German Conjugations

Conjugations are the changes a verb goes through depending on who is doing the action. Fortunately, conjugations follow some simple rules. All you have to do is change the ending of the verb according to the appropriate rule. There are also some exceptions; it wouldn’t be German if there weren’t any.

In this lesson, we will have a look at the regular German conjugations.

How to pronounce German conjugations

Let’s start with the present tense and see how the verb endings change.
Most verbs end in either –en or –n . Each type of verb (- en or – n) has a different set of endings.

 
 
-en verbs lachen (to laugh)
-n verbs segeln (to sail)
ich
lach-e
segel-e
du
lach-st
segel-st
er
lach-t
segel-t
sie
lach-t
segel-t
es
lach-t
segel-t
wir
lach-en
segel-n
ihr
lach-t
segel-t
sie
lach-en
segel-n

Zum Beispiel:

Now let's see how regular verbs behave in the simple past tense.

 
 
-en verbs lachen (to laugh)
-n verbs segeln (to sail)
ich
lach-te
segel-te
du
lach-test
segel-test
er
lach-te
segel-te
sie
lach-te
segel-te
es
lach-te
segel-te
wir
lach-ten
segel-ten
ihr
lach-tet
segel-tet
sie
lach-ten
segel-ten

Zum Beispiel:

As you can see, the endings for the simple past tense are similar to those of the present tense. There are just a few more t's... But what about the past participle? Finding the p.p. of regular verbs is really easy: you simply take the stem and add "ge" and "t" in this fashion:

  • ge + stem + t
So you will have:

You'll have noticed that gesegelt can be preceded by either sein or haben. Unlike English, German uses both auxiliary when composing the present perfect tense. A quick way to tell when to use sein and when to use haben is this: you use the auxiliary sein if you have a status change or a motion, as in "I have gone to Berlin", ich bin nach Berlin gegangen, and you use the auxiliary haben for all the other verbs.

Our lesson on conjugations wouldn't be complete, however, without a quick glance at the future tense. How is this made? We've already seen the present conjugation of the irregular verb werden in one of the previous lessons, and this is all we need. There are no subject endings in the future tense, because all you have to do is pick the right conjugation of werden and add the base verb you need!

 
 
-en verbs lachen (to laugh)
-n verbs segeln (to sail)
ich
werde lachen
werde segeln
du
wirst lachen
wirst segeln
er
wird lachen
wird segeln
sie
wird lachen
wird segeln
es
wird lachen
wird segeln
wir
werden lachen
werden segeln
ihr
werdet lachen
werdet segeln
sie
werden lachen
werden segeln

Here are a few recommended German lessons to try next!

Bis bald!
Paul Weber
Paul Weber
Rocket German

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