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The Verb lösen and its Prefix Versions

Even without a prefix, the verb lösen has quite a few different meanings. Compare the following sentences:

 

Schon geringste Bewegungen lösen Sediment von den Decken.

Even the slightest movements loosen sediment from the ceilings.

Caption 18, Alpenseen: Kühle Schönheiten

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Ich bin froh, dass die beiden einen Weg gefunden haben, ihre Probleme zu lösen.

I'm glad they found a way to solve their problems.

Caption 54, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Probleme

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...sodass ich mich von allem anderen lösen kann.

...so that I can free myself from everything else.

Caption 48, Sons of Sounds: Open-Air in Karlsruhe

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Also, wir lösen die Bremse, geben Gas, der Schubpropeller schiebt uns.

So, we release the brake, give it gas, the thrust propeller pushes us.

Caption 44, Ultraleicht-Flieger: Der Gyrocopter

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Now let's take a look at the various prefix versions, starting with auslösen, which can mean "to trigger," "to spark," or "to provoke."

 

Eine wenig schmeichelhafte Stern-Titelstory über Bushido löste Debatten über kriminelle Clans aus.

A hardly flattering Stern cover story about Bushido sparked debates about criminal clans.

Captions 17-18, Jahresrückblick 2013: Deutsche Promis

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Wir haben die erste Stufe bereits ausgelöst.

We have already initiated the first level.

Caption 44, Die Stunde der Offiziere: Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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The verb auflösen, on the other hand, can mean "to dissolve," "to dissipate," "to disappear," or "to disperse."

 

Die muss aufgelöst werden im bisschen lauwarmen Wasser.

It has to be dissolved in a bit of lukewarm water.

Caption 16, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Bayern

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Matteo kann sich auch nich' in Luft auflösen.

Matteo can't just disappear into thin air.

Caption 14, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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The verb ablösen can mean "to detach," but also "to relieve," as in taking over from someone when doing shift work. In the following sentence, however, this is actually better translated as "we took turns."

 

Hier für das Wallnau-Projekt haben wir uns immer abgelöst mit'm Filmen.

For the Wallnau project here, we always took turns filming.

Caption 26, Die Insel Fehmarn: Wasservogelreservat Wallnau

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Lastly, the non-separable verb erlösen means "to release," "to redeem," or "to free."

 

Und dann kamst du und hast mich erlöst, mein Engel.

And then you came and released me, my angel.

Caption 1, Küss mich, Frosch Die Zeiten haben sich geändert - Part 2

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Further Learning
You will find many examples with lösen, auslösen, auflösen, ablösen, and erlösen on Yabla. Here is a longer list of related verbs that you can learn as well.

Talking about the Future in German

Like in English, there is more than one way to construct sentences about the future in German. This week, we’ll take a look at the two options for this. 

Sometimes, you may notice that what at first glance looks like the present tense in German is translated with either the present continuous, a "going to" + infinitive construction, or the "will"-future in English. When you see this, it’s best to look at the whole sentence, where you will likely find clues that tell you that the action isn't actually occurring yet and will take place momentarily or in the near or distant future. Even though there are sentences that use the present tense with future meaning in English (an example would be "They arrive this evening"), it is much less common. Have a look at the following examples: 

 

Und jetzt gehen wir in die Werbung. 

And now we'll go to commercial. 

Caption 22, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Bayern

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Wenn es so weitergeht, dann können wir bald Schlitten fahren.

If it continues like this, we'll soon be able to go sledding.

Caption 28, Deutsch mit Eylin: Das Wetter

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Im Zoo waren wir gestern, heute gehen wir ins Schwimmbad.

We were at the zoo yesterday. Today we're going to the swimming pool.

Caption 14, Sabine erzählt Witze: Die Pinguine

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Heute lernen wir die Zahlen von eins bis tausend.

Today we're going to learn the numbers from one to a thousand.

Caption 5, Deutsch mit Eylin: Zahlen und die Grundrechenarten

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You may be thinking, "What about the verb werden?" Indeed, the construction werden + infinitive is also used to express something that has yet to happen, especially to emphasize the fact that it will happen in the future or express that it's still not 100% certain. 

 

Ich werde mir etwas zu essen und zu trinken aussuchen.

I'm going to choose something to eat and drink.

Caption 9, Abendessen: mit Marko

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Und keine Sorge, du wirst mich hier nie wieder sehen!

And don't worry, you'll never see me here again!

Caption 51, Heidi: Ladenverbot

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Sie wird sich Sorgen machen, wenn sie nichts von mir hört.

She will worry if she doesn't hear anything from me.

Caption 29, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Besuch

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Auf die Suppe werden wir jetzt noch die Croutons und die angebratenen Zwiebeln draufmachen.

Now we're going to add the croutons and the fried onions to the soup.

Caption 69, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Hessen

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Oh, ihr werdet in einer halben Stunde noch besser verstehen.

Oh, you will understand even better in half an hour.

Caption 19, Deutschkurs in Tübingen: Verben mit Akkusativ

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Hier werden sie Tieren begegnen, die sonst nirgendwo in der Deutschen Bucht leben.

Here they will encounter animals that live nowhere else in the German Bight.

Caption 20, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Further Learning
You will find many similar examples on Yabla to learn from. Be sure to also check out our past lesson on werden, and review how it's used in its meaning "to become" or as part of the passive voice.

Eating Utensils in German

I'll bet by now most of you already know some of the German words for basic cutlery, so let's review those today and also take a look at a few eating utensil variations that you may not be as familiar with, starting with your basic spoon (der Löffel):

 

Brauche ich eigentlich auch einen großen Löffel?

