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Conjugating the Weak Verb
Using the Verb
Auxiliary Verbs
Strong and Irregular Verbs
Modal Auxiliaries
The Subjunctive and Imperative
Inseperable and Seperable Prefixes

Inseperable Prefixes | Seperable Prefixes | Inseperable or Seperable | Placement of Seperable | Placement with Infinitive | Hin and Her | How Compound Prefixes Act | Prefixes in Subordinating Clauses | Inseperable Prefix Meanings | Be- | Ent- | Er- | Miß- | Ver- | Zer-

Many of the verbs that make up a language consist of verbs with seperable or inseperable prefixes. Look at English's verb to take, there are many variations of this verb and by adding a prefix you can add to or change the meaning. You can have the verb to mistake, to undertake, and to overtake. The first two are examples of inseperable prefixes, that is they stay with the verb stem, whereas the last is a seperable prefix which means that it leaves the verb stem.
Inseperable Prefixes: these prefixes never leave the verb stem:
schließen - (schließt, schloß, hat geschlossen) - to close:
beschließen - (beschließt, beschloß, hat beschlossen) - to resolve
erschließen - (erschließt, erschloß, hat erschlossen) - to open up

There are nine prefixes which cannot exist on there own, therefore they are inseperable:
be-, emp-, ent-, er-, ge-, miß-, ver-, wider-, and zer-
When these prefixes are used the verb does not add the ge- prefix for the past participle. Also when spoken these prefixes are never stressed, or emphasized.
Seperable Prefixes: these prefixes operate seperately in the finite forms:
Wir gehen aus - We are going out. (ausgehen)
This prefix precedes the ge- prefix in the past participle:

Unlike inseperables, seperable prefixes can exist on there own, so obviously there are many more of them. The most common are:
ab-, an-, auf-, ein-, mit-, nach-, vor-, zu-, zurück-, and zusammen-
Some which may be either inseperable or seperable include:
durch-, um-, über-, and wieder-
Note that when these are used as an inseperable the prefix is unstressed, but when they are used as a seperable the prefix is stressed.
Some verbs appear the same but because one form they have a seperable prefix and another they have an inseperable prefix their meaning is changed entirely. This is why it is important to stress the right part of the verb: (the italics is what you must stress):
durchreisen - to pass through (seperable)
durchreisen - to traverse (inseperable)
The seperable prefix goes to the end of the clause:
Sie geht jeden Tag um drei Uhr aus. - She goes out every day around three.
When the infinitive of a seperable is used with zu- then zu- is placed between the seperable prefix and the basic verb:
Aside from the prefixes listed above there are many compound prefixes which can be formed by combining prepostitions and adverbs or combining a seperable and an inseperable prefix. One example of prepostitions and adverbs combining, and probably the most common, is the combination of hin- and her- to many prepositions:
heraus, herum, hinab, and hinauf
It is best to learn seperable and inseperable prefix combinations as you come across them as there are so many possibilities.
Note though that if the seperable prefix comes first then the seperable prefix behaves like a regular seperable prefix, although it doesn't add a ge- prefix to the past participle:
Er vertraute es mir an - He entrusts it to me.
Er hat es mir anvertraut. - He entrusted it to me.
When the inseperable prefix comes first both prefixes are inseperable:
Sie veranstalteten ein großes Konzert. - They organized a big concert.
It may also occur that you have two seperable prefixes, when this happens they combine to become one seperable prefix:
Wir hatten vorausgesetzt, daß du um diese Zeit zu Hause bist. - We had assumed that you would be at home at this time.
Verbs in subordinating clauses (which will be looked at later) occupy the final position, when this happens with a seperable verb the prefix remains attached to the verb as it does in the infinitive and the past participle:
Ich weiß nicht, ob er zurückkommt. - I don't know if he's coming back.
Es schlug zehn Uhr, als er abfuhr. - It was striking ten when he drove off.
Here is a list of what the inseperable prefixes mean:
1. makes intransitive verbs transitive: bezahlen - to pay
2.turns adjectives or nouns into verbs with the meaning to cover with or supply: beleuchten - to illuminate
1. denotes origin, change, development: entstehen - to arise
2. forms opposites: entfalten - to unfold
3. denotes seperation or deprivation: entnehmen - to take from
4. with some verbs of motion it can add the effect of escape: entfliehen - to run away
5. ent- sometimes changes to emp- to sound better: empfinden - to feel
1. denotes achievement: erfinden - to invent
2. has the force of to death: erschlagen - to slay
1. forms opposites: mißverstehen - to misunderstand
2. denotes something done incorrectly or badly: mißhandeln - to illtreat
1. can intensify the meaning: verlassen - to abandon
2. adds the sense of away: vertreiben - to drive away
3. denotes making a mistake: verpassen - to miss
4. denotes a way of spending time: verplaudern - to chatter away
5. add a negative or unfavourable sense: verkennen - to misjudge
6. forms the opposite of the root verb: verkaufen - to sell
7. forms verbs from adjectives (with the sense of to make + the adjective): verbessern - to improve (exmaple: to make better)
1. denotes apart or to pieces: zerbrechen - to smash
Lesson Sixteen - Modal Auxiliaries -->