Trennbare Verben und Gegenteile

Published in December 2022 by Roslyn Green

Learning Separable Verbs as Opposites

Many of the verbs below have multiple meanings. The examples focus only on the meaning that represents a precise opposite of the other verb. This list includes some commonly used and practical choices, but it is far from comprehensive.

Bildlexikon und Beispiele | Picture Dictionary and Examples

aufwachen → to wake up

Am Wochenende wache ich früh auf, obwohl ich gern länger schlafen würde. – I wake up early at the weekend, although I’d like to sleep longer.

einschlafen → to fall asleep

Mein Mann schläft sehr schnell ein, während ich wach bleibe und über alles nachdenke. – My husband falls asleep very quickly while I stay awake thinking about everything.

sich anziehen → to get dressed

Sie zieht sich immer elegant an. – She always dresses elegantly.

(sich) ausziehen → to get undressed

Zieh dir die Stiefel aus, die sind voller Schlamm. – Take off your boots, they’re covered with mud.

anmachen → to turn on

Kannst du die Lampe💡 anmachen? Ich brauche mehr Licht zum Lesen. – Can you turn on the lamp? I need more light to read.

anschalten → to switch on

ausmachen → to turn off

Sie machte den Fernseher 📺 aus, weil sie die Reality-Show langweilig fand. – She turned off the TV because she found the reality show dull.

ausschalten → to switch off

Image by RD Law from Pixabay

aufmachen → to open

Ich habe das Fenster aufgemacht, denn wir brauchen frische Luft in diesem muffigen Raum. – I’ve opened the window because we need fresh air in this musty room.

zumachen → to close

Mach bitte die Tür 🚪 zu, mir ist kalt. – Please close the door, I feel cold.

Image by Kristijan Puljek from Pixabay

anfangen → to begin

Vor zehn Jahren habe ich angefangen, Deutsch zu lernen. – Ten years ago, I began to learn German.

aufhören → to stop

Ein Freund von mir versucht, mit dem Rauchen aufzuhören. – A friend of mine is trying to stop smoking.

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

einziehen → to move in

Unsere Tochter möchte bei ihren Freundinnen einziehen. – Our daughter would like to move in with her girlfriends.

ausziehen → to move out

Er will aus diesem Haus ausziehen. He wants to move out of this house.

Image by Chu Viết Đôn from Pixabay

aufsteigen → to mount, get on

Die Frauen werden bald auf ihre Fahrräder aufsteigen und nach Hause fahren. – The women will soon get on their bikes and ride home.

absteigen → to dismount, get off

Steig von deinem Fahrrad ab. Auf dieser Brücke darfst du nicht fahren. Get off your bike. You’re not allowed to ride on this bridge.

herkommen → to come (towards the speaker)

Komm mal her zu mir! – Come here!

Also used to ask about origins: Wo kommst du her? – Where do you come from?

weggehen → to go away (from the speaker)

Geh weg, lass mich in Ruhe! – Go away, leave me alone / in peace.

zunehmen to put on weight

Während des Lockdowns habe ich drei Kilogramm zugenommen. – During the lockdown I gained three kilograms.

abnehmen → to lose weight

Jetzt möchte ich ein paar Kilo abnehmen und fit werden. – Now I’d like to lose a few kilos and get fit.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

glattgehen → to go smoothly

Die ganze Reise ist glattgegangen. Der Reiseführer war einfach genial. – The whole trip went smoothly. The guide was simply brilliant.

schiefgehen → to go wrong

Bei uns ist alles schiefgegangen. Nichts ist ausgegangen, wie wir es geplant hatten. – Everything went wrong for us. Nothing turned out as we had planned.

Image by AC works Co., Ltd. from Pixabay

absagen → to cancel, call off or turn down

Zuerst wollte sie auf die Feier kommen, aber dann hat sie abgesagt. – At first she wanted to come to the party, but then she cancelled.

zusagen → to accept an invitation or offer

Ich habe fünf Freunde eingeladen und vier haben schon zugesagt. – I have invited five friends and four have already accepted.

