Separable Verbs in German and their usage

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Separable Verbs in German and their usage

Post by Admin » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:39 pm

It's a typical characteristic in German language: you can add prefixes to many verbs and then the verbs get new meanings. In German these verbs are called 'Trennbare Verben'.

The separable verbs usually come with the following prefixes:

ab-, aus-, an-, auf-, bei-, ein-, fern-, fort-, hin-, her-, los-, mit-, nach-, weg-, um-, vor-, zu-, zurück-

General rules:

1) In present tense, these prefixes are separated from the original verbs and are placed at the end of the sentence.

Ich stehe jeden Tag um 7.00 Uhr auf – I get up everyday at 7:00.

Der Film fängt um 20:00 Uhr an – The film begins at 20:00.

Verbs used in the examples: aufstehen (to get up) and anfangen (to begin)

2) In past participle, 'ge' is added between the prefix and the verb.

Ich bin heute um 7:00 Uhr aufgestanden – I got up today at 7:00.

Der Film hat schon um 20:00 Uhr angefangen – The film has already started at 20:00.

3) However, when used with modal verbs (dürfen, können, mögen, müssen, sollen and wollen), prefixes are not separated from the main verb rather remain attached with it.

Er muss jeden Tag um 7.00 Uhr aufstehen – He has to get up everyday at 7:00.

Der Film sollte um 20:00 Uhr anfangen - The film should start at 20:00.

Most commonly used separable verbs in German

ab = off, down

abfahren - to leave, to depart

absagen - to cancel something (e.g. a concert)

Ex: Die Sängerin ist krank und sagt ihr Konzert ab – The singer is sick and cancels her concert.

abbrechen - to break something off

abnehmen - to decrease, to loose (weight)

abbiegen – to turn, to bend

Ex: An der Kreuzung müssen Sie rechts abbiegen - At the crossing you must turn right

abschaffen - to do away with something

an = at, on

anziehen - to put something on, to dress

anzeigen - to report, to show something

anrufen - to telephone someone

anfassen - to touch someone or something

anhalten - to stop somethiing

anfangen - to begin something

ankommen - to arrive

angreifen - to attack

auf = up, open

aufstehen – to get up

aufhören – to stop

aufmachen - to open

aufpassen - to take care of someone or something

aufräumen - to clean up

aufbauen - to build up (e.g. business)

aus = out

aussteigen - to get out of something (e.g. bus)

ausgehen - to go out (e.g. with friends)

ausschließen - to exclude

ausgleichen - to balance something

bei = with, along

beitragen - to contribute something

beibehalten - to retain somethiing

beiliegen - to be attached to something

ein = in, into

einsteigen - to get in (e.g. into bus)

einladen - to invite

einkaufen - to shop

einatmen - to inhale

einschlafen - to fall asleep

einzahlen - to deposit something (e.g. to deposit money in bank)

einleiten - to initiate something (e.g. to initiate an investigation)

einschreiben - to inscribe, to enlist, to register (e.g. a post)

einklammern - to put in brackets

fern = far

fernsehen - to watch television

fort = away

fortsetzen - to continue

fortfahren - to continue, to go on

fortlaufen - to run away

fortgehen - to leave, to depart

hin = to there

hinfallen – to fall down, to tumble

hinlegen - to lay down

hinstellen - to place, put

hinfahren - to drive someone or something there

her = to here

herkommen - to come here

herstellen - to manufacture something

herfahren - to drive here

los = off, away (usually indicates the beginning of an action)

loslassen - to let go

losfahren - to start

losgehen - to go off

Lyrics from German Singer Roland Kaiser: Ich glaub' es geht schon wieder los - I think it's going to happen all over again.

mit = with, along

mitmachen - to participate

mitbringen - to bring along

mitfahren - to ride (with someone)

mitkommen - to come along

mitnehmen - to take along

mitspielen - to play along

nach = after

nachfragen - to inquire

nachdenken – to think (usually about something)

nachforschen to investigate, to research

nachfolgen – to follow, to succeed

um = around, at

umbringen - to kill, to murder

umziehen - to move (e.g. to a new home or town)

umsteigen – to change (trains)

umrechnen – to convert

vor = before

vorstellen - to introduce

vorlesen – to read something aloud

vorgehen – to proceed, to go ahead

vorspielen - to play music (in front of people)

weg = away

weggehen - to go away

weglaufen - to run away

wegfahren - to drive off, to go away

wegschmeißen - to throw away

zu = to, closed

zulassen – to allow something

zunehmen- to increase, to gain (weight)

zugreifen – to access something

zugeben – to confess, to admit

zurück = back

zurückgeben - to give back

zurückgehen - to go back

zurückweisen - to refuse (e.g. an invitation)


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