Today we will talk about Luxembourgish separable verbs in the present tense. Luxembourgish uses separable prefixes – there are many different prefixes – to change the meaning of the main verb:
The verb fueren means alone to drive but if we add the prefix fort to it, we have the verb fortfueren which means to depart, to leave (by car, by train).
Ech fueren um 8 moies fort. I leave (by car / by train / by bus) at 8am.
Structure of a sentence with a separable verb
For these verbs, the prefix is separated from the stem and placed at the end of the sentence in the present tense (as long as the clause is not subordinate or relative).
Let´s look at the separable verb ofsoen which means to cancel as an example.
The stem is the verb soen and alone it means to say. And the prefix is of. When you make a sentence, you have to conjugate the verb and to put the prefix of at the end of the sentence.
Ech soen de Rendez-Vous beim Coiffer of. I am cancelling the appointment at the hairdresser.
If the sentence has 2 verbs, which places the separable verb at the end of the sentence, the separable verb stays in one piece:
Ech muss de Rendez-Vous ofsoen. I must cancel the appointment.
Examples of Separable Verbs
1 with the verb huelen to take
ofhuelen can either mean to pick up something or someone or to lose weight. The prefix is of.
- Ech huelen d’Kanner all Dag an der Schoul of. I pick up the children at school every day.
Ech wëll ofhuelen. I want to lose weight. (Here ofhuelen is not separated as there are 2 verbs)
bäihuelen means to gain weight. The prefix is bäi.
- Am Wanter huelen ech oft bäi. I often gain weight in winter.
mathuelen can either mean to give a lift (in a car) or to take / carry with one
- Hëls du mech den Owend mat? Will you give me a lift this evening?
2 with the verb maachen to make / to do
ausmaachen means to switch/turn off. The prefix is aus.
- Ech maache mäin Handy am Kino aus. I switch off my mobile phone at the movies.
umaachen means to switch/turn on. The prefix is u(n)*.
- Maach d’Kaffismaschinn w.e.g. un! Do switch on the coffee machine, please.
opmaachen means to open. The prefix is op.
- Moies maachen ech d’Fënsteren op. I open the windows in the mornings.
zoumaachen means to close. The prefix is zou.
- D’Apdikt mécht owes um 7 Auer zou. The pharmacy closes at 7pm.
matmaachen means to participate / take part in. The prefix is mat.
Méchs du d’Formatioun mat? Do you take part in the training?
3 with the verb kommen to come / to arrive
matkommen means to come along. The prefix is mat.
- Kënns du den Owend mat? Do you come along this evening ?
ukommen means to arrive at destination. The prefix is u(n)*.
- Um wéi vill kënnt däi Fliger muer un? At what time does your plane arrive tomorrow?
zeréckkommen means to come back. The prefix is zeréck.
- Wéini kommt dir zeréck? When do you come back?
The most common separable prefixes
Common separable prefixes. Remember that this list is only a rough guide to the meanings of prefixes, since their use is highly idiomatic.
*The prefixes ending with “n” are subject to the N-Rule.
What is the prefix?
1 D’Bäckerei mécht haut schonn um 17h00 _____ .
2 Huel haut de Prabbeli _____ . Et gëtt Reen.
3 Ech maache beim Marathon am Mee _____ .
4 Um wéi vill Auer fänkt de Cours ________ ?
5 Ech muss meng Elteren um 15h00 Auer um Findel ___huelen.
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