Image by victoraf from Pixabay

einsteigen to board, get on

Es war schwierig, mit so viel Gepäck einzusteigen. – It was difficult to board with so much luggage.

aussteigen → to get out or off, disembark

Das ist die Haltestelle, wo ich aussteige. – This is the stop where I get off.

Note: The verb aussteigen can also mean “to opt out” of something or to reject mainstream society and try something new.

Image by bhossfeld from Pixabay

aufbauen → to set up, build or assemble

Die Teenager können das Zelt in zwölf Minuten aufbauen.

abbauen → to dismantle, take down

Früh am Morgen haben sie das Zelt abgebaut. – Early in the morning, they dismantled the tent.

Note: This verb also has important figurative meanings: Stress abbauen – to relieve stress; Vorurteile abbauen – to break down prejudices, etc.

aufsetzen → to put on (a hat, glasses, etc.)

Die junge Frau setzt immer einen Strohhut und eine Sonnenbrille auf, bevor sie am Strand spazieren geht. – The young woman always puts on a straw hat and sunglasses before going for a walk at the beach.

absetzen → to take off (a hat, glasses, etc.)

Der alte Mann vergaß vor dem Einschlafen, seine Brille abzusetzen*. – The old man forgot to take off his glasses before falling asleep.

*The verb abnehmen is also possible in this context.

Image by n-kukova from Pixabay

sich einmischen → to interfere, to meddle, butt in

Mein Stiefvater hat sich in unseren Streit eingemischt, was mich genervt hat. – My stepfather got involved in our argument, which annoyed me.

sich raushalten → to stay out of something, avoid interfering

Ich wollte ihm sagen: „Es geht dich nicht an, halt dich da raus!” – I wanted to say to him, “It’s none of your business, stay out of it!”

Image by n-kukova from Pixabay

losfahren → to drive off, away

Meine Schwester ist gerade losgefahren. – My sister has just driven off / left.

anhalten → to pull up (in a car), stop

Der Autofahrer musste an der Ampel anhalten. – The driver had to stop at the light.


Quiz: Separable Verbs as Opposites

Choose the correct verb or prefix in a range of sentences based on the examples above. Fix these pesky separable verbs in your memory for ever.

Quiz: Trennbare Verben und Gegenteile

Type the missing words in sentences that include 8 pairs of the verbs above. Click on the help lightbulb to read the vocabulary list.

German Online A-Z 🌐

Published by Roslyn Green in November 2022

Highly Recommended Websites, Podcasts and YouTube Channels

A Annik Rubens and the Slow German Podcast

It is a sheer pleasure to listen to the voice of Annik Rubens. She speaks clearly and slowly, so that you can distinguish every word. What’s more, you can download the PDFs of her podcasts and look up all the words you don’t already know. In the last few years, she has introduced a full-speed version as well as a subscription for seriously dedicated learners.  

A ARD Mediathek

Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

A free repository of documentaries, television series, the Tagesschau news broadcast and, above all, Tatort! (discovered through the kind suggestion of Andrea Reichert). Subtitles are provided.

What a beautiful sentence that is for learners to read.

B Blinde Kuh

A search machine for children that includes interactive forums, links to a wide range of topics, videos, learning modules and more.

C Coffee Break German

A gentle introduction to German with a winning format: a teacher and a learner speak together and gradually build your knowledge of vocabulary and your confidence with pronunciation.

D Die Sendung mit der Maus

An Example: Was sich neckt, das liebt sich | Those who tease each other love each other

This is a charming classic of German children’s television. You can download the video podcasts via your podcast app on your smartphone and there’s even a dedicated Die Maus app. The “Sachgeschichten” are funny, quirky short videos that explain the things we’ve always wanted to know in simple, clever ways, with many visual cues.

D DeepL

This is the best translator in the world: intuitive, precise and accurate. It’s like having a German-speaking robot in your corner. The best way to use it is to type a text in German, observe how DeepL translates it into English and make any necessary adjustments, then watch how it translates your adjusted text back into German. Sometimes DeepL suggests alternative phrasing or a more precise verb. It is a tireless, all-knowing, uncritical teacher. You do have to be careful sometimes with colloquial expressions. After all, it’s not a human being.

