If I cut (schneiden) my hair, it's geschnitten.

If I color (färben) it, it's gefärbt.

If I trim (stutzen) it, it's gestutzt.

But if I razor (rasieren or abrasieren) it, it's not gerasiert or geabrasiert. It's rasiert or abrasiert.

  • 1
    Just a guess, but "rasieren" comes from a foreign word, while all the other verbs were "always" German.
    – Landei
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 19:42
  • 1
    Partizip II von Verben, die auf "-ieren" enden, wird ohne "ge-" gebildet.
    – Eller
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 19:55
  • @Landei There are many verbs that have been imported into German rather recently and still take a "ge-" prefix. Some examples: killen – gekillt, dealen – gedealt, mobben – gemobbt, scannen – gescannt.
    – Uwe
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


This is a general question on how the Partizip II is formed in German. This participle is used for the perfect tenses and all passive voices.

The general rule is, the Partizip II resembles first person past tense prefixed with ge- and without the final -e:

färben: ich färbe, ich färbte, gefärbt

stutzen: ich stutze, ich stutzte, gestutzt

legen: ich lege, ich legte, gelegt

But sometimes, there are exceptions! The first is about strong verbs, here -en is added and there's often another vowel shift:

schneiden: ich schneide, ich schnitt, geschnitten

waschen: ich wasche, ich wusch, gewaschen

biegen: ich biege, ich bog, gebogen

liegen: ich liege, ich lag, gelegen

lügen: ich lüge, ich log, gelogen

The second is about verbs with inseparable prefixes. They don't get a ge- prefix but keep their original one, while the above two stem classes still apply:

belegen: ich belege, ich belegte, belegt

verbiegen: ich verbiege, ich verbog, verbogen

The third is about verbs with separable prefixes. They get a -ge- between the original prefix and the stem. Again, the two stem classes still apply:

abwaschen: ich wasche ab, ich wusch ab, abgewaschen

weglegen: ich lege weg, ich legte weg, weggelegt

Unfortunately, there are still some irregular cases, verbs on -ieren for example:

rasieren: ich rasiere, ich rasierte, rasiert

lackieren: ich lackiere, ich lackierte, lackiert

musizieren: ich musiziere, ich musizierte, musiziert

And of course, the prefix has to be kept intact:

abrasieren: ich rasiere ab, ich rasierte ab, abrasiert.

  • 2
    The reason seems to be that rasieren has its accent on the second syllable, so it's treated as if the ra- were a non-separable prefix.
    – RHa
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 8:50
  • 1
    @RHa In fact, other verbs without a prefix that are not stressed on the first syllable show the same behaviour, even if they do not end in "-ieren", e.g., "berlinern", "scharwenzeln", "trompeten", "salbadern"
    – Uwe
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 12:02

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