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Separable Verbs and Related Prepositions, Part I

It is pretty unusual in English to have the same word with a completely different meaning occur twice in the same sentence. But as you will learn today, in German it is a fairly commonplace occurence.

 

Separable verbs often start with prefixes that are identical to prepositions. Here is a partial list of separable verbs that start with prefixes that on their own are prepositions, followed by examples of one of the verbs and the preposition:

 

Preposition: ab (from, off, starting, beginning, away)
Separable verbs: abbrennen (to burn down); abgeben (to turn in, to hand over); abkürzen (to shorten); abnehmen (to lose weight, to take something off); abschließen (to finish, to lock something)

 

Nimm mal die Brille ab! Er hat ganz rote Augen.

Take off the glasses! He has really red eyes.

Caption 31, Pastewka Cantz fährt betrunken Auto

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Ab nächster Woche geht das Fitnessprogramm wieder los.

Beginning next week, the fitness program will get going again.

Caption 36, Claudia Schiffer Nach der Babypause

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Using the verb abnehmen and the preposition ab, you can construct a sentence such as the one below. Can you tell from the sentence structure which ab is part of the verb and which is the preposition?

 

Ab diesem Zeitpunkt nehme ich die Sonnenbrille ab.
From this moment on, I'm taking off my sunglasses
.

 

Preposition: an (at, upon, on, to, towards)
Separable verbs: anerkennen (to recognize); andeuten (to hint at, to suggest); angeben (to indicate, to state, to brag); anklagen (to accuse); anschauen (to watch); anstellen (to hire, to employ); anweisen (to instruct); anwenden (to use); sich anziehen (to dress)

 

Dieser gibt an, wie die Hühner gehalten werden.

This indicates how the chickens are kept.

Caption 11, Bioeier Wie funktioniert der Erzeugercode?

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Behindert werden an dieser Stelle weder der Verkehr noch die Fußgänger.

Neither the traffic nor the pedestrians are impeded at this point.

Caption 29, Richter Alexander Hold Richtig parken

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Er gibt an dieser Stelle an, was er getan hat.
At this point, he states what he has done.

 

Preposition: auf (onto, upon, on, to, at, up)
Separable verbs: aufatmen (to breathe a sigh of relief); aufbleiben (to stay up, to stay open); aufführen (to perform); aufklären (to inform, enlighten, clear up); auflockern (to liven up); aufnehmen (to record, to take a picture); aufpassen (to look out, to take care); aufräumen (to clean up); aufschlagen (to open up); aufwachsen (to grow up)

 

Achtung, Luise, pass auf!

Attention, Luise, watch out!

Caption 59, Bretten Das Peter-und-Paul-Fest

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Sie waren die Schnellsten auf dem Acker.

They were the fastest on the field.

Caption 18, Barfuß unter Schafen Schäferwettrennen

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The verb aufpassen generally means "to watch out" for something, but combined with the preposition auf and a person, it means "to take care":

 

Pass auf dich auf, hm?

Take care of yourself, hm?

Caption 16, Lilly unter den Linden Kapitel 4: Die Grenze - Part 2

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Further Learning
See if you can come up with some other sentences that contain a separable verb and a preposition that is identical to the verb's prefix and have your teacher check your work. You can also look for more examples of separable verbs used with the same prefixes as prepositions on Yabla German.

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