D DerDieDas-App

This app trains you to remember the gender of German nouns and it is a surprisingly addictive sport. As you work through each thematic category, the app counts how many you get right in a row and keeps a tally of your progress in graph form. In addition to the app itself, the makers provide an online list of rules that will help you to predict gender and identify the patterns of German nouns.

D Deutsch mit Inap

An Example: Was isst du zu Mittag / zu Abend?

Inap is from Nepal and he teaches German as a foreign language. His course is particularly helpful for beginners because he explains everything in both German and English, with the written as well as the spoken word. I like especially how Inap ties in relatable personal information; in the video above, for instance, he shows what he is cooking for lunch while delivering his lesson on lunch and dinner in German.

D Deutsch mit Rieke

An Example: Auf der Arbeit, bei der Arbeit, in der Arbeit oder an die Arbeit?

Rieke provides precise explanations of difficult vocabulary with examples based on life experiences or quality German texts. Highly recommended for advanced learners. Rieke offers a quiz based on each video as well. Her website is here.

D Deutsch plus

An Example: Bitte nicht verwechseln!

On her YouTube Channel for advanced learners (B2, C1 and C2), Susanne explains fine distinctions between similar words, tricky grammatical rules, essential nouns that advanced learners really ought to know, and many idiomatic aspects of the German language.


This site provides hundreds of short audio and reading texts, along with questions and activities to check and improve comprehension. I find it particularly helpful that the questions focus not just on understanding but also on those tricky verb and preposition choices that can confuse even the most dedicated learner. Each video or audio comes with a full PDF text.

Kindly recommended by Andrea Reichert.

D Die großen Fragen in 10 Minuten

Karsten Möbius of MDR Wissen tackles delightfully tricky and intriguing questions, all in the space of 10 minutes. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts as well as through MDR Wissen.

F Forvo

Forvo is a pronunciation dictionary. Once you have signed up to this free service, you can request pronunciations of tricky words and download the mp3 files generated by native speakers. For example, here is möchten, a perennially tricky word for learners.

Forvo: möchten

G Grenzenlos Deutsch

This site provides an open-access online textbook for beginners. There are quizzes, videos, pictures to click on and various other interactive resources. All education should be as accessible as this. This site was kindly recommended to me by Andrea Reichert.

G German Grammar Pod

Laura, the author of this podcast, is a brilliant person who loves and understands German grammar and explains it with precision and flair. She speaks in English but provides many examples in German.

G Grüße aus Deutschland – Podcast

This was my favourite podcast in my first few years of German. The topics are light-hearted and rich in vocabulary, while the presenters speak clearly and with humour and wit. At this link, you can find both the audio and the texts.

H Helles Köpfchen

This is a search machine for children and young people in Germany. There are many fascinating articles on this site as well as quizzes.

H Hörbücher at

I wish Audible weren’t owned by Amazon, but this is still a treasury of listening material and the readers are a pure delight. Here are forty of my favourite audiobooks.

K Kindernetz (SWR)

The materials provided for German-speaking children on the internet are impressive and diverse. This site provides stories, videos, news commentary specifically for children, podcasts and documentaries.

K Kurz gesagt

An Example: Die Vergangenheit und Zukunft von allem

The creators of this YouTube channel usually publish scientifically fascinating, visionary and original videos in English, but they also offer some of their best titles in German. Here are just a few: Warum du nicht genug Freunde hast | Der letzte Mensch | Einsamkeit

L Lesch & Co

An Example: Klimakrise – Zeit zu kapitulieren?

A passionate scientist and physicist, Harald Lesch talks about our world and our future and he doesn’t pull any punches. He and his team provide subtitles, which is just as well, because he tackles complicated subjects.

L  Linguee Dictionary

This site is possibly more useful for intermediate and advanced learners. It provides hundreds of online examples of how an idea has been expressed in English and German. It’s especially useful for modern wording and phrasing that might not have reached the dictionaries. Dictionaries are based on searching for words (and hoping to find phrases); with the Linguee Dictionary, you can search directly for the phrases.

