Tag Archives: non-separable prefixes

Thinking about Non-Separable Prefixes

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the third and final part of our general look at prefix verbs.
In part one (which you can find here) we found out that the concept of adding a syllable to the beginning of a verb goes all the way back to Indo-European and we’ve learned that the grand theme of prefixes across most European languages is adding a sense of goal or destination.
In the second part (which you can find here), we then talked about the infamous German separable prefix verbs and learned about their close relations to English phrasal verbs.
And today, we’ll focus on

Non-Separable Prefixes

In part two, we actually already mentioned a few non-separable prefix verbs like understand, overcome or bypass, where the prefix is basically a preopistion that got stuck to the verb.
But unless you’re a complete beginner in German, you’ll know that there’s another kind of prefixes, which we could call pure prefixes. I’m talking of course about ver- and be- and the like; the ones that are not a word on their own.
That’s where we’ll start our journey today.
And just to make sure… it’s really a journey. Because as usual in this series, it’s meant as a nice little stroll through the fascinating world of language in general. We’ll get off the path here and there and enjoy the (in)sights.
It’s not a straight to the point practical prefix survival guide. Just felt like mentioning that so you don’t have wrong expectations :).
Anway, so let’s start our journey with the German “pure prefixes” and their big secret, which is…