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1. Meaning of um zeal zu + infinitive
2. How to make sentences with the complete um zeal zu + infinitive
3. How to make sentences with a part of um zeal zu + infinitive
4. How to use um zeal zu with separable and inseparable verbs
Table of content for um zeal zu + infinitive

The term um zeal zu is a very important part of the german language even though it doesn’t exist as a true Phrase. It is used to express the purpose of an action by either linking two incomplete sentences or clauses as one without using a conjunction or to add two or more (main) verbs in a sentence. The two sentences may or may not be separated with a comma. They are separated with a comma when the complete um zeal zu or when either one of um or zeal is used together with zu. But when it involves just using zu, there is absolutely no need for a comma. See the examples below…

When sentences in german are made with this phrase, the conjugated verb is placed at the second position while the other verb goes to the end of the sentence in its finite form. Um zeal zu is actually a combination of three words where;

  • Um means “in other”
  • Zeal can either be “a direct object, an indirect object, an adverb, an adjective or even an idea”
  • Zu means “to”

The most important part of this phrase is zu. This is because um and zeal can be optional. That is to say, one can actually make a sentence without having to say “in order” or without an object, adverb or adjective.

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1. Max is travelling to Germany in order to study Medicine.—— Max reist nach Deutschland, um Medizin zu studieren.

2. Max is travelling to Germany in order to study.—— Max reist nach Deutschland, um zu studieren.

3. Max is travelling to Germany to study Medicine.—— Max reist nach Deutschland, Medizin zu studieren.

4. Max is travelling to Germany to study.—— Max reist nach Deutschland zu studieren.
Sentences with um zeal zu + infinite verbs

The position of um and zeal is usually fixed in a sentence while zu can be of different positions depending on the type of the infinitive verb.

Zu + Infinitive verb without prefix

For single verbs without prefix such as weak verbs, strong verbs and auxiliary verbs, zu is placed right before them at the end of the sentence. For example;

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1. Meine Eltern haben vor vielen Jahren einen großen Teil von ihrem Gehalt gespart, um ihr eigenes Haus zu kaufen.—— my parents saved a huge part of their salary many years ago in other to buy their own house.

2. Ich wasche mir oft meine Hände, um gesund zu bleiben.—— I always wash my hands in order to stay healthy.

3. Paula sucht einen Job, um etwas Geld zu haben.—— Paula is searching for a job in order to have some money.
Sentences with um zeal zu + verbs without prefix

Zu + Infinitive verb with separable prefixes

For separable verbs, zu is placed in-between the prefix and the verb. See examples;

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1. Ich möchte ins Ausland leben, um viele Ausländer kennenzulernen.—— I would like to live abroad in order to get to know many foreigners.

2. Die Frau geht einkaufen, um etwas Leckeres zuzubereiten.—— The woman is going shopping in order to prepare something delicious.

3. Wegen des Regens hat mein Vater mich angerufen, das Fenster abzuschließen.—— My father called me to lock up the window because of the rain.

4. Soll ich morgen kommen, um das Haus aufzuräumen, bevor die Party beginnt?—— Should I come tomorrow in order to clean the house before the party begins?
Sentences with um zeal zu + separable verbs

Zu + Infinitive verb with inseparable prefixes

Unlike separable verbs, here zu is placed directly before the verb and not in-between the prefix and the verb. See examples;

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1. Der Brief muss übersetzt werden, um Ihn zu verstehen.—— The letter must be translated in order to understand it.

2. Wir wollen nach Großbritannien fliegen, um die Königin zu besuchen.—— We want to go to great Britain in order to visit the queen.
Sentences with um zeal zu + inseparable verbs

Zu + Infinitive of modal verbs

With modal verbs, there is always a third verb. the conjugated verb staays in the second position while the modal verb goes to the end of the sentence. Zu is then placed directly before the modal verb. The third verb on the other hand is placed directly before zu. See illustrations belpw;

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1. Er will reich sein, um ein sehr schönes Haus kaufen zu können.—— He wants to be rich in order to be able to buy a very beautiful house.

2. Man braucht ein Visum, ins fremde Land reisen zu dürfen.–– One needs a visa to travel to a foreign country.
Sentences with um zeal zu + modal verbs

Note that the clause with the um zeal can be flexed. That is, you can begin the sentence with them instead. If this is the case, the verb in the first clause must be placed first after the separating komma just like in subordinate conjunction. See examples below;

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1. Um Arzt zu werden, musst du Medizin studieren.—— In order to become a doctor, you have to study Medizin.

2. Um diesen Brief verstehen zu können , solltest du ihn übersetzt.—— In order to be able to understand this letter, you should translate it.
Flexed sentences with um zeal zu + infinite verbs

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