M Mr Wissen2Go

An Example: Die Wahrheit über Volkswagen

Mirko Drotschmann is the creator of this YouTube channel; he is knowledgeable, engaging and current. When there is a new development anywhere in the world, he publishes a new video within hours. His pronunciation is very clear and he speaks in a considered and impartial way. He also provides subtitles in German.

N neuneinhalb

An Example: Klimagerechtigkeit – Was ist das eigentlich?

The website and the films, which can be watched online or downloaded via and YouTube (or your chosen provider), are lively and engaging, featuring clever editing and including conversations with young speakers, often teenagers. The themes are current and the graphics eye-catching. Click on UT to read the subtitles as you watch.

P Planet-Schule

An Example: Wie viel Hitze verträgt die Erde?

Planet-Schule is a multimedia website offering materials and films relating to every conceivable school subject, with additional resources such as worksheets, audio and other materials. A number of broadcasting corporations in German contribute materials to this website, including WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) and SWR (Südwestrundfunk).

P Planet-Wissen

An Example: Wie holen wir das C02 wieder aus der Lufe?

Planet-Wissen provides a wealth of educational materials, including videos and articles presented according to school subjects and covering a vast range of themes. This is a joint project from SWR (Südwestrundfunk), WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), ARD alpha and Bayerischer Rundfunk.

R Rakuten Kobo

Once you have created an account with Kobo, you can change the site language from English to German and start searching for German books. Kobo also has an app for smartphones and laptops.

I have tried other German book suppliers over the years, such as Weltbild and Thalia, but Kobo seems to me to be the most reliable.

S Schubert Publishing

These online exercises are graduated from easy (A1) to strenuous (C2). The whole site is in German and the presentation is very old-fashioned, but the A1 and A2 exercises are ideal for beginners – and you get a % mark straightaway. 

S SWR Wissen Podcast

An Example with Transcription Provided: Magersucht – Therapien gegen die Essstörungen | Anorexia Nervosa – Therapies for Eating Disorders

This podcast offers fascinating sociological and scientific topics with manuscripts available to read along. It can be downloaded through your smartphone’s podcast app as well as through the website.

Z ZDF heute-show

YouTube channel | An Example: Midterms: Was wird jetzt aus Donald Trump?

The presenter, Oliver Welke, summarises the news with biting humour. This program is ideal for advanced learners who prefer a satirical approach to the news of the week.

Z Zeit Online

There are several free podcasts from this journal, including OK, America? and Was jetzt?, my favourite news podcast in German.

A Few More Links:

Deutschlernerblog: This is an extremely helpful site with many useful examples of wording and sentences, as well as tests, practice with hearing comprehension and much more. There are unfortunately quite a lot of advertisements.

ARD: Frag mich – Die Nachrichten und ich: A podcast for children with current themes, friendly presenters and interviews with children An amusing and expressive set of pictures to represent some of the most ingenious words in the German language.

Umweltschutz: Verben A-Z 🌳

Verbs for Discussing Environmental Issues

This post was published by Roslyn Green in October 2022.

The Conjugated Verb as Sentence Anchor

German word order is delightfully fluid. The only immovable part is the conjugated verb, which is reassuringly anchored in the second position. In the examples below, the conjugated verb is a modal verb. Other elements can move around, as illustrated by the floating subject, which is usually placed first or third. In sentences with modal verbs, the other verb in the infinitive form generally goes to the end.

Sentence Patterns

Key: subjectmodal verbinfinitive verb

  • Wir müssen sofort handeln. [act, take action]
  • Im Haushalt kann man den Müll leicht trennen. [separate, sort]
  • Im Supermarkt können wir immer Stofftüten benutzen. [use]
  • Bei uns zu Hause könnten wir sicher weniger heizen. [heat]
  • Morgen musst du deine alten Kleider aussortieren. [sort out]
  • Dann können wir sie zum Secondhandladen bringen. [take]
  • Die Regierung sollte bedrohte Tierarten schützen. [protect]
  • Wir müssen die Vielfalt der Natur für kommende Generationen bewahren. [preserve]
  • Die Politiker sollten erneuerbare Energien fördern. [promote]

Bildlexikon: Verben A-Z

It’s useful to focus on the verbs required to give advice and make suggestions about protecting the environment. Here’s a handy list.

