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Separable Verbs in the Present Tense


I. Theory

In German, certain prefixes are added to verbs to add nuance to the original verb’s meaning or produce an entirely different meaning. These prefixes are typically prepositions and when the verb is conjugated, they separate from the verb stem and take a position later in the sentence.

Similar verbs are seen in English. They are called phrasal verbs:

To break up: The police broke the fight up.

To turn off: Before leaving, I turn the lights off.

To hand out: I handed the posters out.

German examples:


Ich stimme dir zu.
I agree with you.


Ich lade sie zur Party ein.
I invite her to the party.


Wann kommt der Zug an?
When does the train arrive?

II. Word Order

When the verb is in its infinitive form, the prefix remains attached. However, when using the verb in the present tense, the prefix is relocated to the end of the sentence:

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