Like many students of German, I guess, I'm having trouble distinguishing verbs with different prefixes. My teacher says “schicken”, “abschicken” and “zuschicken” are close synonyms with subtle differences but doesn't go farther than that. I have already read (what I could of) this related question but I would like to get some examples of actual usage, i.e. what goes mostly with each verb, and also what absolutely doesn't go.

Also, are the connotations of ab- and zu- when used with schicken or senden found in other verbs?


1 Answer 1


The already found question has in my opinion an sufficient answer regarding [ ] / ab / zu. Because senden and schicken is close enough in your cases to be used interchangeably.

some examples

  • Ich schicke Dir ein Paket.
  • Ich schicke das Paket ab.
  • Ich schicke Dir das Paket zu.

A verb with different usage of zu & ab:

  • schließen
  • decken

Because zuschließen is quite clear to close the lock (of a door/ etc.). But abschließen can be used both ways when it comes to mobile locks. And abdecken is in my experience double used as well (while zudecken has unique meaning).

  • Ich schließe das Fahrrad ab
    • = es ist nun fest angeschlossen*
    • AS WELL AS das Schloss ist ab und das Fahrrad ist fertig zum wegfahren
  • Ich decke den Erdhaufen ab
    • = Ich habe eine Plane über den Erdhaufen gelegt.
    • AS WELL AS Ich habe die Plane vom Erdhaufen entfernt.

Which implies: a door cannot be open after ich habe die Tür abgeschlossen

*user unknown hints that abschließen > anschließen, because abschließen is more general locking while anschließen implies sth. where the locked object gets attached to (just the usage takes not always care of that subtle difference).

  • Thanks a lot. Just to clarify: is abschicken not allowed to take a dative object? I'm reading that happens with verschicken.
    – pablodf76
    Apr 17, 2019 at 21:21
  • 2
    @pablodf76 Yes, that's correct. You can't say "Ich schicke es dir ab"
    – sgf
    Apr 18, 2019 at 8:14

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