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Konjunktionen

Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn how to connect two sentences.

German English

Sie ist nett und sie sieht gut aus. She is nice and she looks pretty.
Ich werde dich anrufen oder ich werde dir schreiben. I'll call you or I'll write to you.
Ich weiß, dass sie mich mag. I know that she likes me.

rules

We have to distinguish between two types of conjunctions:

• coordinating conjunctions
• subcoordinating conjunctions

coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions join two "independent" sentences.


That means both sentences could stand alone without the other sentence and they would make sence alone.

example:

• Ich lernte für die Prüfung, aber er ging ins Kino. (I studied for the exam but he went to the cinema.)

Both sentences could stand alone and would make sense:

1. Ich lernte für die Prüfung (I studied for the exam.)


2. Er ging ins Kino. (He went to the cinema.)

The word order remains in both sentences as if they stood alone.

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Konjunktionen
Theorie

all coordinating conjunctions

und=and

• Ich bin hier und sie wartet auf mich im Cafe. (I'm here and she is waiting for me in the cafe.)
• Sei vorsichtig und pass auf dich auf! (Be careful and take care!)

oder=or

• Sie spielt gerne Badminton oder sie singt mit ihren Freunden. (She likes playing badminton or she
sings with her friends.)
• Ich muss jetzt lernen oder ich werde die Prüfung nicht bestehen. (I must study now or I won't pass
the exam.)

denn=because

• Ich will nicht lernen, denn das Wetter ist so schön. (I don't want to study because the weather is so
nice.)
• Cathy kommt bald nach Hause, denn es geht ihr schon besser. (Cathy is coming home soon because
she is doing better already.)

aber=but

• Ich spreche mit dem Mann, aber ich kenne seinen Namen nicht. (I talk to the man but I don't know
his name.)
• Ich habe keine Zeit, aber ich komme trotzdem ins Cafe. (I have no time but I'll come to the cafe,
however.)

sondern=but

• Sie spricht kein Tagalog, sondern Cebuano. (She doesn't speak Tagalog but Cebuano.)
• Die Kinder spielen nicht draußen, sondern sie sehen fern. (The children don't play outside but they
watch tv.)

As you can see we have two words in German to say "but" and it's a bit tricky to explain the difference.

Both words are used if the idea of second sentence is in contrast to the idea of the first sentence.
There is, however, a slight difference: "Sondern" is only used if the two ideas come for the same "category".
With "category" I mean eg. a profession (doctor / manager) or a game (tennis / badminton) or a temperatur
(cold / warm)...

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Konjunktionen
Theorie

example:

• Es ist nicht kalt, sondern sehr warm. (It's not cold but very warm.)
• Es ist nicht kalt, aber ich ziehe mir eine dicke Jacke an. (It's not cold but I'll wear a big coat.)

In the first example "cold" and "warm" are both adjectives which describe temperature.
So, they come from one "category".

In the second example the two ideas of the two sentences are in contrast, too
but one sentence describes a temperatur and they other what somebody is going to wear.

last hint:

At last hint which might help you is, that there must be a negation form (nicht or kein) in the first sentence
to use "sondern." If there is no "nicht or kein" in the first sentence you have to use "aber".

subcoordinating conjunctions

Subcoordinating conjunctions join a dependent clause (subordinate clause) to an independent clause (main
clause).
The dependent clause (mostly the second sentence) doesn't make sense without the sentence in front.

example:

• Ich weiß, dass wir uns wiedersehen. (I know that we will meet again.)

The first sentence could stand alone. The second sentence, however, doesn't make sense alone. In the second
sentence you don't know what the "that" is refering to.

1. Ich weiß. (I know.)


2. dass wir uns wiedersehen. (that we'll meet again.)

The word order in the independent clause (main clause) remains as usual.
The word order in the dependent clause (subordinate clause) changes.

I don't want to go into detail here but just this rule: "In dependent clauses the verb goes to the very end of the
sentence". Check the topic "Satzstellung" (word order) for more details.

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Konjunktionen
Theorie

10 important subcoordinating conjunctions

dass=that

• Er sagte, dass du sehr fleißig bist. (He said that you are very diligent.)
• Ich möchte, dass du mich anrufst. (I want you to call me.)

weil=because

• Ich muss jetzt schlafen, weil ich morgen früh aufstehe. (I have to sleep now because I'll get up
early tomorrow.)
• Wir hatten einen Streit, weil er so stur war. (We had an argument because he was so stubborn.)

ob=if / whether

• Ich weiß nicht, ob sie heute zur Universität kommt. (I don't know if she'll come to university today.)
• Er fragte mich, ob du in Cagayan wohnst. (He asked me if you live in Cagayan.)

seit=since

• Er ist ein neuer Mensch, seit er sie kennt. (He is a new man since he've known her.)
• Er ist immer gestresst, seit er mit ihr zusammen ist . (He is always stressed since he's been
together with her.)

während=while

• Bitte füttere den Hund, während ich weg bin. (Please, feet the dog while I'm away.)
• Wir schauten fern, während die Kinder draußen spielten . (We've been watching tv while the kids
played outside.)

obwohl=although

• Sie fuhr mit mir nach Bohol, obwohl ihre Freunde dagegen waren. (She went with me to Bohol
although her friends were against it.)
• Sie lernt Deutsch, obwohl sie noch nie in Deutschland war. (She is studying German although she
hasn't been to Germany before.)

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Konjunktionen
Theorie

bis=until

• Warte, bis ich zurück bin! (Wait, until I'll be back!)


• Wir spielten Volleyball, bis es dunkel wurde. (We've played volleyball until it became dark.)

bevor=before

• Bitte hilf mir, bevor du gehst! (Please, help me before you go!)
• Ich laß viel über die Philippinen, bevor ich sie besuchte. (I read a lot about the Philippines before I
visited her.)

als=when

• Ich war überrascht, als ich sie das erste mal gesehen habe. (I was surprised when I saw her for the
first time.)
• Sie lächelte, als sie ihn sah. (She smilled when she saw him.)

damit=so that

• Cathy lernt Deutsch, damit sie das Visum bekommt. (Cathy is studying German so that she'll get
the visa.)
• Er kauft sich einen Computer, damit er mit ihm spielen kann. (He buys a computer so that he can
play with it.)

further important subcoordinating conjunctions

German English German English

als ob as if seitdem since

anstatt instead of sobald as soon as

da because solange as long as

daher therefore, thus trotz despite

ehe before wenn when / if

nachdem after wann when

last hint:

Dependent clauses are separated by a comma from the rest.


So, always put a comma in front of the subcoordinating conjunction.
It also makes it easier to read the two sentences which are joined together.

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Infinitiv mit zu
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this topic is to speak about "infinitive + to" -structures.

German English
Es ist schön, dich zu kennen. It's nice to know you.
Ich bin hier, um sie zu sehen. I'm here to see her.
Sie ist gegangen, ohne ein Wort zu sagen. She is gone without saying a word.

rules

The "infinitive + to" -structure is a kind of "attachment" of the main sentence to provide
additional information or to complete the idea of the main sentence.

The use of the "infinitive + to" -structure is in German and English almost the same.
There are some little differences, however.

"Infinitive + to" -structures of "normal" verbs

The "infinitive + to" -structure of "normal" verbs is just added to the main sentence:
main sentence + (object) + "zu" + verb

examples:

• Sie hat keine Zeit zu lernen. (She has no time to learn.)


• Ich bitte dich zu gehen. (I ask you to go.)
• Tom versucht zu singen. (Tom tries to sing.)

"Infinitive + to" -structures of separable verbs

In "Infinitive + to" -structures of separable verbs the "zu" goes between the prefix and the stem:
main sentence + (object) + prefix+zu+stem

examples:

• Sie hat kein Geld einzukaufen. (She has no money to shop.)


• Ich bitte dich wegzugehen. (I ask you to go away.)
• Tom versucht fernzusehen. (Tom tries to watch tv.)

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Infinitiv mit zu
Theorie

The introducing preposition: "um", "ohne" and "anstatt"

By now we just spoke about the simple infinitives.


More often, however, the infinitive structures start with one of the three propositions:

• um (=in order)
• ohne (=without)
• anstatt (=instead)

When do you have to start an "infinitive + to" -structure with "um"?

You have to start the "infinitive + to" -structure with "um" whenever it expresses a purpose -
that means whenever you could add in English "in order".

examples:

• Ich bin hier, um dich zu sehen. (I'm here [in order] to see you.)
• Cathy lernt sehr viel, um das Examen zu bestehen. (Cathy studies a lot [in order] to pass the
exam.)
• Er kommt zu dir, um dir zu helfen. (He comes to you [in order] to help you.)

