Function of "ein" in this sentence

Ich seife meine Hände ein

Can anyone explain why the “ein” is in this sentence? I presume this translate into “I soap UP my hands” – without the “ein” would it be just “I soap my hands”? Is there a name for this grammar construct?



There are two verbs in German: ‘seifen’ and ‘einseifen’.
The last one is more colloquial.
The prefix ‘ein’ must be separated, that’s why: Ich seife meine Hände ein.

Actually “seifen” isn’t usually used as a verb (it exists only in theory). The normal verb is “einseifen”, which is separable (trennbar). There is also “abseifen”, meaning to soap down someone or something.

Ahh trennbar, excellent.

I found a nice list of separable verbs


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