A discussion with Wrzlprmft here, referred me to the question “Gedownloadet” oder “downgeloadet”. It asked whether the perfect tense of the loanword downloaden is downgeloadet or gedownloadet.

As I said in my comment to the original question,

I decide first if the verb is separable. Try the imperative, "Hey, Du, date das up" - doesn't work, so it must be "hey, Du, update das", which makes the part tense also inseparable – geupdatet

My question, in several parts, is:

  • Is there a German grammar rule, with respect to the perfect tense of inseparable verbs? If so, what is it?
  • Does it apply to loan words?
  • Can I determine a separable verb the way I did above, by looking at the imperative? Or is there a better way/rule? If so, what is it?

Wether a verb is seperable or not is only relevant for verbs with prefixes. Sagen: durch-sagen, an-sagen, ver-sagen, zu-sagen, unter-sagen, ent-sagen etc. Unseparable verbs (f.e. entsagen) don't have "ge" anywhere in the past pariciple (ich habe dem Alkohol entsagt).

There are no rules for loan words. "to upload" feels very separable, because of the quite literal meaning of "up" as prefix. That's why a German would rather use the past participle "upgeloadet". But this 'feeling' has impact only on the past participle. loan words generally aren't seperated. The imperative would be: "uploade/update das bitte!" But far more common is the use of the noun: "Mach bitte ein Update!"

There are German verbs for upload/download: hochladen and (he)runterladen, both separable. Just use them ;)

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