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  :)

for members :)

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There is a cool course I did at the Bildungzentrum on verb prefixes. I am sure you have done HEAPS of research and work. But the lady who ran the course MIGHT be a useful contact if you were interested in a peer review or similar. Your blog actually reminds me a bit of the way she presented her course. NOT the craaaaazy stuff like November you suck balls, but the actual grammar stuff…!


I think that as a teacher/mentor, you should never say something like “Na ja, das ist ein Gefühl und Gefühlen sind nur durch Übungen und Verwendung erworben” (or something grammatically correct to that effect). Even if true, it is depressing. Something along the lines of “The differences are subtle and plenty, and I’ll do my best to give you the main tools to disambiguate the usages” conveys something more positive :-) Nur Übung macht den Meister, sure, but when every rock hides a mountain, it can get quite depressing!



Yes, I do mean Nürnberg. I can’t seem to log in as ‘myself’ any more (my previous self, that is…. I can only comment as Anonymous). Has something changed in the log-in/comment process?


You forgot one versetzen: To take something to a pawn-shop.


Guten Tag! Es freut mich, eine neue Post zu finden!
When you say “Bei einem Kanon” at the last example, how does Kanon translate? Do you mean the musical-composition Canon?

Greg Toledo
Greg Toledo

Hey, I love your blog, it has really helped me in learning the language. Anyway I wanted to ask you if you could explain the proper translation of the English verb “to consider”. I don’t quite understand which word is the best to when I try to translate the word, I always get 10 different words that could work like „betrachten”, „berücksichtigen”, „erwägen”, „überlegen”, „beachten”, etc.

Greg Toledo
Greg Toledo

How about something like “I am considering joining the club.” Or “Considering the circumstances, …”

I assume there are specific contexts which suit some of the words better than others but I cannot quite figure them out.

Marquise von S
Marquise von S

I am returning to studying German after 38 years, and everything in your blog has been helpful. I’ve had to jump in at the level where I left off, so there is a lot of reviewing and learning stuff I never learned in the first place. Ich wünsche nur, dass das Buch schone hier war!

Ano Menschkind-Königin
Ano Menschkind-Königin

Alles Gute zum verspätetem Geburtstag, Emanuel! Ich hoffe, dass zwar er I’m November stand, war es trotzdem wunderschön & dich Spaß bracht! (°u°) *(^^)* :D


Königin der Menschkinder ∆ ^.^∆

(Wenn days geht Mich an, wann genau war er? :)


I am not sure if you get this post, Emanuel. I love the trinkling snow, the promise of chocolate, $1 million dollars, and etcetera. I haven’t got to versatzen (without peeking). I am (really) 52, but I do find your posts funner, than any English grammar books. I will go back and look at the verb of the day. Thanks.


Hey so I’ve often wondered what’s the best way to say like “I moved my car from this parking lot, to that parking lot.” Would versetzen work? What would be the most natural way to say move/change position in this sense?


Danke schön.