Prefix Advent Calendar – 18



Getting Christmas presents for everyone is pricey, no doubt. So take care it doesn’t turn into today’s word :)


(sich) verschulden

Schuld  means guilt as well as debt. Combined with the mix of the change-ver and the for-ver we get a verb that expresses the idea of “to become guilty for something” – so basically to cause, to do with a strong focus on guilt.
When it’s used with a self reference it means “to endebt oneself ”
die Staatsverschuldung – the national debt
das Fremdverschulden – third party negligence (law)
unverschuldet – without bearing part of the 

  • Thomas ist unverschuldet hoch verschuldet.
  • Thomas is deeply indebted of no fault of his own.
  • Wenn man den Unfall verschuldet hat, ist es schwer, Geld von der Versicherung zu bekommen.  
  • If you are responsible for the accident it is hard to get insurance money. 

As always, if you have questions or if you want to try out some examples, just leave me a comment.

for members :)

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Haha – Lustig! Das erinnert mich daran, vor 6 monate bin ich mit meiner Freundin zur eine Party gegangen, dass wir kaum andere Leute dort gekannt haben. Als ich eine scheibe Käse auf einem voll bedeckten Klapptisch geschnitten hatte, hat der blöde Tisch eingestürzt. Alle dass ich sagen könnte, als ich inmitten vermischt Eintopf, Brot, und Nachtisch gestanden wurde, war ‘Es war nicht mein Verschulden!’

Judith Walters
Judith Walters

I’ve been thinking about the word “verlegen” and have come to the conclusion that there are two of them derived from two different verbs, with two different meanings. The one coming from legen, legte, gelegt (English: lay, laid, laid); and the other coming from liegen, lag, gelegen (English: lie, lay, lain). I’ve always have had trouble with lie and lay in English, but here goes:
verlegen ONE: the present infinitive of the transitive verb “verlegen, verlegte, verlegt,” which you explained something like: “Ich habe mich verlegen.” I have mislayed myself (lit.). I have lain the wrong way (and now my neck hurts).
verlegen TWO: the perfect participle (is that the right word?) of a non-existent or no longer existent intransitive verb “ver-liegen” (verliegen, verlag, verlegen) which means “to be lying in a wrong position”; or figuratively “to be in an awkward position”; therefore “to be embarrassed.”
What do you think? Did I make any mistakes? I thank you for your wonderful blog on prefixes. It has opened up a world of words to me.
Judith Walters


Typo – “dept” in the first paragraph :)

Great post as usual!

Peter G
Peter G

Just to be clear… dept should be “debt”


Nice Christmas series of articles over the past couple of weeks!

By the way, a few months ago, during the height of the EU (i.e. Germany) vs. Greece debate on the debt, I read a very interesting article that tried to explain the German position. In it, the author pointed out how “guilt” and “debt” were the same word in German, and how this wasn’t necessarily an accident, but a good way to understand German thinking and position on the debt issue as regards that particular debate. Maybe part of it was “psycho-babble,” but I don’t think so. I thought it explained a lot and made sense!

Happy holidays and keep up the great work. Your blog is always very, very interesting.

Ano Menschkind-Königin
Ano Menschkind-Königin

Neues Schriftart? Is ja schön!

Wirst du auch mal uns Dialekte unterrichten? Wäre voll der Hammer! :)


Danke Emanuel für die Verbesserungen
Alles verstanden außer.. ‘auf der wir kaum’. Warum ‘auf der’ (ich wollte sagen ‘a party, that/where we hardly knew anyone’. Waren wir ‘auf eine Party?’ Hätte ich sagen können ‘worauf wir kaum…?’