German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This question already has an answer here:

I frequently come across words like versprechen, erhalten, beliefern. Because my vocabulary is limited, i can detect that the verbs sprechen, halten and liefern were spoken but i do not know what ver-sprechen, er-halten and be-liefern mean. Is there a definite meaning of prefixes like these?

How should i tackle this topic of prefixes so that when a verb with a prefix is spoken, i can guess/know what it would mean. Thanks

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Eugene Seidel, teylyn, Takkat May 7 '13 at 6:36

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

yes, there is but hardly can it be framed in a catchy manner. You can either accept up to 5 different concepts or you have to settle for a REALLY vague and abstract idea that each prefix kind of sort of represents... they are an integral part of German and you will likely spend some time on them. – Emanuel May 6 '13 at 20:33
Has there been a software update? The suggestions in the "Related" sidebar are getting better. – Eugene Seidel May 7 '13 at 3:05

there is a difference, and you cant say its general this (...) way.

for example sprechen means talking. but versprechen means promise or to misspeak

you have to learn them, there isnt a general rule i guess

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.