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Verbs with laufen

There are many German verbs that consist of a rather common or basic verb combined with a prefix. Their meaning may then be somewhat or completely different from the verb they contain. You may have read our lessons about verbs related to gehen and verbs with holen. We also have overviews for sprechen and kaufenToday, let's have a look at some verbs that stem from the verb laufen

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By itself, the verb laufen is sometimes synonymous with the translation of gehen as "to walk." However, it also means "to run," and can be used to describe a human or animal running, but also a machine that is "running." It is often used to describe something that is in progress, happening, in operation, or proceeding. Take a look at how the following sentences are translated:

 

Wir laufen durch die Straßen.

We walk through the streets.

Caption 39, Christina Stürmer: Wir leben den Moment

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Ja, und wie läuft's bei dir so in der Wache? Nein, sag bloß!

Yes, and how is it going with you at the station? No way!

Caption 46, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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Und das sind die drei Kriterien, wenn die gut laufen, dann läuft auch der Blindenfußball gut.

And these are the three criteria, if they go well, then blind football also goes well.

Caption 22, Blindenfußball Treffen nach Ton

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Die meisten kennen mich wahrscheinlich aus der Sendung „Der Bachelor“, die sehr erfolgreich auf RTL läuft.

Most of you probably know me from the series "Der Bachelor," which is having a very successful run on RTL.

Captions 11-12, Anja Polzer: Interview

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Sorry, das läuft auf meinem alten Laptop nicht. Da müssen wir zu dir.

Sorry, this won't run on my old laptop. We'll have to go to your place.

Caption 35, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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And now for some related verbs. Let's begin with ablaufen, which can mean "to go," "to proceed," "to lapse," or "to expire." 

 

Bei manchen Leuten läuft's sogar komplett ohne Symptome ab.

For some people, it even runs its course completely without symptoms.

Caption 23, Coronavirus: Schutzmasken zum Selbermachen

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Jetzt werde ich euch erzählen, wie ein Tag in meinem Leben abläuft.

Now I will tell you how a day in my life goes.

Caption 16, Jenny erklärt: Zeitintervalle

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Deine Zeit ist gleich abgelaufen.

Your time will be up soon.

Caption 21, Küss mich, Frosch: Für immer Frosch?

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Among its many meanings, verb auslaufen can mean "to spill" or "to leak," but also "to run out" or "to peter out."

 

Die Ostalgie-Welle ist auch langsam ausgelaufen.

The wave of "Ostalgie" has also slowly petered out.

Caption 2, Der Trabi: Das Kultauto aus dem Osten

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Then there are the verbs verlaufen and sich verlaufen. As you can see, these have very different meanings!

 

Bis jetzt ist alles wirklich gut verlaufen.

Up until now, everything has really gone well.

Caption 7, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

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Du sagst, wir haben uns nie verlaufen.

You say we've never gotten lost.

Caption 21, Philipp Dittberner: Das ist dein Leben

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Further Learning
You can find many other verbs in this list, some of which are more common than others. You will find many of these on Yabla German as well. Try to make your own examples with the following verbs: davonlaufen, fortlaufen, entlaufen, and herumlaufen.

Easily Confused Words

Words that look and sound similar can be difficult when learning a new language, especially if they also have a similar meaning! Today we'll offer some clarification using examples found on Yabla German

 

1. die Macke = the defect, der Mangel = the deficiency, the lack
What makes these two especially confusing is that the adjective mangelhaft means "defective," and like die Macke can be used, for example, to describe a broken product. Note below that the noun der Mangel, which refers instead to a lack of something, is used with the preposition an.

