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Zu-Clauses

A zu-clause or infinitive clause is the name given to the infinitive with zu which depends on other parts of speech, most commonly nouns and verbs:

Nouns

In the following example, the zu-clause depends on the noun Weigerung "refusal": Der Ministerpräsident reagierte auf die neuerliche Weigerung der Kommunisten, seinen Haushaltsentwurf für das kommende Jahr zu unterstützen. (DW) "The PM reacted to the recent refusal of the Communists to support his budget for the coming year."

Verbs

In the following example, the zu-clause depends on the verb aufrufen "to call on": Bundeskanzler Helmut Kohl hat die 40 Mitgliedsstaaten des Europarates aufgerufen, die bisher eingegangenen Verpflichtungen zum Schutz von Demokratie und Menschenrechten mit Leben zu füllen. (DW) "Chancellor Kohl called on the forty members of the Council of Europe to breathe life into the commitments made to protect democracy and human rights."

Zu-Clauses are usually placed to the Nachfeld, except with "semi-auxiliaries" or modality verbs:

Die Lösung erlaubt es den norddeutschen Ländern, eine Gesamtschulzeit von neun Jahren auf jeden Fall beizubehalten.

For interest

Historically,

Bibliography