German Prefixes Explained – “ent-” Part II

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to the second part of our look at the prefix

ent-

In the first part (which you can find here), we learned that the core theme is removing but it can also lean toward out and for some verbs it even is about outward in a sense of emerging.
And honestly… if you’re just looking for practical information, that was all you need, because you can make sense of like 90% of all ent-verbs with it.

But hey… language learning shouldn’t all be about being practical and pragmatic and applicable. We’re not learning machines.
So today, we’ll indulge our inner nerd and look at the family and origin of ent- to get a few more insights. And also gather some material you can use on your next date to impress. Like…
“Did you know that ent- was etymologically related to antler?
“Uh… no. That’s so interesting.”
Absolute win. Also at parties.
And that’s not all because we’ll also see some more ent-verbs along the way, some of which are really really useful.
So are you ready to jump in?
Then let’s go.

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Khaledmet
Khaledmet
6 months ago

Great content as usual. Thanks for the scholarship, really appreciated.

I couldn’t help it but to think that entflammen is related to the previous meaning of ent of getting out into the word. Maybe, just a thought.

david_l
david_l
4 months ago
Reply to  Khaledmet

Actually, you’re right. wiktionary lists a third meaning for the ent- prefix: “indicating the beginning of something.” For examples it lists entflammen (set on fire), entbrennen (erupt), entzünden (ignite), entfachen (kindle), entsprießen (sprout out), entspringen (originate from), entstehen (come into being). The greek fire theory is creative, but i don’t think it can be true. The classical elements theory was known to be false in the early 1600s. entflammen wasn’t even a word yet at least according to google

Last edited 4 months ago by david_l
Mariov
Mariov
8 months ago

Where’s the PDF button?

valerie
valerie
8 months ago

I like your diagram for “entscheiden” – for me it’s that theres a choice out there in front (forward arrow) and i pick one for myself (the split) and it retrns to me (backward arrow) – explaining the reflexive – thanks for your in depth and interesting articles!

richtam
richtam
8 months ago

Tut mir Leid aber meine Zwangsstörung braucht eine “DONE” Taste :-)

Trevor
Trevor
8 months ago

What the heck is “beer to go”?

Sincerely,
An American

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

It’s perfectly idiomatic, just illegal almost everywhere in the US (New Orleans is the one exception I know of).

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

It is a bit weird, I guess – just part of the long Prohibition hangover, really. There are still counties in some states where alcohol isn’t sold at all, and there are all kinds of fairly bizarre rules about alcohol sales. Prohibition is also why our beer sucked for so long.

To be fair, there’s a reason the campaign to ban alcohol in America got so much traction. I’ve read that the average American at some point in the late 19th century drank the equivalent of like 60+ liters of whiskey per year.

aoind
aoind
8 months ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

Reminds of being in Maryland visiting my sister in law. No booze in the supermarkets but when you go to the off licence you’re greeted by bottles of bourbon and vodka so huge they have to put a hole for your thumb in the side. I’m not squeamish about the drink in any way but there is something sad about buying hard liquor in industrial-size containers.

Migas
Migas
8 months ago

Using your paths metaphor, the judge comes out and pronounces a ruling. The aggrieved parties, advocating several paths to the problem in question, have now heard the judge’s decision taking away all paths but the one by him chosen as the right one.
Hence, one takes away the paths of all, forcing them to often go with the conciliatory one offered by the judge’s decision. Whereas before they walked different paths to resolution, they’ve now been forced to turn back and all start upon the path chosen the Judge. That makes sense to me.

But please, include your sources, I WANT to go read in detail about these things :D

Migas
Migas
8 months ago
Reply to  Migas

can also be way more direct: entscheiden could mean to put aside all notions of justice by one’s hands, abandoning that path and turning instead to a judge as a mediator. Hence his pronouncing is the official call to leave their paths and instead follow the one proposed by the judge, which could be parallel to yours or the opposite of yours.

