How to expand vocabulary with the prefix "an"


"Warum stellen sich die Kühe an?" Why do the cows queue?


In German, we use the prefix "an" to express that an action begins. "Schalt das Radio an! " Turn on the radio! "Wann treten wir die Reise nach Barcelona an?" We mean, when can we start the journey to Barcelona? "Das Auto springt nicht an." The car won't start. "Wie sollen wir das angehen?" How shall we approach or start this?




The prefix "an-" can further express the idea of rest. "Hoffentlich hält das Wetter an." We mean hopefully the good weather is here to stay (and rest with us). "Wir müssen uns anstellen." We got to join the queue, resting, until its our turn. "Die Menschen haben sich dort angesiedelt." People have settled there (and come to rest.) "Es ist ein anhaltender Trend." It's a continuing trend, (to rest with us for a while.)


Finally, "an" expresses an action is only done partially to start something off. "Wenn wir ein Rindersteak anbraten," we mean to start browning the steak not cooking it through. Oder "wenn wir einen Teig anrühren", we mean to start kneading the dough to start it off. "Wenn dich jemand anquatscht", someone is trying to start talking to you.


Translate the sentences:

It's a continuing trend.

Turn on the radio.

I got to join the queue.

People have settled there .


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