As you can see in the examples above you would leave out "in order" in English. It sounds a bit odd.
In German, however, you must use "um".

"ohne" and "anstatt"

The use of "ohne" and "anstatt" is easy and becomes clear if you read the examples.

examples:

• Ich gehe nicht nach Hause, ohne dich zu küssen. (I won't go home without kissing you.)
• Sie ist gegangen, ohne ein Wort zu sagen. (She is gone without saying a word.)
• Sie haben den Kuchen gegessen, ohne uns zu fragen. (They ate the cake without asking us.)

examples:

• Sie macht oft Quatsch, anstatt zu lernen. (She makes often nonsense instead of learning.)
• Ich schicke eine E-mail, anstatt dich anzurufen. (I send an e-mail instead of calling you.)
• Er benutzt ein Deo, anstatt sich zu duschen. (He uses a deodorant instead of taking a shower.)

The comma placement

If there is more than just the "infinitive + to" -structure after the main sentence,
then put a comma after the main sentence.

examples:

• Es ist schön zu lesen. (only "infinitive + to" -structure => no comma)


• Es ist schön, ein Buch zu lesen. (more than just the "infinitive + to" -structure => comma)

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Satzbestandteile erkennen
Theorie

I prepared this extra topic because I noticed that my gwapa has difficulties in the identification
of the single parts of a sentence. However, this important so that you are able to handle the cases
and many other topics.

That's why we should speak talk about the components of a sentence:

example 1:

The woman kisses a man.

1: definite article
The definite article belongs to nouns and shows us in German which grammatical gender the noun has.
We use a definite article if we mean a certain noun (woman) and not any noun (woman).

2: subject
The woman is the acting person/thing in a sentence. The woman is doing something. She kisses.

3: verb
The verb is the action verb. It says what the subject does.

4: indefinite article
The indefinite article belongs to nouns and shows us in German which grammatical gender the noun has.
We use an indefinite article if we don’t mean a certain noun (man).

5: direct object
The direct object is the non-acting person/thing in a sentence. The man is kissed by the woman.

example 2:

The woman gives a book to the child.

1: definite article: see above (belongs to the subject)

2: subject: see above


3: verb: see above

4: definite article: see above (belongs to the indirect object)

5: indirect object
The indirect object is the beneficiary of the action in the sentence. Usually it's a person.
You can also say the indirect object is the receiver of the direct object

6: indefinite article: see above (belongs to the direct object)

7: direct object: see above

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Satzbestandteile erkennen
Theorie

example 3:

I have a nice girlfriend.

1: subject: see above


2: verb: see above
3: indefinite article: see above (belongs to the direct object)

4: adjective
An adjective is a word which describes a noun.
How is my girlfriend? =>nice!

5: direct object: see above

example 4:

My girlfriend learns fast.

1: possessive pronoun
A possessive pronoun is a special pronoun which shows to whom or what the noun belongs.
Here the noun "Freundin" belongs to me.

2: subject: see above


3: verb: see above

4: adverb
An adverb is a word which describes a verb.
How does my girlfriend learn? => fast!

example 5:

I'll fly to Cagayan tomorrow.

1: subject: see above


2: verb: see above

3: time expression
As the name already describes the time expression says when something happens.

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Satzbestandteile erkennen
Theorie

4: preposition
Prepositions are "relationship words".
They express time, location, causal ... relationships between people and things.
"Nach" is a typical "local preposition".

5: location
The name of the location is here "Cagayan".

example 6:

Cathy is a girl.

1: subject: see above


2: verb: see above
3: indefinite article: see above

4: predicate complement
The verb is a form of "be". The "ist" acts like an equal sign. You could say: Cathy = a girl.
That's why "Cathy" and "girl" are the subject and both are in the nominative case.

example 7:

Joy and Kristine go to the cinema.

1: subject: see above

2: conjunction: A conjunction connects two or more parts of a sentence.


Here "und" connects the both subjects.

3: subject: This sentence has 2 subjects. Both girl do something so they are both subjects.

4: verb: see above

5: preposition
"Ins" is a special preposition because actually it's a preposition and a definite article
"ins" is a short form of "in das".

6: location: see above

example 8:

Why do you learn German?

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Satzbestandteile erkennen
Theorie

1: question word: question words ask for a reason, a time, a location, a person and so on.

2: verb: see above


3: subject: see above
4: direct object: see above

example 9:

When do you go?

1: question word: see above


2: verb: see above
3: subject: see above

example 10:

Give me a kiss!

1: verb: see above


2: indirect object: see above
3: indefinite article: see above
4: direct object: see above

example 11:

Ich vermisse Cathy und ihre Freunde.

1: subject: see above


2: verb: see above
3: direct object: see above
4: conjunction: see above
5: possessive pronoun: see above
6: direct object: see above

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Satzbestandteile erkennen
Theorie

example 12:

Germany has 16 "Bundesländer".

1: subject: see above


2: verb: see above
3: number: how many of something
4: direct object: see above

summary

1.) Every sentence contains a subject (statements and questions).


The only exception are imperative sentences (see example 10).

2.) It might be that one sentence has 2 or more subjects (see example 7).

3.) Not every sentence contains an object. Many sentences don't have any
object (see examples 4, 5, 6, 7, 9).

4.) Some sentences contain even more than one object (see example 11).

5.) The components of a sentence we learnt so far are:

 subject
 verb
 direct object
 indirect object
 predicate complement
 adjective
 adverb
 personal pronoun
 possessive pronoun
 demonstrative pronoun
 definite article
 indefinite article
 preposition
 conjunction
 particle
 question word
 time expression
 location
 number

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Grammatikbegriffe
Theorie

components of a sentence

term explanation example

Adjektiv (adjective) An "Adjektiv" is a word which describes a noun. Das Mädchen ist nett.
It shows how something or somebody is.

Adverb (adverb) An "Adverb" is a word which describes a verb. Der Junge geht schnell.
It shows how something is done.

Artikel (article) The "Artikel" is a kind of companion of the noun.


It indicates which gender the noun belongs to.

There are two types of articles:

• bestimmter Artikel (definite article): der, die, das - is used if you refer to a particular person or das Auto
thing
• unbestimmter Artikel (indefinite article): ein - is used if you refer to a person or thing but don't ein Auto
exactly specify their identity

Konjunktion (conjunction) "Konjunktionen" join together two or more sentences.

There are two types of conjunctions:

• nebenordnende Konjunktion (coordinating conjunction): join two independent clauses examples: und, oder, aber, ...

• unterordnende Konjunktion (subordinating conjunction): join a dependent clause (subordinate examples: dass, weil, als, ...

clause) to an independent clause (main clause)

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Grammatikbegriffe
Theorie

term explanation example

Objekt (object) The "Objekt" is the not-acting person/thing in a sentence.


There are three types of objects:

• Akkusativobjekt (direct object): receives the action done by the subject Er schickt dem Mädchen einen Brief.

• Dativobjekt (indirect object): is the "beneficiary" of the action Er schickt dem Mädchen einen Brief.

• Präpositionalobjekt (object of a preposition): is connected to the subject by a preposition Er liegt auf dem Sofa.

Partikel (particle) "Partikel" are little helping words we use to emphasis something or make something sound less doch, mal, bloß, wohl
demanding, …

Präposition (preposition) "Präpositionen" are small words which connect a noun to another noun, verb or adjective. Der Mann lebt in Deutschland.
The prepostion indicates their relationhip, direction, location or function.

Pronomen (pronoun) There are several types of pronouns:

• Personalpronomen (personal pronoun): replaces a noun or refers back to a noun which was examples: ich, du, er/sie/es ...
mentioned before
• Possessivpronomen (possessive pronoun): a word that shows to whom something belongs examples: mein, dein, sein, ...

• Demonstrativpronomen (demonstrative pronoun): a word to point out a particular thing or examples: dieser, jener
person
• Reflexivpronomen (reflexive pronoun): if subject and object (=here the pronoun) are the examples: mir, mich, dir, dich, sich ...
same person the pronoun is called "Reflexivpronomen". It reflects back to the noun.
• Relativpronomen (relative pronoun): introduces a relative clause and refers back to the noun examples: der, den, welcher, ...
of the main sentence
• Fragepronomen (interrogative pronoun): is a question word which is used to ask for a examples: Wer?, Welcher?, Wessen?, ...
pronoun
• Indefinitpronomen (indefinite pronoun): is a pronoun which refers to somebody or examples: jeder, jemand, niemand, …
something in general - not a particular one

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Grammatikbegriffe
Theorie

term explanation example

Subjekt (subject) The "Subjekt" is the acting person/thing in a sentence or it is just the subject-matter of the sentence. Ich lese ein Buch.
Cathy ist ein Mädchen.

