Gehen actually means 'to go'. The use of gehen is a semi-auxiliary in colloquial. It expresses a possibility and the infinitive has passive force.

Die Uhr geht zu reparieren.

which means 'The clock can be repaired.'

Can I replace gehen with bekommen?

  • 1
    Where do people say it like that? In my book the sentence is wrong. - However, it's correct to say "Kann man die Uhr reparieren? - Ja, das geht."
    – Em1
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 7:11
  • 1
    I’ve heard that. Obviuously, it is very far from standard usage. – If you want to stick with an infinitive construction (though without zu), use läßt sich: Die Uhr läßt sich reparieren. (Also, reparieren means “repair”, not “replace”.)
    – chirlu
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 7:27

2 Answers 2


I don't agree with the first answer: Die Uhr ist repariert zu bekommen is definetly wrong in German, native speaker will confirm that a 100%!

One option or phrase which nobody mentioned is: "Die Uhr ist reparabel" (This clock is repairable) This clearly states, that a positive outcome of the result is, more or less, very likely)

To make a check to control yourself viceverse, you can simply replace "geht es" with "ist es möglich"

Ist es möglich, die Uhr zu reparieren?

Geht es, die Uhr zu reparieren?

Every German would understand "Geht es, die Uhr zu reparieren?" However, it would sound very, very awkward, offering that you are not a native speaker. Nobody would say it like this!

To answer your question down to the point: no, you can not replace "gehen" with "bekommen". "bekommen" does mean "to get something".

Thinking about this in this second, I'm suggesting your question arises from the English phrase "Can I get this clock repaired?" which makes absolute sense in English, unfortunately it does not in German.

To be Helpful in terms of the usage of gehen: You can use it to emphasize a question at the end:

Ist es möglich die Uhr zu reparieren, (little pause) geht das?


Usually, you would rather say "Es geht, die Uhr zu reparieren". More common would be to say "die Uhr is reparierbar" or "Man kann die Uhr reparieren".

If you want to use "bekommen", the sentence would be "Die Uhr ist repariert zu bekommen" which would be ambiguous though, since it could mean that it is possible to get it fixed (stressing the possibility) or that it is possible to get a fixed version of it (i.e. at a garage sale). Most of the times, it is the first variant, though. As a question, it would be "Bekommt man die Uhr noch repariert".

Answering your question: In your example. it is possible to construct an eqivalent sentence with "bekommen", but you cannot simply switch the words.

BTW, in regards to "geht es" as possibility, this holds always true, as you can use the construct "bekommt man es hin, dass". "Gehen" as going or walking cannot be replaced through "bekommen".


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