4

I'm using a language app to learn German, and I came across the following sentences which I found to be a bit confusing.

Der Junge und das Mädchen sehen dem Fisch zu.

Die Eltern sehen ihren Kindern zu.

Das Kind hört zu.

I tried looking for articles that explain this, but I couldn't find much. Could someone please explain the Grammar points?

13

"Zusehen" and "zuhören" are examples of separable verbs.
A separable verb is composed of a lexical core and a separable particle. In some sentence positions, the core verb and the particle appear in one word, while in others the core verb and the particle are separated.

Mostly the prefix modifies the meaning of the verb. For example:

sehen (see) -> zusehen (watch), ansehen (look at, inspect), aussehen (appear)
hören (hear) -> zuhören (listen)

You can read more about them here, or here, or here, or in any basic grammar book

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    @KarthikIyengar Please note that most (all?) separable verbs in German are formed of two words that exist separately. Example: "zuhören" is a separable verb and the independent words "zu" and "hören" both exist. In many cases the meaning of such a separable verb is related to the second word ("zuhören" is related to "hören"). However there are counterexamples: The words "an" and "geben" both exist but the meaning of the (existing) word "angeben" neither has to do with "an" nor with "geben". – Martin Rosenau Dec 31 '17 at 6:29

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