Substantiv (noun) A "Substantiv" is a person, place, thing, idea or animal. Ich lese ein Buch.
A noun is (almost) everything what you can touch.

Verb (verb) The "Verb" is the action of the sentence and describes what is done. Ich lese ein Buch.
Sometimes it discribes the existence or happening of somebody/something. Ich bin ein Mann.
We distinguish verbs according to different points of view:

according to their typ

• Hauptverben (main verbs): can stand alone and make sense without other verbs examples: lesen, schreiben, gehen, …

• Hilfsverben (helping verbs): are used to form tenses, moods and voices examples: haben, sein, werden

• Modalverben (modal verbs): are verbs which modify the maining of the main verb to express examples: können, müssen, dürfen, ...
permission, ability, ban, recommendation.
Usually a modal verb doesn't make sense without the main verb.

according to their past forms

• starke Verben (strong verbs): are irregular and change mostly their stem vowel in the
"Präteritum" and "Partizip II" form example: lesen/las/gelesen

• schwache Verben (weak verbs): are regular and their past forms follow a rule
• gemischte Verben (mixed verbs): behave like strong verbs and weak verbs example: kaufen/kaufte/gekauft

example: rennen/rannte/gerannt

according to their prefix

• trennbare Verben (separable verbs): the prefix spilts up in certain situations


• untrennbare Verben (inseparable verbs): the prefix never splits up from the stem example: fernsehen

• Dualverben (dual verbs): are separable or inseparable depending on the meaning example: verstehen
example: übersetzen

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Grammatikbegriffe
Theorie

other important grammar terms

term explanation example

Fall (case) The "Fall" (=Kasus) is a tool to explain the role of a person/thing in a sentence. The case shows in
which relation the person/thing is to the other words. The case itself is no word. It's a fictional
thing which helps to choose e.g. the correct ending of an adjective.

There are four cases in the German language:

• Nominativ (nominative) is used for the subject/predicate complement der Mann

• Genitiv (genitive) is used to express ownership/possession des Mannes

• Dativ (dative) is used for the indirect object dem Mann

• Akkusativ (accusative) is used for the direct object den Mann

The role of a noun in a sentence is one indicator for the case. für, um, bis,... (accusative prepositions)

Other indicators are certain prepositions, verbs and adjectives. mit, nach, von, zu,... (dative prepositions)
wegen, während ,... (genitive prepositions)

Genus Verbi (voice) The "Genus Verbi" is a feature of a verb to focus on either the person/thing who does something
(=subject) or the process what is done (verb).

There are two "voices" in the German language:

• Aktiv (active voice) is used if the focus is on the subject = It's important who does Tom schrieb ein Buch (Tom wrote a book.)

something
• Passiv (passive voice) is used if the focus is on the verb = It's not important who does Ein Buch wurde geschrieben.

something (A book was written.)

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Grammatikbegriffe
Theorie

term explanation example

Geschlecht (gender) In addition to the natural (biological) gender every noun has got a grammatical gender which
often differs from the biological gender.

There are three gender in the German language:

• männlich (male) indicated by the definite article der der Mann

• weiblich (female) indicated by the definite article die die Frau

• sächlich (neuter) indicated by the definite article das das Kind

Modus (mood) The "Modus" is a feature of a verb that shows the relationship of a verb with the reality and its
intent.

There are three moods in the German language:

• Indikativ (indicative) to speak about everything what really happens Er ist hier.

• Konjunktiv (subjunctive) to speak about fictional/unreal things Ich wünschte, er wäre hier.

• Imperativ (imperative) to make a requestion or give a command Sei um 8.00 Uhr hier!

Numerus (number) The "Numerus" is a term to describe how many persons/things are involed in the action.

There are two forms in the German language:

• Singular (singluar) is used for one person/thing Ich habe ein Auto.

• Plural (plural) is used for two or more persons/things Wir haben zwei Autos.

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Grammatikbegriffe
Theorie

term explanation example

Person (person) The "Person" is a term to describe the point of view in a sentence.

There are three "persons" in the German language:

• 1. Person (1st person) is used when the speaker(s) is the one who does something in ich, wir
the sentence
• 2. Person (2nd person) is used if the person to whom the sentence is addressed does du, ihr
something in the sentence
• 3. Person (3rd person) is used when the person you and your counterpart speak about er/sie/es, sie (pl.)
does something

Zeitform (tense) The "Zeitform" is a feature of a verb to express when something happens.

There are six tenses in the German language:

• Präsens (present) to speak about current events ich sehe (I see)

• Präteritum (=Imperfekt) (simple past) to speak about past events ich sah (I saw)

• Perfekt (present perfect) to speak about past events ich habe gesehen (I have seen)

• Plusquamperfekt (past perfect) to speak about an event in the past which had ich hatte gesehen (I had seen)

happened before an event in the past


• Futur I (future) to speak about future events ich werde sehen (I will see)

• Futur II (future perfect) to speak about future events which will be finished by a certain ich werde gesehen haben (I will have seen)

time in the future

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Grammatikbegriffe
Theorie

"procedures" in the German grammar

term explanation example

Deklination (declension) The "Deklination" is a procedure we use to change nouns, pronouns and the endinings of eine schöne Frau
adjectives according to their case, number and gender. einer schönen Frau

Konjugation (conjugation) The "Konjugation" is a procedure we use to change verbs according to their number, ich gehe
person, mood, tense and voice. du gehst
er/sie/es geht
...

Steigerung (comparison) The "Steigerung" is a procedure we use to "uplift adjectives on a higher/stronger level".

There are three "levels" of an adjective:

• Positiv (positive) nett


• Komparativ (comparative) netter
• Superlativ (superlative) am nettesten

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German Grammar
Die größten Unterschiede

Die größten Unterschiede zwischen deutscher und englischer Grammatik

preliminary note

Even though German and English are quite similar, at least compared to German<->Cebuano (=Cathy's
language), there are some significant differences. I want to concentrate on these differences which caused
most problems during the first time of Cathy's studies.

No Present Perfect tense in German Grammar

German grammar English grammar

Ich lebe seit 6 Jahren in Köln. I have been living in Cologne for 6 years.
Er wartet seit 12 Uhr auf dich. He has been waiting for you since 12am.
Wie lange lernst du schon Deutsch? How long have you learned German?

There is no tense in German to describe actions which started in the past and have continued on until now.
We just use the present tense (Präsens) instead.

No progressive/continuous form in German Grammar

German grammar English grammar

Ich lese gerade ein Buch. I am reading a book.


Ich arbeite gerade an einem neuen Projekt. I am working at a new project.
Als ich gestern ankam, wartete Cathy auf mich. When I arrived yesterday Cathy was waiting for me.

If you want to describe that somebody is doing something just in this moment you use in English the
continuous form.
You find the progressive form in 5 tenses in English:

 present continuous: I'm working.

 past continuous: I was working when he entered the room.

 present perfect continuous: I have been working very hard for the last 2 months.

 past perfect continuous: I had been working very hard before we met last year.

 future continuous: I will be working tomorrow afternoon.

Fortunately, there is NO continuous form in German. We put one simple word to express
that we doing something just in this moment: gerade.

Often we even leave out "gerade" (especially in past tenses). You can understand the sentence nevertheless.

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German Grammar
Die größten Unterschiede

no negation with "do" in German

German grammar English grammar

Ich gehe nicht zur Schule. I don't go to school.


Sie mochte die Reise nicht. She didn't like the journey.

The negation is one of the points where German is easier and less complicate than English.
To negate a main verb in German we just use nicht (not) instead of using an additional verb (do).

If i didn't knew anything about English grammar I would negate the following statement like this:

statement: I know you. (Ich kenne dich.)


negation: I know you not. (Ich kenne dich nicht.)

What do we need this "do" for?

no "do" for questions in German

German grammar English grammar

Kennst du mich? Do you know me?


Woher kommst du? Where do you come from?

Questions is one further point where German is easier and less complicate than English.
To put a question (with a main verb*) you have to use do in English but no addtional verb in German
what makes German much easier.

If i didn't knew anything about English grammar I would translate the following questions like this:

German: Willst du ein Eis?


English: You want ice-cream?

I think everybody would understand the sentence without this additional "do".
So, what do we need it for?

* has exceptions too (to be ...)

biological and grammatical gender is not the same in German

German grammar English grammar

Heute scheint die Sonne. The sun is shining today.


Ich liebe das Meer. I love the ocean.
Der Tag war sehr schön. The day was very nice.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 2


German Grammar
Die größten Unterschiede

In English the biological and grammatical gender are the same. "Dead things" like in the examples above are all
neutral.
In German, however, a "dead thing" can be male, female or neutral.