Do I actually need a large spoon too?

Caption 22, Zu Besuch bei Jenny: In der Wohnung

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Now let's look at some special types of spoons: 

 

Und dann kommen da jetzt zwei Esslöffel Natronpulver rein.

And then we now add two tablespoons of baking soda.

Caption 45, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Bayern

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Ein halber Teelöffel frisch gemahlener schwarzer Pfeffer...

Half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper...

Caption 38, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Rheinland-Pfalz

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Here's a list of some of the many kinds of spoons: Butterlöffel, Dessertlöffel, Eierlöffel, Eislöffel, Gemüselöffel, Grapefruitlöffel, Honiglöffel, Kaffeelöffel, Kartoffellöffel, Marmeladenlöffel, Sahnelöffel, Salatlöffel, Saucenlöffel, Suppenlöffel, and Zuckerlöffel.

 

And now on to the basic knife (das Messer):

 

Mit dem Messer könnte ich ein bisschen Butter nehmen.

With the knife I could take a little bit of butter.

Caption 11, Jenny: beim Frühstück

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And some specialty knives:

 

Und wenn kein Fischmesser vorhanden ist, warum sollte man nicht ein normales Messer nehmen?
And if there's no fish knife available, why not use a regular knife?

 

As well as: Brotmesser, Dessertmesser, Obstmesser, Steakmesser, Tafelmesser, and Tortenmesser.

 

And last but not least, the fork (die Gabel): 

 

Ich brauche zum Essen noch eine Gabel.

In order to eat I need a fork.

Caption 21, Zu Besuch bei Jenny: In der Wohnung

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And some specialty forks: 

 

Links vom Teller liegen die große Gabel, die Fischgabel und eine kleine Gabel für die Vorspeisen.
To the left of the plate are the large fork, the fish fork and a small fork for the appetizers.

 

As well as: Bratengabel, Dessertgabel, Essgabel, Fleischgabel, Kartoffelgabel, Ofengabel, and Vorlegegabel.

 

Remember too that der Löffel is a masculine noun, die Gabel feminine, and das Messer a neuter noun. If you can remember the word order Löffel, Gabel, and Messer, it's the same gender order as der Vater, die Mutter, and das Kind. These genders remain applicable for all of the words using -löffel, -gabel, and -messer as their root words.

 

Further Learning
Try to correctly translate the specialty cutleries listed above into English and read the German Wikipedia article about cutlery. For some even more complete lists of the different types of spoons, knives, and forks—some of them having nothing to do with cutlery–see the Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (DWDS) pages for spoons, knives, and forks.  You can also search for Löffel, Gabel and Messer on German Yabla and see the ways the words are used in real spoken contexts by native German speakers.

German Verbs Connected with Lassen

There are at least ten German verbs that have unique meanings when connected with lassen ("to let"). Not so very long ago, they were literally connected with lassen in that they used to be written together as a single verb. However, in the last decades, the arbiter of German grammar, Duden, proclaimed that it is preferable grammatically to write the root verbs and lassen as separate words. Oddly enough, rather than subordinating the version with lassen to the main listing for the verb in question, Duden still has them listed in a dictionary single entry -- for two verbs. Thus if you search on Duden for the old spelling of fallenlassen, the first match will be fallen lassen.

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Here are some examples of verbs connected to lassen which in the past would have been written as a single verb, but are now usually separated by a space:

 

Und als sich der Mond schließlich zeigte,

And when the moon finally revealed itself,

glänzten die weißen Kieselsteine, die Hänsel hatte fallen lassen,

the white pebbles that Hansel had let fall gleamed

wie Silber.

like silver.

Captions 31-32, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Hänsel und Gretel

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Ich bin locker. Wenn ich will, kann ich mich total gehen lassen.

I am relaxed. If I want to I can totally let myself go.

Caption 26, Filmtrailer - Keinohrhasen

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Ansonsten gilt im Zoo weiterhin die Frühlingsdevise:

Apart from that, in the zoo the spring slogan still applies:

einfach mal hängen lassen!

at times simply just let it all hang out!

Caption 48, Rheinmain im Blick - Frühling im Zoo

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Diese Knochen macht dem Greifvogel kein Futterrivale streitig,

No rival will fight the bird of prey for these bones,

deshalb kann er sie ruhig liegen lassen.

so it can leave them well alone.

Captions 46-47, Die letzten Paradiese - Die Schönheit der Alpen 1

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Den Teig lassen wir jetzt fünfundvierzig Minuten ruhen.

We'll let the dough sit now for forty-five minutes.

Caption 33, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte - Bayern

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Und somit hab ich dann alles, was mit Studium und Musik zu tun hatte, erst mal sein lassen.

And with that, I then let everything go that had to do with university studies and music.

Caption 44, Powerfrau - Lina bleibt auf dem Boden

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Sie haben meiner Tochter schöne Augen gemacht und sie dann sitzen lassen.

You made eyes at my daughter and then abandoned her.

Caption 20, Oskar - Gehen, wenn es am schönsten ist - Loslassen

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Man sollte ihn besser für alle Zeiten stehen lassen.

You'd be better off to leave it there for all time.

Caption 35, Piggeldy und Frederick - Regenbogen

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As an added note, there are many other verbs ending with lassen that are still written as one word. Most of them have adjectives or adverbs as prefixes. Go to this link at dict.cc and see many examples.

 

Further Learning
See if you can guess the meanings of bleiben lassen and fahren lassen and then check a German dictionary to see if you got them right. You can also look for more examples of the above verbs related to lassen on Yabla German.

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