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Beleg, belegen, belegt

The noun der Beleg, the verb belegen and the adjective belegt have related roots, but are used differently in a variety of contexts. Let's start with the noun der Beleg.


Du brauchst einen Ort, an dem deine Belege sicher sind.

You need a place where your documents are safe.

Caption 7, Reposito - in 60 Sekunden

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Der Beleg is often translated as "evidence," "proof," "document," "documentation," "voucher," or "receipt." In everyday life in Germany, I probably hear it most often when leaving the cash register at the supermarket after having paid: Möchten Sie den Beleg haben?


Now onto the verb belegen: 


Nun muss ich meinen Teig nur noch mit den Apfelstücken belegen.

Now I just have to cover the batter with the apple pieces.

Caption 29, Apfelkuchen - mit Eva

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Unfallstudien belegen sogar, dass Autos mit hoher passiver Fußgängersicherheit

Accident studies even prove that cars with a higher passive [automatic] protection for pedestrians

für den Unfallschutz von Radfahrern kaum helfen.

barely help in the protection of cyclists from accidents.

Captions 12-13, Crashtest - Fahrradfahrer profitieren kaum vom Fußgängerschutz am Auto

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Wie man hier sieht, haben wir auch frisches Gemüse

As you see here, we also have fresh vegetables

wie Tomaten, Gurken,

like tomatoes and cucumbers

da wir frisch, äh, Sandwiches und Brötchen belegen.

since we make fresh sandwiches and rolls.

Captions 21-23, Berlin - Judith und die „Brezel Bar“

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In most cases, belegen is usually translated as to "to cover," "to prove," or "to document." In the last example, however, an open-faced sandwich is a belegtes Brot in German. Thus when you literally "cover" sandwiches and bread rolls, you are in fact "making" them. Again, understanding properly all depends upon the context!


The verb belegen can also be translated as "to occupy" or "to take," at least in the sense that you "occupy" a position in a race or "take" a university course: 


Nürnberg belegt jetzt Platz fünfzehn...

Nuremberg is now in fifteenth place...

Caption 46, FC Bayern München - in einer eigenen Liga

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Na ja, in der Justizvollzugsanstalt Fuhlsbüttel kannst du ja einen Kursus belegen als Alleinunterhalter.

Well, at Fuhlsbüttel Penitentiary you can take a class to become a solo entertainer.

Caption 66, Großstadtrevier - St. Pauli rettet HSV

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Last but not least, let's take a look at belegt as an adjective: 


Die besten Plätze sind schnell belegt.

The best places are quickly occupied.

Caption 43, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Drei Damen vom Grill, die eine belegte Schrippe mit 'ner Bulette gefüllt haben [Inhaber]

Three ladies from the grill who have filled an open-faced roll with a meatball [owner]

und das Hamburger genannt haben.

and called that a hamburger.

Captions 14-15, Berlin - Die beste Auswahl an Hamburgern

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Further Learning
See if you can find other examples of der Beleg, belegen, and belegt on Yabla German and find a tandem partner to take turns making up and checking your own sentences using these words.

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