I am new to German and have searched for my question but couldn’t find any similar questions that explained why aus would appear at the end of a sentence.

Anyway, I’m learning German on Duolingo and a sentence that I have come across is

Er sieht klein aus.

to mean

He looks small.

and I don’t quite understand why there is a preposition at the end of the sentence. Is the aus necessary? Seems to me like the sentence is saying

He looks good out

which just sounds weird.


In this case, the aus is not a preposition, but a prefix to a trennbares Verb, a dividable/seperable verb.

In your example, the english verb to look translates to aussehen which is the verb sehen with a prefix aus. In present tense, these verbs are conjugated like this

  • ich sehe nett aus

  • du siehst nett aus

  • er/sie/es sieht nett aus

  • wir sehen nett aus

  • ihr seht nett aus

  • sie sehen nett aus

meaning that the prefix slides to the end of the sentence.

Read more here about dividable verbs.

  • 11
    The closest thing to German separable verbs in English are (particle) phrasal verbs like "give up" or "stand out", where the trailing particle fundamentally changes the meaning of the verb. The main difference is that, in English, the particles generally remain separate even in the infinitive, rather than becoming prefixes of the verb root (although they can do so in some derived forms, e.g. "bring up" -> "upbringing"). Apr 12 '16 at 12:51

Yes, it is needed. In effect, the verb "aussehen" is split into "aus" and "sehen", wrapping around the adverb, which is also the reason why you can't simply drop the "aus".

You might also want to note the conjugation of "aussehen":

  • ich sehe aus
  • du siehst aus
  • er/sie/es sieht aus
  • wir sehen aus
  • ihr seht aus
  • sie sehen aus

That might make it clearer and more obvious.



Is the aus necessary?

Yes it is. Simplifying it to

Er sieht klein

wouldn't be a valid german sentence.

I hope someone else can add some more informations into this to fit your needs.

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