German anstatt zu & ohne zu

Overview

The form anstatt … zu (sometimes seen as statt … zu) introduces an alternative option or something that is unexpected. In English, an equivalent would be instead of. Um…zu and ohne…zu can also be used as an infinitive construction (Infinitivskonstruktion) where they are placed in front of an infinitive with details in between.
We must keep two things in mind when building these constructions:
  • The subject in the subordinate clause is the same as in the main clause.
  • zu + Verb in infinitive go at the end of the sentence.
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German infinitival clauses are formed using the preposition “zu” and a verb infinitive. 
Many of “zu + infinitive” constructions can be translated into English with “to + infintive”.

Examples:
Er hat heute keine Zeit die E-Mail zu lesen.
He has not time today to read the email. 

Some infinitival clauses are translated into English with gerunds (verb + ing). 
Two examples are the conjunctions “(an)statt zu + infinitive)” and “ohne zu + infinitive”. 

1. “(An)statt + zu + infinitive”

The conjunction “anstatt” or “statt” + “zu” is used to express “instead of doing”. “Doing” in this example is the gerund. “Anstatt” and “statt” are interchangeable. As with other infinitive clauses, using “anstatt” moves the “zu + infinitive” to the end of the clause or sentence. 

Examples:
Er bleibt heute zu Hause, anstatt in die Arbeit zu gehen
He is staying home today, instead of going to work. 

Wir gehen lieber essen, statt selber zu kochen. 
We rather go out to eat, instead of cooking ourselves. 

Careful: “statt” can also be used as a preposition. If used as a preposition, it trigers the genitive case. 

 2. Ohne + zu + infinitive” 

“ohne zu” is used to express “without doing”. Like “anstatt”, an infinitive clause with “ohne” also requires the “zu + infinitive” part of the construction to be at the end of the clause or sentence. 

Examples:
Ohne sich warm zu machen, nahm er am Training teil. 
Without warming himself up, he participated in the training. 

Sie hat die Prüfung bestanden, ohne gelernt zu haben
She has passed the exam without having studied

Highlighted Author:

German Quiz-"anstatt zu" and "ohne zu"

Name

Quiz Questions

Complete the 10 questions below to test your knowledge of the material.
Anstatt sich _______________ (to prepare), machte er ein Nickerchen.
Translate: He went to work without having eaten breakfast.
Er betrat das Haus, _________
Sie hat uns geholfen, ohne...
Translate the following sentence: He drove without noticing that he had a flat tire.
Which of the following sentences is a correct infinitive clause?
Sie ging mit Freunden ins Kino, ________
Er fuhr ohne zu merken, dass er einen platten Reifen haben.
Which of the two sentences is correct?
Translate the following sentence: He knew the answer, without having studied.

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

Writing:
I can write simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. I can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.
Spoken Production:
I can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, my dreams, hopes and ambitions. I can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. I can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.
Spoken Interaction:
I can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events).
Reading:
I can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency everyday or job-related language. I can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters.
Listening:
I can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. I can understand the main point of many radio or TV programs on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.