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Open your books, please!

Did you know that German verbs can have separable prefixes? Well, they do! And these prefixes change the meaning of the original verb. They even create a new word.

Separable prefixes are separated from their verb; the verbs are conjugated as normal: einkaufen, ich kaufe ein. In a main clause, the prefix is moved to the end of the sentence.

Separable prefixes: ab-, an-, auf-, aus-, bei-, ein-, her-, hin-, los-, mit-, nach-, vor-, weg-, zu-, zurück-

Ich kaufe im Supermarkt ein.

Inseparable prefixes are not separated from their verb; the verbs are conjugated as normal: verkaufen, ich verkaufe. The prefix determines whether a verb is separable or not.

Inseparable prefixes: be-, emp-, ent-, er-, ge-, miss-, ver-, zer-

These prefixes remain a permanent part of the verb, even in the finite form.

Ich verkaufe mein Auto.

Separable or inseparable prefixes: durch-, hinter-, über-, um-, unter-

Some verbs with these prefixes are always separable.

umschauen – er schaut sich um

Some other verbs with these prefixes are never separable.

umarmen – sie umarmt ihn

Some verbs with these prefixes can be either separable or inseparable. In this case, the separable verb and the inseparable verb have two different meanings.

umfahren – Er fährt das Schild um. – Er umfährt das Schild.

Puh! I know... and yes, you have to listen to the end of the sentence to really understand it. Some people say this is especially tricky for some men... what do you think?

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