– Hör auf mich zu schlagen
– Er sieht aus wie einer

Is saying

Hör mich zu schlagen auf.
Er sieht wie einer aus.

correct? As far as I know, aren't the separable prefix supposed to go to the very end of the clause?


You ommited a comma therefore you could not see it's actually two clauses:

Hör auf , mich zu schlagen.

The alternative

Hör mich zu schlagen auf.

is gramatically correct but sounds incredibly clumsy. However, zu+Infinitiv is only second choice. German speakers love nouns!

Hör mit dem Schlagen auf.

You had to omit the mich but if this is understandable from context it's not required anyway.

You next sentence seems incomplete. A relative clause has to follow:

Er sieht aus wie einer , der …

Er sieht wie einer aus , der …

These are both common. The first is sort of a fixed phrase, so we condone the lack of proper grammar.

  • In the first sentence it was copied from a book and there was no comma but I saw other sentences with the same structure that had a comma separating the clauses. But the book also said that the new spelling reform doesn't make the comma mandatory (which is bad in my opinion) But in the second sentence. I simply wanted to say "He looks like one" with no following clauses. Isn't "Er sieht aus wie einer" correct? According to google translate (not necessarily the best source of course) it seems to be fine though Sep 26 '17 at 18:58
  • If that "Er sieht aus wie einer" was a complete sentence, are adding "aus" right after the main verb and to the end of the sentence (Er sieht wie einer aus) BOTH correct? Sep 26 '17 at 19:06
  • The comma rules of that spelling reform are pointless and make it actually harder to understand sentence structure. They had been revised again and now you are "encouraged" to use that comma. –A committee decided on these new rules. 'nuff said.– English "He looks like one." should be translated as So sieht er jedenfalls/zumindest aus. It's a fixed phrase, the "at least" should not be ommited in German.
    – Janka
    Sep 26 '17 at 19:07
  • No, not correct. Not having the relative clause shrieks "I'm English! I'm English!"
    – Janka
    Sep 26 '17 at 19:16
  • According to my Sprachgefühl Hör mich zu schlagen auf is ungrammatical. I am not completely sure about the reason, but it seems that the infinitive construction with zu has to be placed outside the sentence bracket.
    – RHa
    Sep 26 '17 at 20:20

Actually, the rule is more like, you should put the preposition at the end of the clause, rather than at the end of the sentence.

The "sentence" "Hör auf mich zu schlagen." actually has two clauses, "Hor auf." an "mich zu schlagen."

You can put the auf at the end of the whole sentence, but that is awkward because it breaks up the train of thought (even though German does that all the time with verbs). It's easier to use auf to complete the first clause, so that "Hor auf" and "mich zu schlagen" are two separate thoughts.

In "Er sieht wie einer aus," that is a whole clause (not two), so you should put the aus at the end. Yes, some native speakers prefer to break up the clause. "Er sieht aus wie einer," by putting "aus" in the middle. as if it were two clauses, but that is not "standard" usage.

  • So is adding the separable-prefix RIGHT after the conjugated verb correct but just uncommon? Sep 27 '17 at 12:32
  • @user268569: It's the other way around. That is, it is quite common, but not always correct. It was done in both instances you cited, but correct in only one out of two.
    – Tom Au
    Sep 27 '17 at 16:45
  • I see, thanks again. are you aware of any instance where any other word can come after the separable prefix and also be correct? Sep 29 '17 at 12:31
  • 1
    @user268569: Not off the top of my head.
    – Tom Au
    Sep 29 '17 at 16:51

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