Er sieht nie fern.

Spanish Translation

Él no ve nunca la televisión.

Is this correct? Is this an abbreviation of Fernsehen? if so, shouldn’t it go capitalized?

“fernsehen” is a separable verb, so no it shouldn’t be capitalized.
And even if you don’t regard it as a single verb, then “fern” is an adjective that shouldn’t be capitalized either.
There is “die Ferne”, so you could say “Er sieht in die Ferne”, but that’s a different meaning (“He looks into the distance”).
“Das Fernsehen” is a nominalization of the verb, used to refer to the medium. If you want to retain that, you could say “Er sieht/schaut/guckt Fernsehen”. That also works, and people do say that, but it’s a bit more clumsy because the more straightforward verb exists, and because of the repetition of “sehen”.


I didn’t know it was a verb. Thank you!

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The word/noun “television” literally means “the ability to see/watch from afar”.

Therefore, the common phrase “to watch TV” actually does not make sense because it means “to watch the ability to see from afar”. The proper name of the device commonly called TV is “TV set”. You can watch the TV set (the device) but you cannot watch TV (as TV is just an ability). But one can understand why the phrase was shortened to “to watch TV” (from “to watch the TV set”).

Now, the German verb “fernsehen” means “to see from afar” or “to watch at a distance”. The German noun “Fernseher” means the actual TV device (the TV set, as it was properly called).

Therefore, the verb “fernsehen” means the activity of “watching TV”.

The term “das Fernsehen” can mean multiple things:

  • the nominalization of the verb “fernsehen”, as @pitti42 already said.
    • For example: “He was eating while watching TV.” “Er aß beim Fernsehen.”
    • “The couple was cuddling while watching TV.” “Das Paar kuschelte beim Fernsehen.”
  • the broadcasting of the TV program
    • “Where did you get that information from?” “They said it in the TV broadcast.” “Sie sagten es im Fernsehen.”
    • While zapping the TV program: “Nothing good was on.” “Es lief nichts Gutes im Fernsehen.”
  • the TV reporters and networks
    • After the accident, the TV reporters came to the town to report live on the accident. “Das Fernsehen war hier.”