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Nominalization of German Verbs

Nominalization (verbs or adjectives acting as nouns) is a small topic. Certain verbs in their infinitive forms act as nouns. All these nominalized nouns are neuter. For example, das Schwimmen (swimming), das Warten (waiting), das Spielen (the act of playing), das Lernen (learning/ the act of learning something).

Such nouns can easily be recognized by their capitalization and neuter articles.

For example:

Ich mag das Schwimmen. (I like swimming.)

Das Spielen ist hier nicht erlaubt. (Playing is not allowed here.)

Das Abladen ist nicht erlaubt. (Unloading is not allowed.)

Even when no article is there with such a noun, it can be recognized by its grammatical behavior.

Ich lerne Schwimmen. (I learn swimming.)

Schwimmen ist nicht einfach zu lernen. (Swimming is not easy to learn.)

Lernen ist ständig. (Learning is constant/permanent.)

New words

das Schwimmen (the act of swimming)

erlaubt (allowed)
erlauben (to allow)

das Spielen (the act of playing)
spielen (to play)
das Spiel (game / match)

Das Abladen (the act of unloading)
abladen (to unload somthing)

das Lernen (the act of learning)
lernen (to learn something)

leicht (easy)

zu (to)

ständig (permanent / continues)


Identify the underlined word as a noun or a verb.
The answers are given at the end of this exercise.

  1. Wir schwimmen.
  2. Wir gehen Schwimmen.
  3. Wir gehen Schwimmen.
  4. Schwimmen sie?
  5. Schwimmen Sie?
  6. Sie spielen Fussball.
  7. Wir lernen das Spielen.


  1. Verb (We are swimming. / We swim.)
  2. Noun (We go swimming.)
  3. Verb (We go swimming.)
  4. Verb (Are they swimming?)
  5. Verb (Are you swimming?)
  6. Verb (Depending on the situation: They are playing football / You are playing football.)
  7. Noun (We learn to play.)

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