Prefix Verbs Explained – “die Ausnahme”

ausnahme-german-exceptionHello everyone,

and welcome to a new episode of our summer series about German prefix verbs. This time we’ll have a look at a verb that is one of the main reasons why language learning can suck. Get ready for a look at the meaning of the verb

die Ausnahme


Wait… this is weird. I … I thought verbs don’t have articles. Is this one an excepti… what? … oh… ohhhh…  a noun… haha… right, I just thought… uh… I… let’s just move on. Die Ausnahme is a of course a noun, and having it as the topic for a prefix verb short is an exception. But there’s a good reason. Ausnahme is an exception indeed. In fact, it is THE exception.

And guess what… exception and Ausnahme are the EXACT same word. In exception we have the prefix ex, which just like aus expresses outside-ness, and we have  “cept” which comes from the Latin word capere and that word meant… to take. Just like nehmen, which is the base for “nahme”. So…. both literally mean take-out. They’re just not a tasty take-out from the deli but the nasty take-out from a rule…. or some regularity.

Now, there are two related words to Ausnahme that express the same idea. The first  is  ausnahmweise.  It is super uber common and means something along the lines of by way of exception or as an exception.

I guess, we should note that ausnahmsweise does NOT mean exceptional(ly) in sense of exceptional quality. That would be expressed by other words.

All right.
The second useful word is ausgenommen.  You’d use that to exclude items from a list … like save, excluded, other than or apart from. Kind of like the fancier brother of ausser. It sounds fancier and it has the fancier grammar because it can be placed before AND after the stuff it exempts.

Now, ausgenommen is not just some random word. It’s actually the ge-form of the verb ausnehmen. Which brings us to the big question… what’s up with that? What’s up with ausnehmen?
The answer to that is … not much.
It is used in sense of excluding, exempting….but not in daily talk. Only in beautiful sentences like this one:

Oh and besides that, ausnehmen is also the  technical term for to gut and to gill

but unless you’re a hunter, a fisherman or a journalist you will not need ausnehmen like ever. Seriously… I’m pretty sure I haven’t used it in years – the one time I needed it in context of Fisch ausnehmen mal ausgenommen ;).
All right. What I do use though is the r-version.


This r-version is no exception at all. As usual, it takes the combination of verb and prefix as literally as possible. Rausnehmen means to take something out of something.

It is also used in the somewhat abstract phrasing sich das Recht rausnehmen  (lit.: take out the right for oneself) and the shortened version sich etwas rausnehmen which both express the idea of (self righteously) allowing yourself some freedom that others don’t quite agree with.

All right.
And I think that’s it for today.
This was our Prefix Verb Short and it was an exception because we looked at the noun die Ausnahme which is what we love most about languages…. an exception. The r-version is also pretty good to know but verb ausnehmen itself not useful at all and it’s enough to understand it from context.
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions or if you want to rant about exceptions a bit, just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

**  die Ausnahme – fact sheet  **


based on:
ausnehmen – to exclude, to exempt, to gut (only in official language and when hunting or fishing)

related words:
ausnahmsweise – as an exception, by way of exception, for once … NOT exceptionally in sense of outstanding quality
ausgenommen – apart, except, (rare)
rausnehmen – to actually  take out something from something
der Ausnahmezustand – emergency rule, state of emergency
ausnahmslos – without exception

for members :)

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You may want to point out that “rausnehmen” is short for “herausnehmen”….might confuse some folks :-)

Nikolaus Wittenstein
Nikolaus Wittenstein

Patreon! Gute Idee. :)


Brilliant post as usual.
Could you please explain how ‘mal’ (in: Eigentlich esse ich kein Fleisch aber heute mache ich mal eine Ausnahme.) fits into the translation “Normally, I don’t eat meat but today I’ll make an exception.” The translation still seems to work without it.


Super entry – thanks! One question:

Ich nehme ein Buch aus dem Regal (he)raus

Would this double “aus” be correct/common, or would just the first do?