 

...oder die Platte eine Macke oder so? Ich meine, das war ja sehr alt, das Zeug,

...or the record has a defect or something? I mean, it was indeed very old, that thing,

Caption 68, RT Radiotonteam: Erinnerungen retten

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...insofern haben die ernstlich nie ernsthaften Mangel an Nahrung

...to this extent, they never seriously have a dire lack of nourishment

Caption 27, Freilebende Papageien: Überwintern in Wiesbaden

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2. die Löcher = the holes / die Lücke = the gap
This can be a bit tricky, but die Lücke describes a gap in one's teeth or a gap between the platform and the train, whereas das Loch, and therefore die Löcher, is a hole that you dig, drill, or cut out. 

 

Dann zeichnest du zwei Löcher ein, schneidest die aus...

Then you draw two holes, cut them out...

Caption 113, Coronavirus: Schutzmasken zum Selbermachen

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Und mit jedem Baum schließt du eine Lücke, die bereits in den Regenwald gerissen wurde.

And with every tree you're closing a hole that's already been torn in the rain forest.

Caption 52, OroVerde - Regenwald schützen: CO2, Regenwald und Klimaschutz

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3. übrig = left over, remaining / üblich = common, usual, typical
The adjectives übrig and üblich have quite different meanings, but still can be a bit difficult to keep straight. 

 

Ich hab die jetzt einfach gemischt, weil ich von den beiden übrig hatte.

I've now simply mixed them, because I had some of both left over.

Caption 18, Sallys Tortenwelt und Kochwelt: Apfelkuchen mit Marzipan und Mandelsplittern

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Oh nee, wenn der so weitermacht, haben wir bald gar nichts mehr übrig für den Flohmarkt!

Oh no, if he keeps this up, we'll soon have nothing left for the flea market at all!

Captions 83-84, Die Pfefferkörner: Endspurt

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Heute ist dies allerdings nicht mehr üblich.

Today, however, this is no longer common.

Caption 43, Jenny zeigt uns: die Uhr

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Sie liefen wie üblich und es war auch das übliche norddeutsche Wetter.

They walked as usual and it was also the usual North German weather.

Caption 7, Piggeldy und Frederick: Wanderdüne

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In case you are wondering about the word übel, we have a whole other newsletter you can look at!

 

Further Learning
You can find more examples of these words used by native speakers on German Yabla, or make your own sentence with each one.

Thick as a Brick

The German adjective and adverb dicht sounds a lot like the English word "thick," and while there are cases where it can be translated as "thick," it's the exception rather than the rule. Let's take a look today at the different ways that dicht can be translated in formal and informal contexts.

 

Dicht is often translated into English as "dense" or "densely," or in the case of dichter, "denser":

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Er sollte dehnbar sein, und je dichter, desto besser.

It should be stretchy, and the denser, the better.

Caption 79, Coronavirus: Schutzmasken zum Selbermachen

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Die Kaimauer des Südhafens ist dicht mit Seescheiden besiedelt.

The quay wall of the south harbor is densely populated with sea squirts.

Caption 13, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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It's also common to see dicht translated as the adjective "close" or the adverb "closely":

 

Die kommen ganz dicht dran. Sie beachtet die Leute überhaupt nicht, die Besucher.

They come very close. She doesn't pay attention to the people, the visitors at all.

Caption 41, Für Tierfreunde: Geparden

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Darin warten etwa 3.600 kleine Zähne, die in mehr als 300 dicht zusammenstehenden Reihen angeordnet sind.
Inside await roughly 3600 little teeth that are arranged in more than 300 closely set rows.
Captions 66-67, Evolution: Meeresbewohner

 

In slang usage, dicht machen can mean "to close": 

 

Komm, wir machen hier dicht.

Come on, let's close up here.

Caption 15, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Frau Korff kann dicht machen, ich verliere meinen Job,

Ms. Korff will have to close the business, I'll lose my job,

Caption 2, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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A rather unexpected formal usage of dicht conveys that something is sealed, in the sense of "not leaking": 

 

Das Boot ist dicht.
The boat is sealed.

 

Das Fass hält nicht mehr dicht.
The barrel is no longer sealed.

