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Verb “lassen” in German


There is a verb in German that is difficult to find an analogue in Russian. We are talking about “lassen (ließ, gelassen)”. It has many meanings, literally translated as “to leave” or “to let”.  The verb behaves differently in different situations.

  • “Leave it, not take it with you”:

Ich lasse meine Jacke zu Hause, ich nehme die nicht mit – I will leave my jacket at home, I will not take it with me.

  • “Allow”:

Lass mich bitte sagen – let me say.

Please note that in Russian the word “allow” requires a dative case (“to whom?”, “to what?”), and in German Akkusativ (“who?”, “what?”). The peculiarity of this meaning is that we have two verbs: “lassen” and “sagen”. In the past, both Perfekt and Perfekt remain in the infinitive, not in the third form: “ich habe ihn sagen lassen” – “I let him say”.

  • “Let him in.”

Frische Luft ins Zimmer lassen – let fresh air into the room.

The last value is interesting – “allow/give someone to do something”. There is a joke in Russian, when they say: “I got a haircut,” you can say “I cut my hair myself? It came out surprisingly straight! There is no such situation in German because they say “ich lasse meine Haare schneiden”. The literal translation of this phrase is not easy to pick up, but it means approximately “I’ll have my hair cut” (“I’ll trust someone to cut my hair”). In this sense, the verb is used quite often:

  • Ich lasse mein Auto reparieren – I instruct you to fix my car (I’ll take it to a service center).

This word has many meanings. The ones we mentioned today are the main ones, and the rest later.

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