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Separable or not separable... that is the question!

Separable Verbs: verbs with a stressed prefix, that are separated when used in a sentence
i.e. mitkommen, mitfeiern, einladen

In each and every episode, we've all come to almost know by heart Frederick's blustery invitation to his younger brother, spoken as our beloved porcine brothers embark upon another stroll in the country. Let's all chime in with Frederick…


Komm mit."

"Come with me."

Caption 5, Piggeldy und Frederick - Langeweile

 Play Caption


Mitkommen means "to come" or "to come along." The prefix mit- is stressed which indicates that it is a separable prefix verb. Notice in this present tense construction: the verb is in the second position and the separable prefix is at the end. Here the German appears benignly analogous to our English. However, Vorsicht! Don't be lulled to sleep.


In this next clip that reports the celebration of World Pi Day, notice what happens when additional information is included in the predicate.


Da feierst du jetz' auch nich' mit beim Welt-Pi-Tag, oder?

Now you also don't celebrate along on World Pi Day or [do you]?

Caption 67, Welt-Pi-Tag - Unser Leben mit der Kreiszahl

 Play Caption


Where does the additional information, (namely... jetzt, auch, nicht) appear? Richtig! It is sandwiched between the conjugated verb and the prefix.

This is also the case for einladen (to invite):

Heute lade ich alle meine Freunde zu mir nach Hause ein.
Today I will invite all of my friends to my home.


The prefixes of separable verbs are, by and large, prepositions or adverbs, but sometimes even verbs or nouns, all meaning that they are independent words. And, since no one is born a master, you can learn more about separable verbs here.


Learning Tip

To practise recognizing separable verbs, select 3 clips. Watch each with both captions on. Pause and analyze the sentences which you think might contain a separable verb. Pay close attention to the correct pronunciation of the verb. Use the loop function of the Yabla Player to listen to it repeatedly and say the infinitive out loud, stressing the prefix, until you get it right. Do this exercise for all 3 clips (add more if necessary)! This will help you differentiate between stressed and unstressed prefixes and any remaining "separation anxiety" will end in smoke.


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