Also fits with the other meaning of removing. There are several paths to be travelled needing to be considered while deciding. By deciding, you are closing the several paths to the goal, destroying them by your action of walking said chosen path.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
9 months ago

The drawings reminded me that hand gestures can be helpful to remember the meaning of words (mostly verbs and prepositions for me). So I gave it a shot. It’s a little hard to explain and maybe kind of goofy, but it helped me connect the ideas of removing, out, in front of.

I hold one hand kind of like a well and use the other hand to pull an imaginary bucket of water up out of the well. That covers “removing” and “out”. If flames were to shoot out of the well, they would move in the same direction. And if you hold the bucket hand steady over the well hand, they’re kinda sorta facing each other, just top to bottom instead of left to right.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
9 months ago

Wow, that was a crazy and interesting ride.

I was still thinking about “enthalten”. Seems like the normal meaning has the idea of “in”. Kann Spuren von Nüssen enthalten / there may be traces of nuts in it.

The interesting part to me is “sich etw. (Gen.) enthalten”, to refrain from doing something. Sich des Lachens enthalten, which I would guess is a pretty rare way of saying to not laugh. Keep the laugh out of the room. I wonder if the two meanings developed separately, but couldn’t find much about it.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
9 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ohhh, neat! I had completely forgotten the er/ur connection and ent/in is brand new to me. One of these days, I’m going to kill at trivia night with all these tidbits xD

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Well I still haven’t found it yet, but I figure the chances of an odd super nerdy language question coming up are pretty good in a place full of lawyers and diplomats :)

Chloe1102
Chloe1102
9 months ago

Es tut mir sehr leid, dass Sie kein Feierabendbier genießen konnte. Aber es war…eine gute Show!

Michael
Michael
9 months ago

Here is my take on entscheiden. How do we observers know that someone has made a decision? We know for certain when we see the action. In that sense the instantiation of the resolution in the individual’s mind is outwards.

Sieg Freud
Sieg Freud
9 months ago

Danke für den erklärenden Beitrag und Sponsoring! Ich habe enthusiastisch gelesen!

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
9 months ago

Ich verstehe yetz besser, die prepositionen wie entweder, entgegen oder entlang ! Vielen Dank .

RuthE
RuthE
9 months ago

In English, ‘flammable’ and ‘inflammable’ mean the same. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/flammable-or-inflammable Nicely confusing. :-D

Rayko
Rayko
9 months ago

Thank you for the lesson

Elsa
Elsa
9 months ago

Hello,
ent-typoing part 2:
“get a bit more insights. And also gather some material you use on your next date” (get a few more insights. And also gather some material you can use on your next date)
And if we – this sentence stub is hovering on its own ;)
“one of the meaning” (one of the meanings)
“Or we let’s say” (Or let’s say)
“what were facing” (what were facing)
“the swear that faces a question” (the swearing that faces a question OR the swear words that face a question)
“looks like it actually based” (looks like it is actually based)
“But show is tomorrow” (But the show is tomorrow)
“far fetched” (far-fetched)
“all together” (altogether)
“Except for verb that started” (Except for verbs that started)
“Emanuel took sip” (Emanuel took a sip)

Thanks, I really liked the Raymond Chandleresque ending. Seriously.
Another thing I find really helpful are those drawings of yours for the prefixes. As a visual learner, I think they’re really useful, but I can only find this one and the one for “um” in your articles. Any chance of sharing the rest with us?

And I have a question I’ve had for so long it can already be called an ur-question that I can finally ask, as it ties in with this article:
What exactly is the difference between entscheiden and entschließen (not to mention beschließen, which has a different prefix). I’ve never managed to distinguish them…

Enjoy your beer and bis bald!

Francesca Greenoak
Francesca Greenoak
9 months ago

Decide has to do with cutting, or maybe cutting out. So instead of splitting your head with all kinds of possibilities, you decide, cutting out all the things you don’t want and coming to a decision.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
9 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yeah, I think my basic mental move there has to do with “cutting out the alternatives,” something like that.