Clauses with finite/non-finite verb form

SA5

 

Subordinate clauses with a finite verb type (Finitsätze)

 

The majority of the subordinate clauses contain one finite verb form. These clauses follow the word order type 3 (Stellungstyp 3) i.e. the finite verb form is at the final position of the clause. Their syntactic roles include those of a subject, an object, an adverbial and an attributive adjective.

 

  Examples  
Es ist wichtig, dass man Fremdsprachen lernt. subject clause
Niemand weiß, dass er verheiratet ist. object clause
Ich habe als Statist gearbeitet, als ich in Köln studierte. adverbial clause
Das Buch, das ich gerade lese, ist sehr interessant. attributive clause

 


 

 

Subordinate clauses with a non-finite verb form

 

Two kinds of subordinate clauses contain a non-finite verb form, the infinitive clauses and the participle clauses. Infinitive clauses are further classified in those that are introduced by a conjunction and those that are not.

 

 

Infinitive clauses (Infinitivsätze)

 

Infinitive clauses contain an infinitive and the particle zu, along with all the arguments that are included in  subordinate clauses with a finite verb type (Finitsätze).

 

However, in contrast to the subordinate clauses with a finite verb type (Finitsätze), the subject is omitted in an infinitive clause. In infinitive clauses that are introduced by a conjunction, the omitted subject and the subject of the main clause are identical. In infinitive clauses that are not introduced by a conjunction, the subject of the infinitive clause is identical to the subject or the accusative or dative object of the main clause.

 

  Examples  
Sie treibt Sport, um abzunehmen. infinitive clauses that are introduced by a conjunction
subject of the subordinate clause (sie) = subject of the main clause (sie)
   
Er beschloss, Jura zu studieren. infinitive clauses that are not introduced by a conjunction
subject of the subordinate clause(er) = subject of the main clause (er)
Wir bitten dich, dem Kind zu helfen.
subject of the subordinate clause (du) = accusative object of the main clause (dich)
Er riet ihr, zum Arzt zu gehen.
subject of the subordinate clause (sie) = dative object of the main clause (ihr)

 

Infinitive clauses follow the word order type 3 (Stellungstyp 3) i.e. the non-finite verb form is in the final position of the subordinate clause. Zu always stands before the infinitive.

 

 

Infinitive clauses that are introduced by a conjunction function as adverbials. Infinitive clauses that are not introduced by a conjunction function as subjects and objects.

 

  Examples  
Sie treibt Sport, um abzunehmen.
adverbial clauses
infinitive clauses that are introduced by a conjunction
Er ist gegangen, ohne sich zu verabschieden.
Das Kind sieht den ganzen Tag fern, statt zu lernen.
Sie hat nicht getan, außer zu lachen.
   
Er beschloss, Jura zu studieren.
object clause
infinitive clauses that are not introduced by a conjunction
Es ist wichtig, Fremdsprachen zu lernen.
subject clause

 


 

 

Participle clauses (Partizipialsätze)

 

Participle clauses (Partizipialsätze) contain a participle along with all the arguments (object and adverbials) that are included in the subordinate clauses with a finite verb form (Finitsätze).

 

However, in contrast to the subordinate clauses with a finite verb form, the subject of the participle clauses is omitted. The omitted subject is usually identical to the subject of the main clause.

 

  Examples  
In Köln angekommen, telefonierte er nach Hause. participle clause
subject of the participle clause(er) = subject of the main clause (er)
Ihr Vater, in Ostberlin geboren, lehrte an der Humboldt-Universität.
subject of the participle clause (ihr Vater) = subject of the main clause (ihr Vater)

 

 

Participle clauses function as adverbials or attributive adjectives.

 

  Examples  
In Köln angekommen, telefonierte er nach Hause. adverbial clause
Nachdem er in Köln angekommen war, telefonierte er nach Hause.
   
Ihr Vater, in Ostberlin geboren, lehrte an der Humboldt-Universität. attributive clause
Ihr Vater, der in Ostberlin geboren ist, lehrte an der Humboldt-Universität.

 


 

 

Participle clauses (Partizipialsätze) as adverbials

 

 

Participle clauses (Partizipialsätze) that function as adverbials can express the following :

 

- manner

 

  Example
Auf den Knopf drückend, löschte er alle Dateien.
Er löschte alle Dateien, indem er auf den Knopf drückte.

