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Trennbare/Untrennbare Verben

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  • Trennbare/Untrennbare Verben

    Trennbare and Untrennbare Verben (Verbs you can divide and verbs you can't) are a peculiarity of German that often turns into a tough argument for learners.
    If the Verb is separable or not, it depends on the Präfix.

    Verbs with the Prefixes: be-, emp-, ent-, er-, ge-, hinter-, miss-, ver-, zer-,
    are NEVER separable. They are untrennbar and the prefix is always unstressed.

    Ex.
    bezahlen: "to buy". Er bezählt das Brot. (He buys bread)
    empfehlen: "to suggest". Sie empfiehlt das Buch. (She suggest [to read] the book)
    gehören: "to belong". Das Buch gehört mir. (The book belongs to me).

    Verbs with the Prefixes: durch-, über-, um-, unter-, wieder-, wider-,
    are TRENNBAR when the Prefix is stressed and UNTRENNBAR when the Prefix is unstressed.

    Ex.
    übersetzen: Ich übersétze den Text. (I translate the Text)
    untersuchen: Der Arzt untersùcht das Mädchen.
    but:
    untergehen: Die Sonne geht ùnter.

    Verbs with all other Prefixes : ab-, an-, auf-, aus-, ein-, empor-, vorbei-, zurück-, fest-, frei-, hoch-,...
    are ALWAYS separable. They are trennbar and the Prefixes are always stressed.

    Ex.
    abfahren: "to leave". Der Bus fährt gleich an. (The bus is leaving right now)
    ankommen: "to arrive". Das Zug kommt um 12.00 Uhr an. (The flight arrives at 12)
    zurückgeben: "to give back". Sie gab mir das Buch zurück. (She gave me the book back).


  • #2
    Very interesting and well structured post, thank you, and I just recalled that every time I make confusion between "ausmachen" (turn off) and "anmachen" (turn on) and I see german people use a lot "aus" and "an", for instance "er macht die tür auf",and I understand the use of this particles can often change the meaning of a word.
    https://www.lingostan.com

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    • #3
      Admittedly it's quite a while since I last spoke German! I found this most interesting - naturally when I learnt German at school (>50 years ago! Help!) we learnt about separable and inseparable prefixes (I think that's what we called them) but I don't remember being taught about the difference in stress. Thanks!

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      • #4
        I have already encountered these too. So far, they don't look very hard to get, but I suppose that it all will get tougher as I progress.

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