das Licht ausmachen oder ausschalten – to turn out the light

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Stoff- oder Jutetaschen benutzen – to use cloth or jute bags

Image by Artur Konik from Pixabay

erneuerbare Energien erzeugen – to generate renewable energies

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

das Umweltbewusstsein fördern – to promote environmental awareness

Image by Dorothe from Pixabay

zu Fuß gehen statt mit dem Auto fahren – to walk instead of drive

Image by Lorraine Cormier from Pixabay

andere Menschen inspirieren – to inspire other people

David Attenborough from John CairnsCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

gegen die Klimakrise kämpfen – to fight against the climate crisis

Image by cubicroot from Pixabay

umweltfreundliche Produkte kaufen – to buy environmentally friendly products

Image by rodgersm222 from Pixabay

nachhaltiger leben – to live more sustainably

Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

einen Becher oder eine Trinkflasche mitbringen – to take a cup or water bottle with you

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Bäume pflanzen – to plant trees

Image by Nico Wall from Pixabay

Papier und Karton recyceln – to recycle paper and cardboard

Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

den CO2-Fußabdruck reduzieren – to reduce your carbon footprint

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

die Natur und die Umwelt respektieren – to respect nature and the environment

Image by homecare119 from Pixabay

Energie / Strom sparen – to save energy / electricity

Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

Plastik vermeiden – to avoid plastic

Image by G J Whitby from Pixabay

Haushaltssachen wiederverwenden – to reuse household items

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

Fenster und Türen zumachen – to close windows and doors

Image by yeshimss from Pixabay

Quizzes and Activities

Quiz: Verbs for Discussing Environmental Issues

Practise using the verbs listed above, including in sentences with modal verbs.

Become more and more familiar with the pattern shown on the left.

Match Pins and Labels: Umweltschutz: Haushalt, Stadt, Welt | Protecting the Environment: Household, City, World

This quiz is quite difficult even though it is full of pictures. Click on the for translations of all the phrasing. Each picture must be matched with a phrase about taking environmentally friendly action.

Kahoot: Die Umwelt

Players are asked to choose between options that are friendly to the environment and actions that might lead to harm. The vocabulary includes the wording summarised on this page, some modal verbs, and the use of denn to give explanations.

Umwelt A-Z ♻️

Umweltprobleme und Umweltschutz A-Z

Posted by Roslyn Green in October 2022

Bildlexikon | Picture Dictionary

Colour Coding of Nouns: Masculine | Feminine | Neuter | Plural

  • die Abholzung – deforestation
  • Bäume abholzen – cut down or clear trees

Image by Picography from Pixabay

  • Bäume pflanzen und schützen – plant and protect trees
  • Bodenerosion verursachen / vermeiden – cause / avoid soil erosion

Image by Nicole from Pixabay

  • die CO2-Konzentration in der Atmosphäre reduzieren – reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere

Image by Pixource from Pixabay

  • die Dürre
  • Dürren nehmen zu – droughts become worse or occur more often

Image by Luis Iranzo Navarro-Olivares from Pixabay

  • Energie sparen – save energy
  • den Energieverbrauch reduzieren
  • erneuerbare Energien fördern – foster / promote renewable energies
  • die globale Erwärmung – global warming

Image by PIRO from Pixabay

  • das Fleisch
  • kein / weniger Fleisch essen – eat no meat / less meat

Image by Uwe Ruhrmann from Pixabay

  • die Gefahr
  • Der Klimawandel ist eine Gefahr für die Menschheit. – Climate change is a danger for humanity.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

  • die Heizung
  • das Haus so effizient wie möglich heizen – heat the house as efficiently as possible

Image by Etadly from Pixabay

  • der Jutebeutel – jute bag (the picture above shows a 40-year-old slogan to reduce plastic use)
  • die Jutetasche, Stofftasche – jute or cloth bag

Adrian MichaelCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • der Klimawandel oder die Klimaveränderung – climate change
  • gegen den Klimawandel kämpfen – fight against climate change

Image by Patou Ricard from Pixabay

  • die Luftverschmutzung air pollution
  • die Luft mit Abgasen verschmutzen – pollute the air with waste or exhaust gases

