Unit 4: Verbs with Prefixes; Adjective Endings

7. Verbs as Nouns

Word Formation

These sections of the textbook help improve your speed during the skimming phase of reading and help you gradually build vocabulary.

You can recognize verbs functioning as nouns by their capitalization and their grammatical behavior as nouns. All such nouns are neuter. Thus, das Schwimmen means “the activity of swimming,” das Schreiben “writing,” das Lernen “learning.” You will sometimes see these words used without an article. Examples:

Im tiefen Schnee ist das Gehen sehr schwierig.
In deep snow, walking is very difficult.
(a more natural translation:) It is very difficult to walk in deep snow.

Wo lernt man Segelfliegen in Deutschland?
Where does one learn hang-gliding in Germany?
(a more natural translation:) Where does one learn to hang-glide in Germany?

Ich lernte das Schwimmen.
I learned how to swim.

Das Schwimmen in der See ist nicht leicht.
Swimming in the ocean is not easy.

Lachen ist die beste Medizin.
Laughter is the best medicine.

To practice some key skills covered in this unit, play the Unit 4 Syntax Untangler activity. (Link opens in a new window.)

You may find the Review Units 1-4 exercise more valuable now or as a later review opportunity.


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