I noticed how confusing it is for English native speaker to use person pronouns like er (he) and sie (she) for
dead things
because in English you always have to use "it".

 Wo ist der Schlüssel? | Er liegt auf dem Tisch.


(Where is the key? It lies on the table.)

 Ich mag die Geschichte. | Sie ist sehr schön.


(I like the story. It's very nice.)

 Wir findest du den Pullover? | Ich mag ihn.


(How do you find the pullover? I like it.)

dass-sentence vs. dative-construct

German grammar English grammar

Ich will, dass er jetzt geht. I want him to leave now.


Ich möchte, dass sie meine Freunde kennenlernt. I'd like her to meet my friends.
Möchtest du, dass ich ein paar Bier besorge? Do you want me to organize some beer?

This is one of the strangest English grammar construction for me as a German.


It's one of the rare cases where the German version os more logic than the English one.

In German we use a subordinate clause induced by a "dass" to express what we want other people to do.
In English, however, we use the dative case for the subject of the subordinate although the subject has to be in
the nominative case.

A logic translation of the 1st example would be: "I want that he leaves now".

change of word order in subordinate sentences

German grammar English grammar

Sie liest ein Buch. She reads a book.


Weißt du, ob sie ein Buch liest? Do you know if she reads a book?

In English there is a strict rule for the word order in statements.


S-P-O (subject - predicate - object).

 subject ~ noun

 predicate ~ verb

 object = object

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German Grammar
Die größten Unterschiede

This order doesn't change in subordinate sentences.


In German, however, the verb goes at the very end in subordinate sentences.

I noticed that it's quite difficult to form correct subordinate sentences


because you have to keep in mind the verb until you said all other parts and that can be quite confusing.

(almost) no Wo-/Da-compounds in English

German grammar English grammar

Wir sprechen oft darüber. We speak about it.


Ich träume davon. I dream about it.

Wo-/Da-compounds doesn't excists in English*. That's why I find it quite difficult to find an appropriate
translation.
It's best just to translate it with "it".

Da-compounds are a kind of personal pronoun for dead things. They consits of "da" and the preposition
which belongs to the verb.

* exceptions are: therefore, thereby, therein, thereout, hereby, herein, here-on-out, whereby, wherein,
wherefore

no ly-endings for adverbs in German

German grammar English grammar

Er ist vorsichtig. He is careful.


Er fährt sehr vorsichtig. He drives very carefully.

short reminder
Adjectives (careful) describe a noun (he).
Adverbs (carefully) describe a verb (drive).

Whereas in English you have to add the additional ending "ly" for adverbs
there is no difference between adjectives and adverbs in German.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 4


German Grammar
Die größten Unterschiede

illogical negation of must in English

German grammar English grammar

Du musst jetzt gehen. You must go now.


Du musst nicht gehen. You need not go.

German grammar English grammar

Du darfst jetzt gehen. You may go now.


Du darfst nicht gehen. You must not go.

The verb must (=müssen) belongs to the modal verbs.


Müssen is used to describe that somebody must do someting (=a duty/command).

Must not, however, describes that something is forbidden. You are not allowed to do this.
The translaion of "must not" is thus "nicht dürfen" and NOT "nicht müssen".

German is more logical than English in this case.

to be continued ...

If you have suggestions for further big differences feel to send me an e-mail:
thomas_hoefler@gmx.de

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 5


Partizipien als Adjektive
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn the correct use of Partizip I and Partizip II.

German English

Er ist ein gestresster Mann. He is a stressed man.


Wir sehen einen spannenden Film. We are watching an exciting movie.
Ich helfe dem weinenden Mädchen. I help the crying girl.

rules

Partizip I

What is Partizip I (present participle) ?

Partizip I are modified verbs which turn into adjectives.


Once they got modified they "work" like normal adjectives and take adjectives endings as well.
Partizip I has a similar meaning to the ing-form of English verbs - the present participle.

German English

verb Partizip I verb present participle

laufen laufend to run running

kommen kommend to come coming

weinen weinend to cry crying

schlafen schlafend to sleep sleeping

spielen spielend to play playing

Since they "work" like normal adjectives they go in front of the noun.

examples:

• Sie stoppten den laufenden Mann. (They stopped the running man.)
• Ich komme am kommenden Wochende zu dir. (I'll come to you coming weekend.)
• Sie wecken die schlafenden Kinder auf. (They wake up the sleeping children.)

How do you form Partizip I?

You form the Partizip I in every tense with:


Infinitive of the verb + d + (adjective ending)

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Partizipien als Adjektive
Theorie

example:

• Ich ging zu der wartenden Frau. (I went to the waiting woman.)

- warten = Infinitiv form of the verb warten


- d = "ending" to form the Partizip I
- en = adjective ending

exceptions:

There are two exceptions:

• sein -> seiend


• tun -> tuend

When do you use Partizip I?

Partizip I is used:

• when you use describe a process / something what hasn't finished


• when the action, you describe, has an active character (somebody is doing something)

... whereby it doesn't matter if the action takes place in the past, presense or future.

example 1:

• Wir brauchen fließendes Wasser. (We need running water.)

You could transform the Partizip I into a relativ sentence with active character:
Wir brauchen Wasser, das fließt. The water is doing something. It runs.

example 2:

• Ich beobachte sie mit wachsendem Interesse. (I observe them with growing interest.)

You could transform the Partizip I into a relativ sentence with active character:
Ich beobachte sie mit einem Interesse, das wächst. The interest is doing something. It grows.

example 3:

• Sie sucht ein passendes Kleid. (She is looking for a fitting dress.)

You could transform the Partizip I into a relativ sentence with active character:
Sie sucht nach einem Kleid, das passt. The dress is doing something. It fits.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 2


Partizipien als Adjektive
Theorie

Time neutrality of Partizip I

As the word already implied is the Partizip I time neutral and is formed in every tense in the same way.
The action, which the Partizip I descibes, takes place at the same time as the "main-action"
(=real verb of the sentence).

examples:

• Ich sehe ein singendes Mädchen. (I see a singing girl.) - Präsens


• Ich sah ein singendes Mädchen. (I saw a singing girl.) - Präteritum
• Ich habe ein singendes Mädchen gesehen. (I have seen a singing girl.) - Perfekt
• Ich hatte ein singendes Mädchen gesehen. (I had seen a singing girl.) - Plusquamperfekt
• Ich werde ein singendes Mädchen sehen. (I‘ll see a singing girl.) – Futur I

Partizip II

What is Partizip II (past participle) used for?

We learned already one purpose of Partizip II when we spoke about the tense Perfekt.
Partizip II has a second purpose, though. It can used as an adjective similar to Partizip I.

If Partizip II is used as an adjective it takes adjectives endings like normal adjectives.


Partizip II has a similar meaning to the ed-form of (regular) English verbs - the past participle.

German English

verb Partizip II verb past participle

kochen gekocht to cook cooked

zerstören zerstört to destroy destroyed

machen gemacht to make made

schreiben geschrieben to write written

stressen gestresst to stress stressed

examples:

• Sie essen die gekochten Eier. (They eat the cooked eggs.)
• Wir untersuchen die zerstörten Häuser. (We inspect the destroyed houses.)
• Ich mag selbst gemachten Kuchen. (I like self-made cake.)

How do you form Partizip II?

We spoke already detailed about Partizip II in the topic Perfekt.


There are different ways how to form Partizip II depending whether it's a weak, strong or mixed verb.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 3


Partizipien als Adjektive
Theorie

I'll give you a short summary here. For a detailed summary check summary - Präterium and Partizip II.

weak verbs strong verbs mixed verbs

"ge" + stem + "ge" + stem (with irregular change) + "ge" + stem (with irregular change) +
"t" "en" "t"

When do you use Partizip II?

Partizip II is used:

• when you use describe a result / something what has finished


• when the action, you describe, has an passive character (something is done by somebody)

To understand the meaning of passive constructions check: Passiv.

example 1:

• Ich koche heute gebratenes Hühnchen. (I cook fried chicken today.)

The Partizip II has passive character. The chicken itself is doing nothing. It's being done. It's being fried.
You can transform the Partizip II into a relative sentence with passive character:

Das Hühnchen, das von mir gebraten wird. (The chicken what is being fried by me.)

example 2:

• Wir befreien den gefangenen Hasen. (We free the caught rabbit.)

The Partizip II shows the result of an action in the past. Someboby put a trap and the rabbit got cought.
You can transform the Partizip II into a relative sentence with passive character:

Der Hase, der gefangen wurde. (The rabbit that was cought.)

example 3:

• Sie ist ein verwöhntes Kind. (She is a spoiled child.)

