Different types of prefixes

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Many verbs in German consist of a main verb and a prefix: ankommen ‘to arrive’, verkaufen ‘to sell’, übersetzen ‘to translate’/‘to ferry over’.There are three different types of prefixes in German:

• separable prefixes which – as the name suggests – can exist separately from the main verb;
• inseparable prefixes which are fixed to the verb;
• variable prefixes which can either be separable or inseparable.