comfortable". It's a weird sentence, in both languages.

And nobody would ever say "Ich laufe [sic]Marothon zum Wohlfühlen", either. Besides the spelling error, "wohlfühlen" (feeling comfortable) doesn't really fit with the action of running a marathon. Again, a different word is probably better.

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  • This usage of "wohlfühlen" is noted in Duden 4 and 9. It is labeled "Hochfrequent und lexikalisiert", however only mentioned with noun phrases (> Ein Tag zum Wohlfühlen <). Dec 20, 2023 at 13:50
  • @EagleFliesBanana The other answer also mentioned the weirdness of "wohfühlen" in this context, so it is not just me. In other contexts, sure, use "wohlfühlen". But a book "zum Wohlfühlen" just doesn't sound quite right.
    – Acro
    Dec 21, 2023 at 8:12

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