The Partizip II has passive character. The child didn't do anything. It was being done. It got spoiled.
You can transform the Partizip II into a relative sentence with passive character:

Das Kind, das verwöhnt wurde. (The child who was spoiled.)

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 4


Partizipien als Adjektive
Theorie

A final overview should help you to understand the difference of Partizip I and Partizip II.

Partizip I Partizip II
process / active character result / passive character

German English German English

das kochende Wasser the cooking water das gekochte Wasser the cooked water

der strebende Soldat the dying soldier der gestorbene Soldat the soldier who died

der fallende Stein the falling stone der gefallene Stein the fallen stone

das sinkende Schiff the sinking ship das gesunkene Schiff the ship which sunk

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 5


Steigerung der Adjektive
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this topic is to express that something is better / faster / more beautiful .... than something else and
to express that something is the best / fastest / most beautiful ...

German English

Tom ist schneller als Nelson. Tom is faster than Nelson.


Cathy ist hübscher als ihre Freundin. Cathy is more beautiful than her friend.
Dieses Hotel ist am teuersten. This hotel is most expensive.

rules

comparison of regular adjectives

positive comparative superlative

adjective adjective + er (am) + adjective + st

examples:

German English

positive comparative superlative positive comparative superlative

schnell schneller am schnellsten fast faster fastest

neu neuer am neuesten new newer newest

langsam langsamer am langsamsten slow slower slowest

1.) Adjectives which end with "t", "d", "s", "ss", "ß", "x" or "z" require an additional "e"
before the "st" in the superlative degree.

German English

positive comparative superlative positive comparative superlative

leicht leichter am leichtesten easy easier esiest

verrückt verrückter am verrücktesten crazy crazier craziest

nett netter am nettesten nice nicer nicest

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2017 1


Steigerung der Adjektive
Theorie

2.) There is no "more or "most" for multi-syllable abjectives like in English.

German English

positive comparative superlative positive comparative superlative

bunt bunter am buntesten colourful more colourful most colourful

bequem bequemer am bequemsten comfortable more comfortable most comfortable

langweilig langweiliger am langweiligsten boring more boring most boring

comparison of irregular adjectives

There are a few adjectives which don't follow any rule. They have to be learnt by heart.

German English

positive comparative superlative positive comparative superlative

bald eher am ehesten soon sooner soonest

gern lieber am liebsten gladly more gladly most gladly

groß größer am größten big bigger biggest

gut besser am besten good better best

hoch höher am höchsten high higher highest

nah näher am nächsten near nearer nearest

viel mehr am meisten much more most

Besides the irregular adjectives there are adjectives which change not the whole word but a vowel.
Almost all one-syllable adjectives which contain an "a", "o" ur "u" change the "umlaut".

German English

positive comparative superlative positive comparative superlative

alt älter am ältesten old older oldest

arm ärmer am ärmsten poor poorer poorest

dumm dümmer am dümmsten stupid dumber dumbest

hart härter am härtesten hard harder hardest

jung jünger am jüngsten young younger youngest

kalt kälter am kältesten cold colder coldest

klug klüger am klügsten celver more clever most clever

kurz kürzer am kürzesten short shorter shortest

lang länger am längsten longer longer longest

oft öfter am öftesten often more often most often

stark stärker am stärksten strong stronger strongest

warm wärmer am wärmsten warm warmer warmest

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2017 2


Steigerung der Adjektive
Theorie

adjective endings
For the adjectives in the comparative degree and the superlative degree you have to use the
same rules which you learnt already for the simple adjectives. Just add the ending after the "er" or "st".

A hint
Such an ending you find already in all superlative examples above: am meisten, am schnellsten ...
That means if you want to use the superlative in a sentence where you don't use "am"
then cancel "en" and add the correct ending for this case.

examples:

 Sie ist die klügste Studentin. (She is the most clever student.)
 Sie ist am klügsten. (She is most clever.)

How do you compare?

Finally, I want you to give the little words you need to compare two things.

German English

equality ... so ... wie.. ... as... as...

inequality ... als... ... than...

examples for inequality:

 Sie ist stärker als er. (She is stronger than him.)


 Sie ist älter als er. (She is older than him.)

examples for equality:

 Sie ist so stark wie er. (She is as strong as him.)


 Sie ist so alt wie er. (She is as old as him.)

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2017 3


Adjektivendungen
Theorie

learning target

You have probably noticed that I added certain endings to the adjectives in the messages I sent you.
Today I want to make clear when you have to use which ending.

German English

Sie hat eine nette Schwester. She's got a nice sister.


Deutsches Brot schmeckt sehr gut. German bread tastes very good.
Ich sehe den neuen Professor. I see the new professor.

rules

How do you find out which ending you have to use?

All you have to do is to answer these 4 questions and to look for the right ending in the table.

• What kind of article has the noun? (definite | indefinite | none)


• Which gender does the noun have? (male | female | neutral)
• What's the numerus of the noun? (singual | plural)
• In which case is the noun? (nominative | genitive | dative | accusative)

example 1:

Die große Frau trägt einen Hut. (The tall woman is wearing a hut.)

Let’s analyse the sentence. The noun we analyse is "Frau". The adjective which describes the woman is "groß".

• What kind of article has got the noun "Frau"? => Die => The noun has a definite article.
• What gender does the noun "Frau" have? => The gender of "Frau" is female.
• Which numerus has the noun "Frau"? => It is just one woman. So, it's singular.
• In which case is the noun "Frau"? => The woman is the subject of the sentence.
She is doing something. So, “Frau” is in the nominative case.

Now let's have a look at the table for definite articles. Look for singular, female, nominative.
The ending is "e". So, it must be "die große Frau".

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Adjektivendungen
Theorie

example 2:

Ein netter Mann sitzt im Café. (A nice man is sitting in the cafe.)

• article: ein (indefinite article)


• gender: male
• numerus: singular
• case: nominative case

If you look for indefinite article, singular, male, nominative you’ll find the ending "er".
So it must be "ein netter Mann".

example 3:

Ich schreibe einen langen Brief. (I write a long letter.)

The noun we have to consider here is "Brief" (word orer wrong) The adjective which describes the letter is
"lang".

• article: einen (indefinite article)


• gender: Brief is male
• numerus: singular
• case: "Ich" is the subject of the sentence. "Ich" is in the nominative case.
"Brief" is the direct object of the sentence. "Brief" is in the accusative case.

If you look for indefinite article, singular, male, accusative you’ll find the ending "en".
So it must be "einen langen Brief".

A way to cheat

If you are unsure which gender or case is required you can often recognize it with the help of the the article
which precedes the adjective.

examples:

• Er kauft das neue Handy. => The article "das" shows that Handy is neutral.
• Ich mag den roten Hut nicht. => The article "den" shows that the Hut is male and in the accusative
case.
The same trick works with "einen, keinen, meinen... (all articels, pronouns, der-words which end
with "en").
• Sie spielt mit dem kleinen Kind. => The article "dem" shows that the Kind is in the dative case.
The same trick works with "einem, keinem, meinem... (all articels, pronouns, der-words which end
with "em").

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 2


Adjektivendungen
Theorie

Other words which have the same function as arcticles

Besides the "normal" articles there are some words which have the same function as "normal" articles
They require you to put the correct ending at the end of the adjective as well.

All words which "work" like a definite article

German English

der, die, das, den, dem the

dieser, diese, dieses, diesen, diesem this / these

jener, jene, jenes, jenen, jenem that / those

jeder, jede, jedes, jeden, jedem every / each

solcher, solche, solches, solchen, solchem such

welcher, welche, welches, welchen, welchem which

mancher, manche, manches, manchen, manchem some

alle, beide all / both

All words which "work" like an indefinite article

German English

ein, eine, einen, einem, einer a / an

kein, keine, keinen, keinem, keiner no / none

mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr my / your / his / her / our / your / Your

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 3


Adjektivendungen
Theorie

tables

declension of adjectives without article

case singular plural

male female neuter -

nominative guter Mann gute Frau gutes Kind gute Familien

genitive guten Mannes guter Frau guten Kindes guter Familien

dative gutem Mann guter Frau gutem Kind guten Familien

accusative guten Mann gute Frau gutes Kind gute Familien

declension of adjectives with definite article (der, die, das)

case singular plural

male female neuter -

nominative der gute Mann die gute Frau das gute Kind die guten Familien

genitive des guten Mannes der guten Frau des guten Kindes der guten Familien

dative dem guten Mann der guten Frau dem guten Kind den guten Familien

accusative den guten Mann die gute Frau das gute Kind die guten Familien

declension of adjectives with indefinite article (ein)

case Singular Plural

male female neuter -

nominative ein guter Mann eine gute Frau ein gutes Kind keine guten Kinder *

genitive eines guten Mannes einer guten Frau eines guten Kindes keiner guten Kinder *

dative einem guten Mann einer guten Frau einem guten Kind keinen guten Kindern *

accusative einen guten Mann eine gute Frau ein gutes Kind keine guten Kinder *

* kein und ein behave the same. A plural form of "ein" doesn't exist. That's why I replaced it here by "kein".