 

- time

 

   
Ein Kaugummi kauend, entschuldigte er sich bei seiner Freundin.
Während er ein Kaugummi kaute, entschuldigte er sich bei seiner Freundin.

 

- cause

 

   
Von seiner Ehrlichkeit überzeugt, lieh er ihm das Geld.
Weil er von seiner Ehrlichkeit überzeugt war, lieh er ihm das Geld.

 

- condition

 

   
Mit Italien verglichen, ist das Wetter in Deutschland kälter.
Wenn das Wetter in Italien mit dem in Deutschland verglichen wird, ist es in Deutschland kälter.

 

- concession

 

   
Obwohl gut vorbereitet, fiel er durch.
Obwohl er sich gut vorbereitet hat, fiel er durch.

 


 

 

Participle clauses (Partizipialsätze) as attributive adjectives

 

Participle clauses (Partizipialsätze) that function as attributive adjectives may precede a specific noun. In this case the participles are variable i.e. they are inflected like all adjectives according to the gender, case and number of the noun they govern. They also retain all the necessary complements and can be further expanded with more optional arguments.

 

  Examples for present participle (Partizip I)  
Die Kinder, laut lachend, betraten das Zimmer. invariable participle

Die laut lachenden Kinder betraten das Zimmer.

variable participle

 

  Examples for past participle (Partizip II)  
Die Freunde, zur Party eingeladen, kauften Geschenke. invariable participle

Die zur Party eingeladenen Freunde kauften Geschenke.

variable participle

 


 

 

Active-passive meaning simultaneity-anteriority

 

Participle clauses (Partizipialsätze) are formed with the present participle (Partizip I) or the past participle (Partizip II). The meaning of the participle clauses varies depending on the use of the present participle (Partizip I) or the past participle (Partizip II) and relating to the verb voice (active-passive) and the time (simultaneity-anteriority).

 

 

In addition, the meaning of the clause also depends on whether the verb from which the participle derives is transitive or intransitive.

 

If the verb is transitive, the present participle (Partizip I) has an active meaning and expresses simultaneity in regard to the main clause. On the contrary, the past participle (Partizip II) has a passive meaning and, as a rule, expresses anteriority.

 

  participle verb voice time
transitive verbs present participle (Partizip I) active simultaneity
past participle(Partizip II) passive anteriority

 

  Examples of participles functioning as attributive adjectives schreiben = transitive verb
Die die Klassenarbeit schreibenden Schüler haben noch 30 Minuten Zeit. present participle (Partizip I)
Die Schüler, die die Klassenarbeit schreiben, haben noch 30 Minuten Zeit. active, simultaneity
Die geschriebene Klassenarbeit enthält schwierige Aufgaben. past participle(Partizip II)
Die Klassenarbeit, die geschrieben wurde, enthält schwierige Aufgaben. passive, anteriority

 


 

 

If the verb from which the participle derives is intransitive, the present participle (Partizip I) has an active meaning and expresses simultaneity, in regard to the main clause. Intransitive verbs that form the present perfect with haben cannot form the past participle (Partizip II).

 

Only intransitive verbs that form the present perfect with the auxiliary verb sein can form the past participle (Partizip II). In this case, they have an active meaning and, as a rule, express anteriority.

 

  participle verb voice time
intransitive verbs present participle (Partizip I) present perfect with haben) active simultaneity
present participle (Partizip I) (present perfect with sein) active simultaneity
past participle (Partizip II) (present perfect with sein) active anteriority

 

  Examples of participles functioning as attributive adjectives  
leben = intransitive verb (present perfect with haben)  
Der in Berlin lebende Schriftsteller arbeitet an seinem neuen Buch. present participle (Partizip I)
Der Schriftsteller, der in Berlin lebt, arbeitet an seinem neuen Buch. active, simultaneity
ankommen = perfect tense intransitive verb (present perfect with sein)  
Der gerade ankommende Zug, fährt zum Flughafen. present participle (Partizip I)
Der Zug, der gerade ankommt, fährt zum Flughafen. active, simultaneity
Peter steigt in den vor kurzem angekommenen Zug ein. past participle (Partizip II)
Peter steigt in den Zug ein, der vor kurzem angekommen ist. active, anteriority