Separable verbs in German

Trennbare Verben (Separable Verbs)

I was sitting in German class one day and heard the verb “aufhören” mentioned. Although I didn’t know what it meant, I was proud that I might know it simply because it had the verb “hören” in it, which means ‘to listen’. Noooooo, I was totally wrong!!!! The German language is notorious for adding prefixes to verbs and completely changing the meaning of the verb. Don’t worry! You will get to learn what they mean by continuous practice 🙂

hören versus aufhören (to listen vs. to stop)

Wir hören Musik mit den Ohren. We listen to music with our ears.

Ich höre mit dem Rauchen auf. I stop smoking.

In the above sentence you will immediately notice that the verb ‘aufhören’ is separated. The prefix ‘auf’ is added to the end of the sentence. Here is another example.

The English translations to the first sentence is: We drive in Winter to Italy. The translation of the second sentence with the separable verb is: I’ll leave in a few days.

Here is a list of some of the prefixes that are used.

 

Here are some other examples:

einkaufen: Wir kaufen Obst ein. We buy fruit.

ankommen: Ich komme um 13:00 Uhr an. I arrive at 1pm.

mitnehmen: Ich nehme mein Buch mit. I take my book with me. 

fernsehen: Die Kinder sehen gerne fern. The children like watching TV.

nachdenken: Ich denke über diesen Plan nach. I am thinking about this plan.

vorlesen: Frank liest den Kindern die Geschichte vor. Frank reads the story (aloud) to the children. 

You can download the pdf of the information shown above here.

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