Abal Neto

I’ve just entered this site and I started laughting. This site is simply amazing, it makes learning german so much fun.
The best part? I’m serious.


I would like to know how you started to learn German, did you begin with the common words or sentences, or did you begin with the alphabet and grammar etc. Alternatively, did you do speaking and reading at the same time or start with one or the other? Thanks x


Ive been learning it for a few years now and whilst its not great (my skill level of the language) its come on a lot. I think you need to do a bit of everything but not all at once. I started off learning the easy basics (numbers,letters,basic grammar,simple words) I started off speaking it first, but only because i was in germany and had to learn fast, but now i think the speaking part of me is way behind, i can read/hear and understand a lot more than i can produce by writing and way more than i can speak, but those 2 only come from being actively involved in german (or any language) as part of your daily life (at least in my opinion). Probably easiest to start with reading and writing together, and then later on speaking and listening come as a pair also. You should probably keep a minimum exposure of listening at all times throughout the learning process, certainly for me it helps to know the words by sound and text, just so i can tie them together. Duolingo is a great resource for taking the first steps in the language, as you progress you will outgrow it but you will know when that time comes. Try to expose yourself to the language every day in some way (by reading the news, by watching a video on youtube or coming to this site and reading the great blogs within :D) and even though you might not notice progress, it all goes in there and comes out eventually. If you need any more resource pointers i can certainly give you some more ideas based on the things that i did back then to get started.


There is one more – colloquial – use of “ausnehmen” as when it is used as “abzocken” or “ausrauben”.


Hi Just wondered if you have a search facility on this site to list articles on a given word or phrase, I think this would be very useful.


Einfach tolle erklärungen!


It would be great if you could add newsletter feature to your cool blog. I checked it regularly but it’s not like you will post every day or at some specific time, so its kind of not efficient :3. I don’t know clearly but seem like wordpress has that feature itself.

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader

“Kann ich noch Fernsehen?”

Das sollte kleingeschrieben werden. Kein Substantiv ;)


hey would you please recommmend a good website where I can get the opportunity to practise speaking with a native speaker so that I can put all I learn from your blog into practice.


I see that “ausnehmen” in the sense of “jemanden ausnehmen wie ein Weihnachtsgans” is already in the comments. Aside from that you did again an exceptional job in explaining this word family and relatively short this time too. Only one other word I would consider as missing, the particip 1 of ausnehmen: “ausnehmend”. It is like most of the words in this family a bit fancy but it adds an interesting facett to the word I would say. You would use it mostly before an article as a strengthener. Like in:

Wir waren alle bei ausnehmend guter Laune. = We all were in an exceptionally good mood.

Wow, what a surprise there it is: “exceptionally”. So that was in the spectrum of this family after all. Well, it does not work as a lonely adjective though. “Das ist ausnehmend.” makes no sense at all.

PS: You should look at the page to this word the synonyms are just cracy. It wents from “auffallend”(remarkable) over “himmlisch”(heavenly) on to “irre”(crazy) all the way to “scheußlich”(abominable). All words you could also use to strengthen another adjective but are if used as adjectives on their own very much opposites.


Wow, that were many mistakes in such a short comment. Firstly I meant “adjective” in line 6 not “article”. And the PS is just messed up “crazy” not “cracy” and what have I thought when I wrote “wents”? It should be “goes”. There are some more errors but these ones seem to be the worst. Sorry for that.


Great article. One point though is that the usage of “rausnehmen” for entitlement. For example, translating this sentence

“The boss thinks he is entitled to special treatment”

Would be ” Der chef glaubt, er steht besondere Behandlung/Extrawurst zu.

I mean that I dont think you can use it directly in terms of giving or receiving. Its kinda indirect (idk how to phrase it ) Here is on example(s) I thought of.

Es ist unmöglich zu glauben, was sich er rausnehmen.
Sein Teil nehmt nicht raus was er getan haben (highly doubt this one)