Saturday, 7 February 2009

Separable or inseparable?

There are many examples of verbs in German that are made by joining two words together. In some cases you may see the connection. For example fragen is to ask and befragen is to question. In other cases there it gives an opposite meaning to the verb. Kaufen is to buy but verkaufen is to sell. Sometimes these verbs separate and sometimes they don't. However there are some general rules.

If the verb starts with a preposition like ab- auf- mit- nach and lots of others, then it is usually a separable verb, but the prefix of separable verbs is always stressed. If you take the verb wiederholen and stress the wieder it is separable and means to fetch again. If you put the stress on the holen then it is not separable and it means to repeat. As usual, the best way to learn a language is to use it. You know if the verb is separable when you hear the stress, or you know when it is separable if it is separated in an example, zB Der Film fing um 19.15 Uhr an.

Bis bald

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