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Prefixed & Inseparable Compounds


You have just studied regular verbs, and you already know the verb stays the same in the present, future, and past. You also know that in the past, the GE- prefix is added to the verb, or not. Here is the NOT situation :-)


The Prefixes: VER, BE, GE-, HER-, ONT-


VER: verkoop, vergaan, verwag, verseel.

BE: begaan, betaal, bearbei

GE: genees, getuig

HER: herskryf, herdoen, herhaal, herlees

ONT: ontneem, ontwater, ontgaan, ontwortel

Note: Prefixed verbs take no GE- in the past tense. Why? Well, that is easy to explain. A prefix (like GE-) is like a mask. So, if the verb already has a mask on, you can guess it, we are not going to put another one (-GE) on. VERKOOP (to sell) for example has VER- on the verb. It is uncool to try to say GE-VER-KOOP in the past tense. I sold my kar. > Ek het my kar verkoop.


First of all, grasp the idea of a compound verb. It has two parts of meaning that combine to create the verb, like OVER + THROW to make OVERTHROW. In Afrikaans we have two groups of compound verbs, separable and inseparable. Inseparable compound verbs are regular verbs, i.e. they stay the same in present, past, and future. In the lesson after this, you will learn about these separable compound verbs. For now, we focus on the inseparable ones. Like with prefixed verbs, many of them do not get the GE- in the past tense; yet, there are a few exceptions. Please consult the list in the vocabulary section. And some of these inseparable compound verbs could go with or without the GE- prefix.

Inseparable Verb Examples:

ondervra, ondersoek, onderneem

misluk, mishandel, mislei

omhels, omsingel

aanvaar, openbaar, waarborg, raadpleeg


verkoop: Ek het my kar verkoop. Ek sal my kar verkoop.
besoek: Ons besoek die siek man. Ons het die siek man besoek.
begin:  Ek begin 'n nuwe dag. Ek het 'n nuwe dag begin.
onthou: Ek onthou jou! Ek het jou onthou.
genees: Sy genees die pasiënt. Sy het die pasiënt genees.
misluk: Die projek het misluk.
ondersoek: Die polisie ondersoek die moord.
aanvaar: Ek het die argument aanvaar.
waarsku: Ek het jou gewaarsku.