@Nierls If I were to use either of the verbs you listed as "reach for," where would the object fall in the word order? Are they separable verbs as well?
Would it be 'Wij reiken de appel naar' and 'Wij uitstrekken zich de appel naar'?
(When I tried looking up "zich uitstrekken naar," it looked to me that "zich" was placed typically after the verb...is this correct here? Literal translation something like "to stretch oneself toward"?)
Makes sense. Forgot to separate the separable verb uitstrekken (still getting used to it!) and realized we're talking reflexives with "zich uitstrekken naar" (takes "ons" for 1st person pl.).
Two further questions about "zich uitstrekken naar":
1) Is it the convention to write the infinitives of reflexive verbs as you did, using "zich" and placing it before the verb? (Would I write "zich inschrijven" as "to register"?)
2) When using such an infinitive in an actual sentence, how would I say "I want to reach for things"?
Would it be "Ik wil strek me uit naar dingen"? (or, "Ik wil me
uitstrekken naar dingen"?)
"touch" is aanraken. The verb aanraken is separable, so aan goes to the end of the sentence, but it is still the part of the verb.
It's similar in English: you have verbs like for example "give up", which has nothing to do with an act of giving or with the upward direction. It just has to be together.
It's there for the same reason "up" in "give up" or "in" in "give in". If you only know what "give", "up" and "in" mean, you won't know what "give up" or "give in" mean. You just need to learn them as separate semantic units.
There exists some reason for existence of those words, but it's hidden deep in etymology of those words.
If what you are interested in is why aan goes to the end of sentence instead of staying attached to raken, then there is an article on Wikipedia about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separable_verb