Pretty much as the question states. I'm not a native speaker, but i have a strong feeling that the auxiliary verb is missing in the second clause - I have an overwhelming urge to want to hear "das Cantor uns geschaffen HAT".

Is this an archaic or literary preterit form of schaffen, rather than the Particip II it looks and sounds like?

This famous statement was made by the great David Hilbert, when intuitionists like Brouwer were criticizing his programme's adoption of transfinite, nonconstructive mathematics.


1 Answer 1


This is called afinite Konstruktion or Auxiliar- Ellipse (Auxiliary ellipsis)1. The auxiliary verb is left out in Perfekt or Plusquamperfekt. This can be found in older (especially prose) texts and is rarely used today. It appears however, for example, in the German translation of Irvin D. Yalom's novel When Nietzsche Wept2.

The auxiliary ellipsis was presumably considered an upscale style. Stefan Zweig is one of the late fans of this style.

There is very little literature on this stylistic device.

1: Linguistically discussed, e.g. here

2: German title Und Nietzsche weinte, translated by Uta Strätling

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