Image by alvpics from Pixabay

  • die Mülltrennung – waste separation / sorting
  • den Müll trennen – separate or sort waste
  • mehr / weniger Müll produzieren – produce more / less rubbish

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

  • Naturkatastrophen vorbeugen – prevent or take precautions against natural catastrophes
  • die Nachhaltigkeit – sustainability

Image by Hans from Pixabay

  • das Ozonloch – hole in the ozone layer
  • Ökosysteme schützen/zerstören – protect/destroy ecosystems

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

  • die Plastikflasche – plastic bottle
  • die Plastiktüteplastic bag
  • Plastik vermeiden – avoid plastic

Image by 💙♡🌼♡💙 Julita 💙♡🌼♡💙 from Pixabay

  • die Regenwälder schützen – protect the rainforests
  • Die Regenwälder produzieren eine Menge Sauerstoff. – The rainforests produce a great deal of oxygen.

Image by stokpic from Pixabay

  • Strom sparen – save electricity
  • der Sauerstoff
  • Sauerstoff ist lebensnotwendig. – Oxygen is essential to life.

Image by PIRO from Pixabay

  • bedrohte Tierarten schützen – protect endangered species
  • Treibhausgase emittieren / reduzieren – emit / reduce greenhouse gases

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

  • die Überschwemmung – flood
  • die Überbevölkerung – over-population

Image by sweetreilly0 from Pixabay

  • die Vielfalt der Natur für kommende Generationen bewahren – preserve the diversity of nature for future generations
  • die Verpackung – packaging

Image by Myléne from Pixabay

  • die Wiederverwendung, die Wiederverwertung – reusing and recycling
  • der Welthunger – world hunger
  • die Wüstenbildung – desertification

Image by Wälz from Pixabay

  • Die Zeit ist knapp. Wir müssen handeln. – The time is short. We must act.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Quizzes and Activities

Puzzle: Umweltfreundlich oder umweltfeindlich? | Protective or harmful to the environment?

Classify each action according to its likely impact on the environment. Reveal the picture under the puzzle.

Quiz: Umweltfreundlich oder nicht? | Environmentally friendly or not?

Learn important verbs for talking about the environment and determine which actions are environmentally friendly and which might lead to negative impacts in the long term.

Match Pins and Labels: Umweltschutz: Haushalt, Stadt, Welt | Protecting the Environment: Household, City, World

This quiz is quite difficult even though it is full of pictures. Click on the for translations of all the phrasing. Each picture must be matched with a phrase about taking environmentally friendly action.

Verb Quizzes 📖

Essential Verb Practice

Posted by Roslyn Green in September 2022

The quizzes below provide practice with conjugating essential verbs, mastering regular conjugation, tackling the vowel-changing verbs, using the modal verbs, and finally, constructing four types of sentences.

Quiz: Conjugating and using sein – the verb to be

Learn the conjugation of this crucial verb and practise using it correctly in sentences.

Quiz: Conjugating and using haben – the verb to have

Learn the conjugation of this crucial verb and practise using it correctly in sentences.

Quiz: Two Important Verbs: haben (to have) and sein (to be)

Revisit the conjugation of both haben and sein and use the verbs in sentences.

Quiz: Using Three Verbs – kommen, wohnen and sprechen

Revise your knowledge of these three important verbs.

Quiz: Regular Verbs and Their Endings

Master the regular endings so that you can use thousands of verbs and nail every one.

Explanation: Regular Verb Conjugation

Crossword: Regular Verbs in German

Practise the regular endings of wohnen, kommen, machen, spielen and finden.

Explanation: Regular Verb Conjugation

Quiz: A Predictable Pattern: The Vowel-Changing Verbs

Practise using verbs like fahren, schlafen and lesen, which have a sneaky little mutated vowel in their stem.

Explanation: Vowel-Changing Verbs

Quiz: Conjugating werden and using it as a stand-alone verb

This quiz will allow to practise the conjugation of werden in both a conjugation table and in example sentences.

Explanation: werden

Quiz: Using Two Key Modal Verbs

Conjugate können and müssen and use them in sentences.

Explanation: Modal Verbs