Some German verbs have a prefix (as we have already
seen), some verbs are compound verbs as a combination
of verb with preposition. These verbs are for instance:
= to start
= to fall
= to fall down
= to fall over
= to attack
= to be abolished
= to think
= to imagine, to invent
= to drive
= to drive away, to go away by car (or train)
= to go some place (by car or train)
Now there are some interesting
details about these compound verbs. The conjugation
is everything but easy:
Ich fange an.
= I start.
Ich falle hin.
= I fall down.
The preposition is separated from
the conjugated verb and moves at the end of the sentence.
We don't go into more details now, but it is the very
end of the sentence (even with direct objects and attributes
Have a look at
= to stand sth, to
Wir halten das aus.
= We stand this.
das aus. = We stood it.
= to soak sth
weiche es ein.
= I soak it.
weichte es ein.
= I soaked it.
= to cut sth
schneide den verfaulten Teil ab.
= I cut the rotten
schnitt den verfaulten Teil ab.
= I cut the rotten part.
And last but not least there
are also perfect participles with these compound verbs
- even though they are not as difficult.
= I have fallen.
= I have fallen over.
Hund hat den Mann angefallen.
= The dog has attacked the man.
hat er sich ausgedacht.
= He has invented it.
hatte lange nachgedacht.
= She had thought for a long time.
war am Morgen weggefahren.
= He had left in the morning.
Here you see that the perfect participles
of these compound verbs are not that difficult. The
participle remains the same and the preposition
finds its place at the start of the word. Of course
- if you want to see it that way - the ge- prefix is
going in the middle between preposition and "normal"
participle. The result is the same.
Actually there are two different types of these verbs;
those ones that separate from their preposition and
those ones that don't.
a verb that
separates from its preposition
fahre mit dem Auto hin.
= I go there by car.
a verb that
keeps the preposition
= to think, to reflect
es mir. = I think about it.
And to make things even more complicated:
there are verbs that might act this way or that way
and depending on that meaning something very different.
= to knock down
fährt ihn mit seinem Auto um.
= He knocked him down with his car.
hat ihn mit seinem Auto umgefahren.
= He has knocked him down with his car.
= to go round
umfährt das Hindernis
= He goes round the obstacle.
hat das Hindernis umfahren.
= He has gone round the obstacle.
The million-dollar question is how to know? First, from
the context you'll know. Second there is a difference
in the pronunciation. If the verb is separated the infinitive
has the emphasis on the first syllable. If they stick
together the emphasis is on the second syllable. But this
is a minor detail of the German language that should
not bother you too much at the moment.