As you already noticed not only the article changes. Some nouns get an additional ending as well.
For more details check the topic „Deklination der Substantive“.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 4


Indirekte Rede
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn how to say / to report what somebody else said before.

German English

Er sagte, er habe keine Zeit. He said he had no time.


Sie meinte, sie sei nach Berlin gefahren. She said she had gone to Berlin.
Du hast allen erzählt, ich hätte im Lotto gewonnen. You told everybody I had won in the lottery.

rules

What's the difference between direkte Rede (direct speech) and indirekte Rede (reported speech)?

Direkte Rede is the word by word repetition. The quoted words have to be in quotation marks.

Indirekte Rede is an indirect way of repeating what somebody said.


Usually we don't use the indicative mood for this but the subjuctive mood, more precisely Konjunktiv I.

Using Konjunktiv I allows us to dissociate from the statement. This is for important for example for journalists
who can't and don't want to guarantee for the truth of the statement or don't want to make any judgement.

example:

Direkte Rede Indirekte Rede

Let's analyse the example a bit more in detail.

Joy is using the indicative mood in her statment: Ich habe ...
In the direct speech Kristine reports what Joy said by using the indicative mood as well: Joy sagte, "ich habe
..."
In the indirect speech Kristine reports what Joy said by using the subjuctive mood - Konjunktiv I: Joy sagte, sie
habe ... (not: sie hat).

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2016 1


Indirekte Rede
Theorie

The two possibilities of repeating a statement

There are always two ways to repeat a statement.


Either the second sentence is a main sentence as show above or a subordinate sentence which starts with
"dass".

reported speech reported speech


statement
with a "dass"-sentence with a main sentence

Joy: Ich habe einen neuen Job. Joy sagte, dass sie einen neuen Job habe. Joy sagte, sie habe einen neuen Job.

Tina: Ich bin eine Studentin. Tina sagte, dass sie eine Studentin sei. Tina sagte, sie sei eine Studentin.

Andre: Ich gehe ins Bett. Andre sagte, dass er ins Bett gehe. Andre sagte, er gehe ins Bett.

As you see the word order follows the rules we spoke already about in the topic Satzstellung.
In main sentences the main verb is at the second position and in subordinate sentences at the end.

How do you form the Konjunktiv I?

Präsens

To form the Konjunktiv I in the present tense:

 take the stem of the verb and add the endings according to the following scheme:

person ending example


(haben = to have)

ich stem + e habe

du stem + est habest

er / sie / es stem + e habe

wir "infinitive" haben

ihr stem + et habet

sie "infinitive" haben

As you can see in the table below there is no difference between the indicative
and the subjuctive mood - Konjunktiv I of the ich-, sie- (plural) and wir-form.

The du- and the ihr-form is different from the indicative mood
but this forms are (almost) never used in spoken German and therefor you can forget them.

The question is: What do you use if there is no difference between indicative and subjunctive mood or the
correct form sounds odd?
The simple answer is, use the Konjunktiv II instead.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2016 2


Indirekte Rede
Theorie

person indicative Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II

ich habe habe -> no difference --> use --> hätte

du hast habest -> sounds odd --> use --> hättest

er/sie/es hat habe -> OK hätte

wir haben haben -> no difference --> use --> hätten

ihr habt habet -> sounds odd --> use --> hättet

sie haben haben -> no difference --> use --> hätten

examples

 Cathy sagte, ich habe hätte keine Zeit für sie.


(Cathy said I had no time for her.)

 Cathy sagte, du habest hättest keine Zeit für sie.


(Cathy said you had no time for her.)

 Cathy sagte, er habe keine Zeit für sie.


(Cathy said he had no time for her.)

 Cathy sagte, wir haben hätten keine Zeit für sie.


(Cathy said we had no time for her.)

 Cathy sagte, ihr habet hättet keine Zeit für sie.


(Cathy said you had no time for her.)

 Cathy sagte, sie (pl.) haben hätten keine Zeit für sie.
(Cathy said they had no time for her.)

These rules have a nice side-effect. The only thing you have to keep in mind
is the er/sie/es-form of Konjunktiv I and you can forget the rest.

exception

The only verb we use the Konjunktiv I for all persons is "sein".

person indicative Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II

ich bin sei -> OK wäre

du bist seist -> OK wärest

er/sie/es ist sei -> OK wäre

wir sind seien -> OK wären

ihr seid seiet -> OK wäret

sie sind seien -> OK wären

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2016 3


Indirekte Rede
Theorie

Perfekt

To form the Konjunktiv I in the perfekt tense:

 use the Konjunktiv I of the helping verb (haben or sein)


 use the Partizip II-form of the main verb as usual

example

 main verb: lernen


 helping verb: haben

person indicative Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II

ich habe gelernt habe gelernt -> no difference --> use --> hätte gelernt

du hast gelernt habest gelernt -> sounds odd --> use --> hättest gelernt

er/sie/es hat gelernt habe gelernt -> OK hätte gelernt

wir haben gelernt haben gelernt -> no difference --> use --> hätten gelernt

ihr habt gelernt habet gelernt -> sounds odd --> use --> hättet gelernt

sie haben gelernt haben gelernt -> no difference --> use --> hätten gelernt

 Cathy sagte, ich habe hätte viel gelernt.


(Cathy said I had learned much.)

 Cathy sagte, du habest hättest viel gelernt.


(Cathy said you had learned much.)

 Cathy sagte, er habe viel gelernt.


(Cathy said he had learned much.)

 Cathy sagte, wir haben hätten viel gelernt.


(Cathy said we had learned much.)

 Cathy sagte, ihr habet hättet viel gelernt.


(Cathy said you had learned much.)

 Cathy sagte, sie (pl.) haben hätten viel gelernt.


(Cathy said they had learned much.)

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Indirekte Rede
Theorie

Präteritum and Plusquamperfekt

There is no subjuctive mood form for the tenses Präteritum and Plusquamperfekt.
If you want to report a Präteritum or Plusquamperfekt sentence you have to do it in the same way you did it for
the Perfekt tense.

example 1

 Perfekt: "Cathy hat viel gelernt." (indicative) --> Tom sagte, Cathy habe viel gelernt. (Konjunktiv
I)
 Präteritum: "Cathy lernte viel." (indicative) --> Tom sagte, Cathy habe viel gelernt. (Konjunktiv I)
 Plusquamperfekt: "Cathy hatte viel gelernt." (indicative) --> Tom sagte, Cathy habe viel gelernt.
(Konjunktiv I)

example 2

 Perfekt: "Cathy ist schnell gelaufen." (indicative) --> Tom sagte, Cathy sei schnell gelaufen.
(Konjunktiv I)
 Präteritum: "Cathy lief schnell." (indicative) --> Tom sagte, Cathy sei schnell gelaufen. (Konjunktiv
I)
 Plusquamperfekt: "Cathy war schnell gelaufen." (indicative) --> Tom sagte, Cathy sei schnell
gelaufen. (Konjunktiv I)

Zukunft (Futur I)

To form the Konjunktiv I in the future tense:

 use the Konjunktiv I of werden


 use the infinitive of the main verb as usual

example

 main verb: schreiben


 helping verb: werden

person indicative Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II

ich werde schreiben werde schreiben -> no difference --> use --> würde schreiben *

du wirst schreiben werdest schreiben -> sounds odd --> use --> würdest schreiben *

er/sie/es wird schreiben werde schreiben -> OK würde schreiben *

wir werden schreiben werden schreiben -> no difference --> use --> würden schreiben *

ihr werdet schreiben werdet schreiben -> sounds odd --> use --> würdet schreiben *

sie werden schreiben werden schreiben -> no difference --> use --> würden schreiben *

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Indirekte Rede
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* This is not the "real" Konjunktiv II of schreiben. For ich it would be "ich schriebe".
As I explained already in the topic Konjunktiv we hardly use the "real" Konjunktiv II".
For almost all verbs we use the "würden-Konjunktiv II" instead.

 Cathy sagte, ich werde würde eines Tages ein Buch schreiben.
(Cathy said I would write a book one day.)

 Cathy sagte, du werdest würdest eines Tages ein Buch schreiben.


