When did Dutch and Afrikaans split up?

We deal with separable and inseparable verbs at this point, as you will get to know the perfect in the following chapter and the perfect formation in (ins) separable verbs is a specialty.
If you prefer to continue straight away with the perfect tense, you can skip this chapter and come back here later.

Just like in German, there are also verbs in Dutch that have a prefix. With some of these verbs a separation of the prefix and the verb is possible, with other verbs the prefix can never be split off. There are also some verbs that - depending on their separability - have two different meanings.
Caution is also advised with verbs that are separable in German, but not in Dutch - and vice versa.

A very important point with (in) separable verbs is the emphasis on the prefix. Whether a verb is separable or not depends mainly on whether the prefix is ​​pronounced or unstressed.

Most separable verbs have a stressed prefix (in the following example verbs, we have marked the stress with an apostrophe in front of the stressed syllable; the prefix is ​​marked in bold):

Separable verbs with a stressed prefix
'opgevengive up
Geef het op!Give it up!
Neem mij mee!Take me with you
'ingaango inside
Waarom gaat u niet in?Why don't you go in?
Nodig jij me uit voor jouw feestje?Are you inviting me to your party?

As you may have already noticed, the prefix of separable verbs is often a preposition or an adverb and thus often has its own meaning.
This is the same in German. A good example is the prefix "weg-", which occurs in this form in both German and Dutch and has the same meaning in both languages, such as "wegbrengen" (German: "pathbring ") or"pathgeven "(German:" give away ").

But the meaning in Dutch is not always the same as in German: The prefix “uit” of the verb “uitnodigen” (see table) translates directly into German as “aus”, but in the case of this verb the meaning is exactly the opposite, there yes “uitnodigen” means “to invite” in German.
But if you keep this in mind, you will certainly learn the meaning of prefixed verbs pretty quickly!

Prefixes that are always separated from the verb

Some Dutch verbs are always split in a sentence if they are not in the infinitive.
The following table shows the prefixes that are always separated from the rest of the verb.

Prefixes that are always split off

The order of the prefix and the verb is the same as in German:
The prefix is ​​at the end of the sentence. However, if the sentence contains a modal verb (can, want, etc.), the verb is not separated.

Geef jij me gebak mee?Will you give me cake?
Ik wil je graag gebak meegeven.I want to give you cake.
Dat stelt me ​​teleur.That disappoints me.
Ik wil je niet teleurstellen.I do not want to disappoint you.

Verbs that are only separated in certain cases

Some verbs can appear in both separable and inseparable forms.
Depending on their separability, these verbs often have two completely different meanings.

Whether a verb is separable depends on whether the prefix is ​​stressed or unstressed.
Here, too, verbs with a stressed prefix are separated, and verbs with an unstressed prefix stay together.

It is best to remember the pronunciation of such verbs with the corresponding meaning, then you will also immediately know whether the respective verb has to be separated or not. The following table gives you an overview of the most important of these verbs (the stressed syllables are preceded by an apostrophe).

Verbs that are (not) separated depending on the accent
Loop gewoon onopvallend door. Men doorloopt schillende toelatingstesten voordat men de baan krijgt.
De bergwacht geeft niet op. Ze zoeken door naar de vermisten. De politie doorzoekt de woning van de suspected.
Wanneer gaat de wereld onder? Ik moet een compliceerde hard operation ondergaan.
This comes in the best families for everyone. Ik wil met vitamins pills een Verkoudheid voorkomen.

You have already learned about the prefixes that are always separated from the verb. Other prefixes need to be separated from some verbs, but not from others.

A separation is only made if the prefix is ​​stressed. In the following table you will find examples of verbs that each have the same prefix, but are separable or inseparable depending on the accentuation of the prefix (we have omitted examples for the prefixes “door-”, “onder-” and “voor-” as you already got to know them in the previous table).

Prefixes that are separated from some verbs


The misrekent, the door-opening.


Sofie zie je gemakkelijk over het hoofd, omdat ze zo klein en stil is.
Maarten regularly overworks the sport.

Ik weerleg jouw arguments.

The past tense in separable verbs

The past tense of separable verbs is formed exactly as you have already learned it.
Only the prefix is ​​separated from the rest of the verb and moves to the end of the sentence.

Tijdens mijn studententijd went ik veel uit.I went out a lot when I was a student.
In hair tijd as a model a lot of Eva veel af.In her time as a model, Eva lost a lot of weight.

In the following chapter we will introduce you to the inseparable verbs.