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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?

  • Is it ok for you that I skipped the translation of the related answer? Because your question is in english and it is valid here to have an english only question/answer about same topic – Shegit Brahm Apr 17 at 13:47
  • Yes, it's perfectly OK for me, thanks. – pablodf76 Apr 17 at 21:22
  • Why do you think there are connotations at all? And did you check dictionaries, to clarifiy the meaning of the words? – user unknown Apr 18 at 5:02
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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 at 21:21
  • Das ist falsch. Ich kann das Fahrrad abschließen, ohne es anzuschließen (an ein Verkehrsschild, eine Laterne, einen Fahrradständer), in dem ich ein Schloss durchs Hinterrad und den Rahmen führe. Damit kann man es nicht mehr wegfahren, aber wegtragen. – user unknown Apr 18 at 5:00
  • @userunknown: Tut mir leid, dass in meinem "Bekanntenkreis" abschließen in beide Richtungen gebraucht wird. Da kann ich in der Kommunikation sagen "ich schließ schon mal die Fahrräder ab" wenn danach alle mit den Fahrrädern wegfahren wollen. – Shegit Brahm Apr 18 at 7:23
  • @pablodf76: Could you provide an example for your dative question, please? Because atm I draw a mental blank about the sentence construct you look for. – Shegit Brahm Apr 18 at 7:28
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    @pablodf76 Yes, that's correct. You can't say "Ich schicke es dir ab" – sgf Apr 18 at 8:14

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