German Grammar Explained /

Perfect of inseparable verbs

Many verbs in German have prefixes: anfangen, bekommen, aufhören, ...
Some of them are separable and some are not. Check the explanation below if you want to know why this matters.
You can find out if a verb with a prefix is separable by paying attention to stress.
stress on the prefix
→ SEPARABLE
stress on the second syllable
→ NOT SEPARABLE
anfangen
verpassen
aufhören
bekommen
mitgehen
verlieren
The stress in the prefix helps create a little break, which makes sense because these verbs break! :) Whereas the prefixes that aren't stressed sound more "merged" to the other part of the verb.
Another difference is the way you build the participles.
SEPARABLE → -ge-
anfangen
er hat angefangen
aufhören
sie hat aufgehört
mitgehen
ich bin mitgegangen
NON SEPARABLE → ge
verpassen
er hat verpasst
bekommen
sie hat bekommen
verlieren
ich habe verloren
Separable Verbs Review These verbs can be quite difficult because even if the concept isn't complicated, you will find yourself making the mistake of not separating them when you should. This is normal and it only takes a little practice to automatize this in your German speaking brain. Present tense: Ich fange morgen an. Past tense: Ich habe gestern angefangen.
ZU-constructions: Ich habe keine Zeit, mit einem Hobby anzufangen.