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Separable Verbs in German (Trennbare Verben)

In this topic, you will be learning the separable prefixes and separable verbs in German (Trennbare Verben).

Verb prefixes in German

In English, a verb prefix is a word, such as “up, down” which is used with verbs to create new verbs with an entirely different meaning.

In German, there is a similar system, but the words are put before the infinitive and joined to it, such as “an + kommen (come) = ankommen (arrive)”.

Prefixes can be found in all kinds of verb types i.e. strong, weak and mixed verbs.

Separable Verbs in German

Some prefixes can be inseparable. However, the majority of the prefixes are separated from the verb in certain tenses and forms and come at the end of the sentence. These prefixes are called separable prefixes and such verbs are called Treenbare Verben (separable verbs) in German.

Commonly used separable prefixes are: “-ab, -an, -auf, -aus, -ein, -mit, -nach, -weg, -zu” and some example verbs are shown in the table below:

Separable VerbsMeanings
abfahrento leave
ankommento arrive
aufstehento get up
einsteigento get on
zuschauento watch
mitmachento join in
nachgebento give way
weglaufento run away
Separable Verbs in German

In tenses consisting of one verb part only, for example, the present and the imperfect, the separable prefix is placed at the end of the main clause.

Ich wache um 05:00 Uhr auf.
I wake up at 5:00 a.m.
She sieht den ganzen Tag fern.
She watches TV all day.
Er kommt nie rechtzeitig an.
He never arrives on time.
Im selben Jahr steigt Amazon in den Festnetzmarkt ein.
In the same year, Amazon enters the fixed-line market.
Ich gebe dem Druck nicht nach.
I don’t give in to the pressure.
trennbare verben example sentences

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