(Cathy said you would write a book one day.)

 Cathy sagte, er werde eines Tages ein Buch schreiben.


(Cathy said he would write a book one day.)

 Cathy sagte, wir werden würden eines Tages ein Buch schreiben.
(Cathy said we would write a book one day.)

 Cathy sagte, ihr werdet würdet eines Tages ein Buch schreiben.
(Cathy said you would write a book one day.)

 Cathy sagte, sie (pl.) werden würden eines Tages ein Buch schreiben.
(Cathy said they would write a book one day.)

Modalverben

To repeat a sentence containing a modal verb:

 use the Konjunktiv I of the modal verb


 use the infinitive of the main verb as usual

example

 main verb: gehen


 modal verb: müssen

person indicative Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II

ich muss gehen müsse gehen -> OK müsste gehen

du musst gehen müssest gehen -> sounds odd --> use --> müsstest gehen

er/sie/es muss gehen müsse gehen -> OK müsste gehen

wir müssen gehen müssen gehen -> no difference --> use --> müssten gehen

ihr müsst gehen müsset gehen -> sounds odd --> use --> müsstet gehen

sie müssen gehen müssen gehen -> no difference --> use --> müssten gehen

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Indirekte Rede
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All modal verbs


As you can see we only need the ich- and er/sie/es-form and they are the same.

modal verb Konjunktiv I (ich - form) Konjunktiv I (er/sie/es - form)

müssen müsse müsse

wollen wolle wolle

sollen solle solle

können könne könne

dürfen dürfe dürfe

mögen möge möge

Questions

Direkte Rede Indirekte Rede

There are two types of questions we can repeat:

 decision-questions --> requires yes or no as answer


 W-questions (with questions words like Wer, Was, Warum ...) --> requires a "real" answer

examples for decision-questions

 indicative sentence: "Ist Ihre Frau krank?" --> indirect speech: Er frage mich, ob meine Frau krank
sei.
 indicative sentence: "Haben Sie den Film gesehen?" --> indirect speech: Er frage mich, ob ich den
Film gesehen hätte.
 indicative sentence: "Können Sie morgen kommen?" --> indirect speech: Er frage mich, ob ich
morgen kommen könne.

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Repeating a decision-question:

 we use "ob" to introduce the 2nd sentence (Nebensatz)


 we transform the helping, modal and main verbs as shown in statements

examples for W-questions

 indicative sentence: "Wann haben Sie Zeit?" --> indirect speech: Er frage mich, wann ich Zeit hätte.
 indicative sentence: "Warum sind Sie hier?" --> indirect speech: Er frage mich, warum ich dort sei.
 indicative sentence: "Wer kann diesen LKW fahren?" --> indirect speech: Er frage mich, wer diesen
LKW fahren könne.

Repeating a W-question:

 we use the question word (W-word) to introduce the 2nd sentence (Nebensatz)
 we transform the helping, modal and main verbs as shown in statements

hint
Consider that you don't put a question mark in the reported speech of questions!

Imperative

There is no direct way of transforming an indicative imperative sentence into an subjuctive imperative
sentence.
If we want to report a command / request, somebody else made, we use two "substitute verbs": sollen or
mögen.

Sollen is used to repeat strict commands or requests.


Mögen is used ro repeat a polite asking or request.

example 1

Direkte Rede Indirekte Rede

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Indirekte Rede
Theorie

To repeat an imperative sentence

 use the Konjunktiv I of the sollen or mögen


 use the infinitive of the main verb as usual

example 2
indicative sentence (strict command): Geh raus! (Go out!)

person indicative Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II

ich soll gehen solle gehen -> OK sollte gehen

du sollst gehen sollest gehen -> sounds odd --> use --> solltest gehen

er/sie/es soll gehen solle gehen -> OK sollte gehen

wir sollen gehen sollen gehen -> no difference --> use --> sollten gehen

ihr sollt gehen sollet gehen -> sounds odd --> use --> solltet gehen

sie sollen gehen sollen gehen -> no difference --> use --> sollten gehen

example 3
indicative sentence (polite request): Hol bitte ein Cola. (Please fetch a cola.)

person indicative Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II

ich mag holen möge holen --> sounds odd --> use --> möchte holen

du magst holen mögest holen -> sounds odd --> use --> möchtest holen

er/sie/es mag holen möge holen -> OK möchte holen

wir mögen holen mögen holen -> no difference --> use --> möchten holen

ihr mögt holen möget holen -> sounds odd --> use --> möchtet holen

sie mögen holen mögen holen -> no difference --> use --> möchten holen

Introducing verbs

To report what somebody else said we need an introducing sentence like: He said, ...
Here are further verbs you can use.

 sagen (to say) --> sagte, sagte, gesagt


 meinen (to say / to mean) --> meinen, meinte, gemeint
 antworten (to answer) --> antworten, antwortete, geantwortet
 erzählen (to tell) --> erzählen, erzählte, erzählt
 erklären (to explain) --> erklären, erklärte, erklärt
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Indirekte Rede
Theorie

 behaupten (to claim) --> behaupten, behauptete, behauptet


 versprechen (to promise) --> versprechen, versprach, versprochen
 verraten (to tell a secret) --> verraten, verriet, verraten
 ankündigen (to announce) --> ankündigen, kündigte an, angekündigt
 erwidern (to answer / to reply) --> erwidern, erwiderte, erwidert
 erwähnen (to mention) --> erwähnen, erwähnete, erwähnt
 hinweisen (to point) --> hinweisen, wies hin, hingewiesen
 mitteilen (to inform) --> mitteilen, teilte mit, mitgeteilt
 befehlen (to command) --> befehlen, befahl, befohlen
 anordnen (to command) --> anordnen, ordnete an, angeordnet
 rufen (to call / to shout) --> rufen, rief, gerufen
 schreien (to shout) --> schreien, schrie, geschrieen
 betonen (to emphasise) --> betonen, betonte, betont
 bemerken (to comment) --> bemerken, bemerkte, bemerkt
 versichern (to assure) --> versichern, versicherte, versichert
 beklagen (to complain) --> beklagen, beklagte, beklagt
 vorwerfen (to accuse / to blame) --> vorwerfen, warf vor, vorgeworfen
 bitten (to ask for a favour) --> bitten, bat, gebeten

A last hint

At the end of the topic I want to go back to our first example. If you didn't get confused yet you will be now.

What we learned so far about Indirekte Rede was all grammatically correct.
There are, however, other ways of repeating statements which allows to express our doubt on different levels.
These ways are maybe grammatically not 100% correct but used in German too.

example
Joy: Ich habe einen neuen Job.

used mood reported speech level of doubt

You have no doubt about this statement.


Indikativ Joy sagte, sie hat einen neuen Job. Using the Indikativ shows you are quite sure
that the statement is true.

You don't know if it's true.


You don't want to make any judgement.
Konjunk. I Joy sagte, sie habe einen neuen Job.
Using the Konjunktiv I is a neutral way of repeating
a statement.

You are unsure if it's true.


Konjunk. II Joy sagte, sie hätte einen neuen Job. Using the Konjunktiv II shows
that you doubt about the statement.

You are quite sure it's not true.


Konjunk. II Joy sagte, sie hätte angeblich einen
Using the Konjunktiv II in combination
+angeblich* neuen Job.
with "angeblich" shows clearly your doubt.

* angeblich = allegedly / supposedly


© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2016 10
Passiv - Alternativformen
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to find out which passive voice substitutes exist.

German English

Man verkauft das Haus. The house is being sold.


Das Haus verkauft sich leicht. The house can be sold easily.
Das Haus lässt sich leicht verkaufen. The house can be sold easily.
Das Haus ist leicht zu verkaufen. The house can be sold easily.

rules

What do you need passive voice substitutes for?

The "real" passive voice sounds formal and is found, therefor, mostly in written German.
In German as well as in English, we prefer the active voice.

In German exist a number of verb constructions (=passive voice substitutes)


which are active voice but allow to omit the agent as you do it in "real" passive voice sentences.

The man construction

The man construction is very often used in German.


You can translate "man" with one/you/they (in general) or a passive voice sentence.
"Man" (third person singular) acts as the subject of the sentence.

example:

• Man darf hier rauchen. (You are allowed to smoke here.)


• Man darf hier rauchen. (One is allowed to smoke here.)
• Man darf hier rauchen. (Smoking is allowed here.)

further examples:

• Man sagt, er habe magische Kräfte. (It is said he had magic power.)
• Was isst man in deinem Land zum Frühstück? (What do you have for breakfast in your country?)
• Wo findet man Staubsauger? (Where can one (I) find vacuum cleaner?)

