Prefix Verbs Explained – “vorschlagen”

Hello everyone, 

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will look at the meaning of:



For those of you who have read the post about vorstellen  from a few weeks ago… well, technically a few years ago, since it’s 2021 now… but few weeks sounds better… so yeah, if you’ve that post and you’re a little traumatized by the double meaning and the grammar – don’t worry. Vorschlagen ain’t that bad. In fact, it has only one meaning and this meaning is … drumroll please…

to suggest

Suggest is one of those thousands of words that English has taken straight from Latin (because English secretly is a Latin #fanboy). And German, too, actually has a version of it: suggerieren. , This is kind of a false friend though, even if some dictionaries do suggest it means to suggest. But what suggerieren really is is a pretty subliminal way of manipulating someone into thinking something. Like… take the pastel colors of low fat products. They “suggest” that the product is healthy because it has “light” colors. But it’s a subconscious type of suggestion. And THAT’S what suggerieren is in German.

For the normal, “open” suggesting, the proper word is vorschlagen and ít kind of fits in well with the stereotype of Germans being rather direct. We slap our suggestions in front of you.
Like… think of Germanic tribal leader negotiating with the Romans over a piece of land. The Romans with their fancy Latin are like
“What do you suggest?”
And the Germanic warrior is like “You want suggestion?!”
and slaps a big fat ax on the table.
Anyway, time for examples…

Of course these examples are incredibly carefully chosen, because we can actually see quite a bit about the grammar of vorschlagen. First of, the usage is pretty much the same as in English. Except that German its epic Dative for the indirect object – the person you’re making a suggestion to.
The first example shows you that schlagen is one of those verbs that have a vowel shift  for du (schlägst) and er/sie/es (schlägt), and the third example shows that vorschlagen usually uses spoken past, takes  haben as a helper and has the ge-form vorgeschlagen.

Pretty impressive, right? YOu thought it’s just examples, but in fact they were carefully crafted conduits for informa…
“Emanuel, can you please please just continue?”
Uh… sure, I’m sorry.
But there actually isn’t much else to say.
The noun for vorschlagen is der Vorschlag, the plural of which is die Vorschläge.

And I guess we should also mention that vorschlagen has a super small side hustle in the world of cooking.
You see, cream is treated pretty badly in English and German speaking kitchens. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because people are angry at it for making them gain weight, and people want to make cream pay for its calories. In English speaking kitchens it gets whipped all the time, and in Germany it gets geschlagen (punched). And imagine if you prepare some whipped cream for a baking session later on… that would then be called… drumroll please… vorschlagen. Pre-whip, if you will.

Congratulations, you just learned one of the most useless meanings of all time. And you know what the funny thing is… there’s a good chance that your brain will remember it forever. You’re like
“Brain, can you please remember what pretty is in German.” and you’re brain’s just like
“Hmm, I don’t think I will.” and remembers vorschlagen instead.
Anyway, that’s it for today, believe or not. Shorted prefix verbs explained episode ever.
As always, if you have questions or suggestions, just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

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