Deutsch Uncategorized

Verbs: separable

‘Separable’ verbs are used in sentences such as ‘I wash up’ or ‘I came back’, which include both a verb (wash/come) and a ‘particle’ (up/back).

Verbs: Separable verbs

Common separable verbs

Verb Translation
abwaschen To wash up
abtrocknen To dry up
ankommen To arrive*
anziehen To put on
aufpassen To watch/pay attention*
aufräumen To tidy up
aufstehen To get up
fernsehen To watch TV*
umsteigen To change (trains etc) *
weggehen To go away
zurückkommen To come back
zurückrufen To call back

Did you notice:

  • There is sometimes a separable ‘particle’ in German where there isn’t one in English*.
  • The patterns eg ‘aus’ means off, ‘zurück’ means back etc.

Separable verbs in the present tense

Separable verbs follow the normal present tense rules. The key thing with these verbs is to take the separable particle (the bit in bold in the common separable verbs table), and put it at the end.

Here are some examples:

  • Ich wasche ab -> I wash up.
  • Mein Bruder sieht jeden Abend fern -> My brother watches TV every evening.
  • Wir kaufen jede Woche in der Stadt ein -> We go shopping every week in town.

Separable verbs in the perfect (past) tense

Separable verbs follow the normal perfect tense rules.

  • The auxiliary verb: haben or sein – look at the verb to decide which one it will be, eg:ankommen -> the verb is kommen -> kommen takes sein -> so, ankommen also takes sein.

    anziehen -> the verb is ziehen -> ziehen takes haben -> so, anziehen also takes haben.

  • Past participle – you need to find the past participle of the verb.Eg in einladen, the verb is ‘laden’ and the particle is ‘ein’. The past participle of laden is geladen.
  • All you need to do now is incorporate the particle. Add it to the front of the normal past participle. For example:Einladen -> the verb is ‘laden’ and the particle is ‘ein’.

    The past participle of laden -> geladen.

    The past participle of einladen -> eingeladen.

Example sentences

  • Ich bin um 9 Uhr angekommen -> I got back at 9am.
  • Meine Schwester hat im Wohnzimmer aufgeräumt -> My sister tidied up in the sitting room.
  • Wir sind in Gatwick umgestiegen. -> We changed trains in Gatwick.

Separable verbs in the future tense

Separable verbs follow the normal future tense rules. Use the correct form of ‘werden’, and put the infinitive at the end. The forms in the common separable verbs table (with a particle stuck on the front of a verb) are all infinitives.

Example sentences

  • Ich werde nach dem Essen abtrocknen -> I am going to wash up after the meal.
  • Sarah wird in zwei Stunden zurückkommen -> Sarah is going to come back in 2 hours.
  • Meine Brüder werden am Samstag sehr spät aufstehen -> My brothers are going to get up very late on Saturday.

Common mistakes made by English speakers

  • Forgetting to put the particle at the end in the present tense.
  • Putting the ‘ge-‘ in front of the particle in the past participle.
  • Missing the particle off when there isn’t one in English.

Comments are closed.

Powered by: Wordpress