Prefix Verb Advent Calender – 1

advent-1Hello everyone,

it’s December. Hooray.  Finally, the gray, dreadful November is gone. That’s right November, you suck!!!!!
Okay, okay, I was born in you, I’m sorry … but hey… you are really really gray, man!
Anyway, it’s December now, the awesome/trippy WordPress snow is back in and I though this year we could do an advent calendar.
And what better to hide behind the door than chocolate? Exactly… one million dollars.
Or some German vocab :).
Seriously though… those of you who have been around for a while know that I am working on a book. Yup. Still. I don’t know when it’ll be done, but it’s much “doner” than last year and so I thought it’s time for another peek.
The book will be about prefixes (yeah, sounds boring but it really isn’t) and one part of it will be an Explictionary…. a dictionary with the most common prefix verbs WITH explanations and examples.
And instead of just having it sit on my hard drive we might just as well just have a look at it right now – one prefix verb a day :).
So get ready for today’s word versetzen


Literally, it means “to set/place in a different position”. Not too crazy. The thing is that German also has verstellen, verlegen, umstellen and a few more that have the same literal meaning,  so we’ll need to make a little list about when to use it.
“Versetzen” is not the most common one, and it’s not used too literally either. It’s mostly used for people. 
One important use is moving someone in context of job positions, as in moving him or her to a new department or a new city.
Another common use is the phrasing “jemanden in die Lage versetzen” (lit.: put someone into the situation) which means as much as “to enable”.
Then there is the super important prefix version of the prefix version… yeah, I know… “sich rein/hineinversetzen in” which means “putting yourself in someone’s position (mentally)”.
One niche-meaning is “to not show up for an appointment, to stand someone up”, but I have no idea about the logic behind that. 
Another niche meaning is “to move someone up” in school. Oh and it’s used to move mountains.

The ge-form adjective versetzt is pretty common in sense of an offset between two things.

die Versetzung – the displacement, transfer (for jobs), moving up (school)
der Versatz – the offset

  • Selbstvertrauen kann Berge versetzen.
  • Self confidence can move mountains.
  • Thomas wird nach Berlin versetzt.
  • Thomas is transferred to Berlin. (job-wise)
  • Maria hat mich zweimal versetzt.
  • Maria stood me up twice.
  • Der Workshop soll die Teilnehmer in die Lage versetzen, selbst zu lernen.
  • The workshop aims at enabling the participants to learn by themselves.
  • Versuch bitte mal, dich in mich reinzuversetzen.
  • Please try to see things from my perspective.
  • Bei einem Kanon fangen die Sänger zeitversetzt an zu singen.
  • In a canon  (singing in a round) the singers start singing with an offset.


And that’s it. If you have thoughts or questions about the word or if you have suggestions about the format, just leave me a comment.
Bis morgen  :)