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  5. a note on the verb ''lassen'':


a note on the verb ''lassen'':

Dear German learners,

I thought to explain here a little bit about some of the many applications in which the infamous verb lassen is used in German:

We are all familirar with phrases like:

lass mich in Ruhe! = leave me alone!
es wird schon kalt, lass uns ins Haus gehen = it's getting cold, let's go inside.

But there are some other applications in which, at least for me, need more practice to get used to. I explain two of them here:

1) lassen can be used to signal capacity, ability or possiblity of something.

hier lässt es sich gut leben.
= it's a good life here!, one can live well here! (it's possible to live well here)

es lässt sich damit Geld verdienen!
= it's an opportunity to earn money! (it's possible to earn money with that)

if the door won't open, ...
= wenn sich dir Tür nicht öffnen lässt, ...

die Tür lässt sich jetzt viel leichter öffnen!
= the door opens much more easily now.

that won't be easy to solve!
= das lässt sich nicht leicht lösen!

2) Another usage of the verb lassen that I would like to explain a bit is the equivalent of have sth done and have sb do sth:

she got her hair cut! = sie hat sich die Haare schneiden lassen!

I'm having him wash my car! = ich lasse ihn mein Auto waschen.

I hope this helps a bit! Keep up the good work!


February 25, 2016


[deactivated user]

    Great post! In addition, lassen has one more use "etw. (Akkusativ) x-en lassen" is to make something do x. For example "Ich lasse dich rennen" can either mean "I let you run" or "I make you run."


    It looks to me from your example that "1) lassen can be used to signal capacity, ability or possiblity of something." all use sich lassen which makes it easier to remember as a distinct meaning


    yep, the formula is: sich + infinitive + lassen

    es lässt sich denken, dass ... = it's conceivable that ....


    Kann ich sagen:

    Ich lasse den Kuchen abkühlen.

    for "I let the cake cool down"?


    yes, that is correct Lance,

    lassen + infinitive could indicate: to leave, let
    wie konnten Sie das geschehen lassen? = how could you let that happen?


    Sehr einfach :-) Danke!

    And if I want to place the action in the past, I suppose I only need to add the conjugated form of "haben" and push the infinitive "lassen" to the end of the sentence?

    Ich habe den Kuchen abkühlen lassen.

    Ist das richtig?

    Oder komplexer:

    Ich hätte den Kuchen abkühlen lassen, wenn ich dich heute erwartet hätte.



    stimmt, :-) "haben" is used and lassen is sent to the end of the sentece, as you mentioned. It acts kind of like the other auxiliary verbs, no need of "zu" and also its simple form is used; normally we use "haben + p.p", and the p.p. of "lassen" is "gelassen", but in this context it's simply "lassen".


    Very good to know. Thanks again :-D


    Danke für die Erklärung. Es ist sehr wichtig für mich. Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Mirjana aus Serbien

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