 

Probably related to dicht halten as “to keep sealed,” dichthalten is a slang way of referring to keeping a secret, in a similar sense to "my lips are sealed":

 

Bitte halte dicht, psst...

Please keep it a secret, shhh...

Caption 7, JoNaLu Wo ist Rosalie?

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When you rather rudely call somebody "thick" in English, you're saying that they are slightly crazy or stupid. But in German slang, you'd say nicht ganz dicht, the suggestion being that thoughts are "leaking" out of someone's head:

 

Johannes ist nicht ganz dicht.
Johannes is a crazy.

 

Last but not least, dicht may be formally translated in certain contexts as "thick": 

 

Das Wetter heute: Vormittags dichter Nebel, nachmittags sonnig.
Today's weather: morning thick fog, afternoon sunny.

 

Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and search for dicht to see the many different ways it is used in a variety of real-world contexts. 

Before, Part I: bevor, vor, or vorher?

There are a number of German words that may be translated as "before," in the temporal meaning of "at a previous time." Among the most common are vor, vorher, and bevor. Let's take a look today at these three German words that are commonly translated to English as "before."

 

The German word bevor is a subordinating conjunction that connects two independent clauses. Note that in most cases, where bevor appears in the last half of a sentence, the verb is usually at the end of the sentence: 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Darf ich's Ihnen dann noch schnell erklären,

May I explain it to you quickly

bevor Sie Ihre Platten essen?

before you eat your platters?

Caption 62, 48 h in Innsbruck - Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps

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Drei Wochen lang betteln hier die Jungen,

For three weeks, the young beg here

bevor sie sich selber in die Fluten stürzen.

before they dive into the waters themselves.

Caption 23, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten

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Aber bevor du jetzt schneidest,

But before you start cutting,

check erst mal, ob der Stoff passt.

first check whether the fabric is suitable.

Captions 77-78, Coronavirus - Schutzmasken zum Selbermachen

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The German word vor is a preposition and is usually placed in a sentence to modify a noun. Note that when vor is used in its temporal sense, the definite or indefinite article of its noun is usually dative. For clarity, the preposition, the article, and the noun are in bold print:

 

Du musst den Ball vor dem letzten Schlag der Zwölf verlassen haben.

You need to have left the ball before the last stroke of twelve.

Caption 52, Märchenstunde - Das Aschenputtel

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Soll er die Tabletten morgens,

Should he take the pills in the morning,

mittags und abends vor oder nach dem Essen nehmen?

at noon, and in the evening—and before or after eating?

Caption 17, Nicos Weg - A1 Folge 72: Nehmen Sie...

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Was bekommen wahlberechtigte Bürger und Bürgerinnen in Deutschland vor einer Wahl?

What do citizens who are eligible to vote in Germany receive before an election?

Caption 18, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest

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The German word vorher is an adverb:

 

Alles andere kommt vorher.

Everything else comes before it.

Caption 35, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Konjunktionen

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Und dann kam es wieder aus dem Gully raus

And then it came out of the storm drain again,

und noch viel größer und noch viel böser als vorher.

much bigger and much meaner than before.

Caption 54, Großstadtrevier - Von Monstern und Mördern

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Note that vorher is sometimes translated as "beforehand" and "previously," depending upon the context: 

 

Es besteht die Möglichkeit, jedes Board vorher zu testen...

The possibility exists, to test every board beforehand...

Caption 41, Longboarding - mit Lassrollen

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Dann bekommt man Geld zurück, das man vorher dafür bezahlt hat.

Then you get the money back that you previously paid for them.

Caption 13, Diane - auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt

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Further Learning
To recap: bevor usually connects two sentences; vor is a preposition that usually uses the dative case when referring to time; and vorher is an adverb that, as we know, modifies a verb. The best way to get an understanding of which word is appropriate in which context is hear them being used, however. Go to Yabla German and search for each of the three words—be sure that the examples with vor that you find are related to time and not place—and see the different ways that people commonly use them.

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