No surprise a past participle of a verb imported from English goes with the ge- form, because it's the commonest.

But I've heard Germans say


and, on the other hand,


Can you tell me the linguistic reason behind this difference in the placement?

  • 1
    Related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/2358
    – chirlu
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 9:59
  • I've heard Der Flug war gecanceled or something like that.
    – c.p.
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:20
  • @c.p.: Right, but there is no prefix candidate in canceln.
    – chirlu
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:25
  • 2
    I would say "geuploadet", others say "downgeloadet"... there are no rules yet
    – Emanuel
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


It is not immediately clear whether uploaden and downloaden in German should be treated as monolithic words or as having separable prefixes. Therefore, geuploadet, upgeloadet, gedownloadet and downgeloadet can all be found in the wild, as can spelling variants with -ed. If you have only encountered one version per verb, that is by accident.

The general tendency nowadays for both is toward them being considered partially separable verbs: Separable for purposes of the past participle, inseparable otherwise (ich downloade, not ich loade down). Many people avoid them altogether.

  • 3
    Interestingly, in a Google fight, upgeloadet and geuploadet are equally popular, while gedownloadet is four times as popular as downgeloadet. This might be explained by the collision of two vowels in geuploadet, which makes the word more difficult to read and somewhat clumsy in pronunciation.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:16
  • 3
    Also, I cannot state often enough that the variants ending on -ed are wrong on many levels.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:24

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