In the sentence,

Die angehenden Hotelfachleute durchlaufen in ihrer dreijährigen Lehrzeit verschiedene Abteilungen eines Hotels.

Why is not ... laufen ... durch. as is the case with separable verbs?

1 Answer 1


There are actually two different verbs durchlaufen, one separable and one non-separable, both having the same infinite form. The separable verb's meaning is more literal "to run through", the inseparable has a rather figurative meaning "to pass". And then, there is also the verb laufen with can be used with the preposition durch with the meaning "to walk through, to traverse". Here are example sentences:

Inseparable Verb: Die Hotelfachleute haben eine dreijährige Ausbilding durchlaufen ("The hotel managers passed a three year training program")

Separable Verb: Der Kaffee ist vollständig durchgelaufen. ("The coffee ran through the machine completely.")

Verb plus Preposition:Wir sind durch den Wald gelaufen ("We walked through the forest.")

  • 1
    The Wiktionary entry lists the verb twice, calling the separable on Etymology 1 and the inseparable one Etymology 2. This is perhaps a bit confusing because they give the same etymology in both cases; that's just the way Wiktionary does things. Sometimes separable vs. inseparable depends on the meaning of the prefix, and you can see this for example in the DWDS entry for "über-"; meanings are listed as "trennbar" or "untrennbar".
    – RDBury
    Jan 19 at 13:40
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    @planetmaker - I had to work on this a bit. The difference in pronunciation is just the accent. "UMfahren" = "run over", "umFAHRen" = "drive around". Usually if it's separable then the prefix is accented, and unaccented if not. So the correct pronunciation of the sentence depends on how you feel about pedestrians :)
    – RDBury
    Jan 19 at 14:11
  • Wouldn't you be able to separate the verb in the second example as well? "Der Kaffee ist vollständig durch [die Maschine] gelaufen."
    – Bergi
    Jan 20 at 12:54
  • The stress would fall on gelaufen, which makes is sound weird. But colloquially, "Kaffee ist durch" is common.
    – corvus_192
    Jan 20 at 14:14
  • @RDBury Great pedestrian example. Would one of them also be conjugated with haben and the other with sein, then? Jan 20 at 15:20

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