Dictionary conjunction *apo- aber



(For "but ... instead", the proper word is "sondern". "aber" can stand at different positions in the sentence, so it doesn't have to come first.)


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The meaning of "sondern"

"sondern" and "aber" are both translations for "but". Today, we'll learn, what idea "sondern" expresses and what the difference is to "aber".

Word Family

Root: *apo-

The core idea of this root was:

off, away

It’s still well preserved in the German word ab.
English offspring are of, off and after, as well ebb (the water is “away”).
And it’s also the origin of the words with the Latin prefix ab- and the branch around the Greek apo-.
Here’s a little (incomplete) overview:

  • abnormal (away from normal)
  • abdicate (“say away”)
  • apology (“the speech that removes”)
  • apocalypse (Originally: “taking the lid away” – it used to be about insights, not doom)
  • aperitif (removing the cover, starting)
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