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I have a hard time with trennbare verbs, I always try to put one part to the end of the sentence. But it seems like there are exceptions:

  1. Du siehst heute aus wie ein Mädchen.
  2. Er füllt das Formular schneller aus als ich.
  3. Er füllt das Formular schneller als ich aus.

Which one is correct? What is the general rule here?

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3. version for emphasis of als ich. The intonation must shift from schneller to als ich in that case. – user5513 Mar 1 '14 at 19:01
up vote 7 down vote accepted

All three examples sound correct to me. You could even say

Du siehst heute wie ein Mädchen aus.

However you would usually try to keep the connection as close as possible. So the first and second example are "better" than the third or mine above.

It might get hard to get the context if the sentence gets longer. For example:

Ich füllte das Formular schneller als mein Mitschüler, dessen Stift leider nicht funktionierte, weil er vergessen hatte, eine Ersatztintenpatrone einzupacken, aus.
(I filled in the form faster as my class mate, who's pen didn't work as he had forgotten to bring replacement ink)

While correct, this would give the reader - even a German - a hard time :-)

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Dazu das Zitat: "Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth." – Em1 Jan 15 '14 at 20:19
My mother once heard an English translater on a TV show, who was to translate from German to English, mutter: "Come to the verb!". – Thorsten Dittmar Jan 16 '14 at 5:45

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