German compound verbs


Main Verb
to catch fangen
to fetch holen
to come kommen
to let; to leave lassen
to lend, borrow leihen
to do; to make machen
to take nehmen

Compound Verb
to begin anfangen
to pick up abholen
to depend; to arrive ankommen
to leave verlassen
to lend, borrow ausleihen
to switch on anmachen
to lose weight
to do; undertake
to gain weight
abnehmen
unternehmen
zunehmen

The gender and plural of compound nouns are determined by the final element of the noun, the declension of a compound verb is determined by the final element. Thus although all the compounds of "sehen" are irregular, they are not listed separately in verb tables as it suffices to learn the endings of "sehen" to be able to decline them all.

Examples in German:

I can't see any black clouds.
Ich sehe keine schwarzen Wolken.

You often watch television.
Du siehst oft fern

Anna watches the talk show.
Anna sieht sich die Talkshow an.

Other types of compound verbs German compound verbs are not only formed by adding prefixes, but also by adding other parts of speech.

to cycle = Rad fahren
to ski = Ski laufen
to go shopping = einkaufen gehen
to go for a walk = spazieren gehen

Although these compound verbs are written as two words, they behave in the same way as verbs with a separable prefix. This means that it is only the second element which declines even if the first element is another verb as with einkaufen gehen and spazieren gehen. It means that, like a separable prefix, the first element is positioned at the end of a German clause.

Examples in German:

Thomas likes cycling.
Thomas fährt gern Rad.

Do you like skiing?
Läufst du gern Ski?

I'm going shopping this afternoon.
Heute Nachmittag gehe ich einkaufen.

We go for a walk every evening.
Wir gehen jeden Abend spazieren.



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