Turning verbs into nouns in German

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Turning verbs into nouns

Verbs can be turned into nouns. When they are used as nouns, they are capitalized. These nominalized verbs are formed from the infinitive and are considered neuter so take the article das.

arbeiten: Ich arbeite viel, weil mir das Arbeiten Spaß macht.

to work: I work a lot because I enjoy the work.

rufen: Sie hat uns gerufen, aber wir haben das Rufen nicht gehört.

to call: She called us, but we didn't hear the call.

donnern: Ein lautes Donnern hat mich geweckt.

to thunder: A loud rumble of thunder woke me up.

singen: Sein Singen ist unerträglich.

to sing: His singing is unbearable.

klingeln: Magda reagierte nicht auf unser Klingeln.

to ring: Magda did not respond to our ringing.

Note: following prepositions such as vor, bei, nach, seit, für, ohne and durch, these nouns act like a normal noun and the article (das) may change if the preposition takes the dative.

einschalten: Vor dem Einschalten die Verpackung entfernen.

to switch on: Remove the packaging before switching on.

lernen: Beim Lernen trinkt er Bier.

to learn: He drinks beer while studying.

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