I was wondering about verbs which share the same root.

I would like to find a list/table/graphic/scheme/explanation where all those maybe "most known" verbs are described. Since I am not a German native, I do not know how properly define my request. Can you help me, please?

My examples so far are

  • bauen - aufbauen, umbauen, anbauen, verbauen, ausbauen, etc.
  • laden - einladen, aufladen, abladen etc.
  • arbeiten - bearbeiten, zuarbeiten etc.

How should I properly threat them and become more familiar with their meanings, particularly in der Deutschen Sprache?


1 Answer 1


I'm not sure if something like that exists specifically for learners. (I have some doubts, though. Quite frankly, this strikes me as an almost masochistic learning strategy: You would study extremely similar German lexems with widely differing meanings. Normally, this is the exact type of scenario that learners - me included - try to avoid when studying a foreign language.)

That being said, one book that does come to my mind is the (somewhat but not overly technical) Helbig/Schenkel, Wörterbuch zur Valenz und Distribution deutscher Verben, 7th ed. 1983. This is a dictionary of around 500 common verbs with their valence patterns. The entries do not always (though mostly) include definitions, but they all include simple example sentences/phrases. The dictionary is grouped by word families (e.g. arbeiten is followed by bearbeiten, einarbeiten, überarbeiten, verarbeiten), which, if I'm understanding you correctly, is what you're looking for.

(It appears that there is a preview available through Google Books, at https://books.google.de/books?id=KHgqcUKjgkoC&printsec=frontcover&hl=de.)

P.S.: You could also use cannoo.net's wildcard search feature and just enter some verbs you are interested in. A search for "*bauen" returns this remarkable list of entries, for example.

  • +1, very helpful answer.
    – Janka
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 20:08
  • 1
    I'd too say learn verbs because you need them, not because they look similar.
    – RHa
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 7:46
  • 2
    Well, this could be a strategy to implicitly learn the meaning of the prefixes. But be aware that you will very hard times to find patterns in the meaning of the prefixes!
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 10:11
  • Danke Ihnen all, johnl, @RHa und @jonathan.scholbach
    – Taras
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 10:39

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