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Passiv - Alternativformen
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The reflexive verb construction

A lot of verbs which are usually not reflexive are used reflexively as a passive voice substitute.

examples:

• Die Tür öffnet sich langsam. (The door is being opened slowly.)
• Die CD verkauft sich gut. (The CD can be sold easily.)
• Es wird sich eine Lösung finden. (A solution will be found.)

The "sich lassen + Infinitiv" construction

The best translation for the "sich lassen + Invinitiv construction" is: can be (done, made, ... etc.).

examples:

• Die Tür lässt sich leicht öffnen. (The door can be opened easily.)
• Die Fleck lässt sich nicht verstecken. (The spot can't be hidden.)
• Das Auto lässt sich reparieren. (The car can be repaired.)

The "sein + zu + Infinitiv" construction

The "sein + zu + Invinitiv construction" can mean: can be (done, made, ... etc.) or must be (done, made, ...
etc.)

examples:

• Die Rechnung ist noch zu bezahlen. (The bill still has to be payed.)
• Das Thema ist leicht zu verstehen. (The topic can be understood easily.)
• Der Antrag ist bis Ende Januar einzureichen. (The application has to be passed by end of January.)

Hint
There are a few more constructions which work as a passive voice substitute
but I don't want to make it too complicate and stop here.

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active / passive overview

tense active passive

Ich schreibe ein Buch. Ein Buch wird (von mir) geschrieben.

Präsens
form of werden +
Infinitiv
Partizip II

Ich schrieb ein Buch. Ein Buch wurde (von mir) geschrieben.

Präteritum
form of wurden +
Präteritum of the verb
Partizip II

Ich habe ein Buch geschrieben. Ein Buch ist (von mir) geschrieben worden.

Perfekt
form of haben or sein form of sein +
+ Partizip II Partizip II + worden

Ich hatte ein Buch geschrieben. Ein Buch war (von mir) geschrieben worden.

Plusquamperfekt
form of hatte or war form of war +
+ Partizip II Partizip II + worden

Ich werde ein Buch schreiben. Ein Buch wird (von mir) geschrieben werden.

Futur I
form of werden form of werden +
+ Infinitiv Partizip II + werden

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Passiv
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn how to form the passive voice.

German English

Das Haus wird gebaut. The house is being built.


Das Auto wurde komplett zerstört. The car was completely destroyed.
Das Handy ist verkauft worden. The mobile phone has been sold.

rules

What's the purpose of the passive voice?

You will find the passive voice mostly in written or formal spoken German e.g. news, reports on scientific
experiments, newspaper, literature.
The passive voice is used to emphasise the action / process and not the agent (person or thing who is acting).
It's not important who does something but what is done.

example:

active voice passive voice

• Herr Schmidt baut ein Haus. • Ein Haus wird gebaut.


(Mr Schmidt is building a house.) (A house is being built.)

In the active voice the emphasis is placed on the agent (Herr Schmidt). It's important that he is the one who is
building a house.
In the passive voice it doesn't matter who is building a house. The emphasis is placed on the action "ein Haus
bauen".

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Passiv
Theorie

How do you form the passive voice?

Präsens (present tense)

In the Präsens tense you form the passive voice with:


form of "werden" + Partizip II

examples:

• Ich werde geküsst. (I'm being kissed.)


• Du wirst verbannt. (You are being banned.)
• Es wird verbrannt. (It is being burned.)
• Wir werden verfolgt. (We are being followed.)
• Ihr werdet entdeckt. (You are being discovered.)
• Sie werden hergestellt. (They are being produced.)

Let's discuss the first example a bit more in detail.

active voice passive voice

• Ich werde geküsst. (I'm being


• Cathy küsst mich. (Cathy kisses me.)
kissed.)

"Cathy" is the subject in the active voice sentence. I'm the direct object and "kiss" is the verb.
In the passive voice the direct object turns into the subject and has, therefor, to be in the nominative case.
The verb is replaced by "werden" + Partizip II. The subject of the active voice sentence disapears usually
completly.

How to state the agent?

Like in English there is a possibiliy to state the agent (=subject of the active voice sentence).
In English you use the preposition "by".

In German there are two prepositions to state the agent:

• von (if the agent is a person)


• durch (if the agent is an inanimate thing)

...whereby you will mostly need the von-agent.

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Passiv
Theorie

examples:

passive voice without agent passive voice with agent

• Ich werde geküsst. • Ich werde von Cathy geküsst.


(I'm being kissed.) (I'm being kissed by Cathy.)
• Das Haus wird zerstört. • Das Haus wird durch den Sturm zerstört.
(The house is being destroyed.) (The house is being destroyed by the storm.)

Passive voice in other tenses

Be aware that the passive voice is not a tense!


The passive voice is a verb structure which allows you to emphasise the action/process
and this in every tense.

Präteritum (simple past)

In the Präteritum tense you form the passive voice with:


form of "wurden" + Partizip II

examples:

• Ich wurde verhaftet. (I was arrested.)


• Die Stadt wurde zerstört. (The city was destroyed.)
• Wir wurden gezwungen. (We were forced.)

Perfekt (present perfect)

In the Perfekt tense you form the passive voice with:


form of "sein" + Partizip II + worden

examples:

• Ich bin entlassen worden. (I have been released.)


• Die Schule ist geschlossen worden. (The school has been closed.)
• Die Probleme sind gelöst worden. (The problems have been solved.)

Plusquamperfekt (past perfect)

In the Perfekt tense you form the passive voice with:


form of "war" + Partizip II + worden

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Passiv
Theorie

examples:

• Nachdem ich kontrolliert worden war, durfte ich in das Flugzeug.


(After I had been checked I was allowed to enter the airplane.)
• Als wir die Grenze erreichten, war diese bereits geschlossen worden.
(When we arrived the border it had already been closed.)
• Bevor der Forscher die Lösung fand, war das Problem bereits gelöst worden.
(Before the researcher found the solution the problem already had been solved.)

Hint
What you learned so far about the passive voice should be enough on your current level. However, I'd like add
some more (complicate) theory for further studies.

Active sentences without a direct object

You learned that the direct object becomes the grammatical subject in a passive voice sentence.
What if there is no direct object included as you find in many dative sentences?
Remember the indirect object is the dative case.

example 1:

active voice
Sie antwortet mir. (She answers me.)

• "Sie" is the subject of the sentence


• "antworten" is the verb of the sentence - a dative verb
• "mir" is the indirect object

Since there is no direct object we use the dummy subject Es.

passive voice
Es wird mir geantwortet. (I'm being answered.)

• "Es" is the dummy subject of the sentence


• "wird" is the conjugated form of "werden"
• "mir" is the indirect object
• "geanwortet" is Partizip II of "antworten"

Now it becomes a bit crazy. It's logical to use a dummy subject if there is no subject
but it's even possible to leave out this dummy subject "Es" and keep the rest of the sentence.

Mir wird geantwortet. (I'm being answered.)

All we change is the word order of the remaining words


since the verb (here: helping verb "werden") has to be in the second position.

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Passiv
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Be aware that "mir" is not the subject of the sentence.


"Mir" is obviously dative case and the subject is always in the nominative case.
The sentence doesn't contain a subject but we keep the conjugated form of "werden" as if
the dummy subject "Es" were there.

example 2:

active voice
Ich helfe den Kindern. (I help the children.)

• "Ich" is the subject of the sentence


• "helfen" is the verb of the sentence - a dative verb
• "die Kinder" is the indirect object

passive voice (with dummy subject)


Es wird den Kindern geholfen. (The children are being helped.)

passive voice (without dummy subject)


Den Kindern wird geholfen. (The children is being helped.)

The following example makes this very clear:

Even if the dummy subject "Es" is not explicitly stated


the verb "werden" has to be in the third person singular (wird).

Don't put "werden" because you think "die Kinder" is plural.


They are plural but they are not the subject of the sentence
and only the subject determines the conjugated form of "werden".

Active sentences without any object

There is no way in English to turn an active sentence without any object into a passive voice.
In German there is!

example 1:

active voice
Die Kinder schlafen nachts. (The children sleep at night.)

• "Die Kinder" is the subject of the sentence


• "schlafen" is the verb of the sentence
• "nachts" is a simple time expression

passive voice
Es wird nachts geschlafen. (No direct translation! ~ people sleep at night)

• "Es" is the dummy subject of the sentence


• "wird" is the conjugated form of "werden"
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Passiv
Theorie

• "nachts" is a simple time expression


• "geschlafen" is Partizip II of "schlafen"

example 2:

active voice
Matthias raucht zu viel. (Matthias smokes too much.)

• "Matthias" is the subject of the sentence


• "rauchen" is the verb of the sentence
• "zu viel" is a simple adverb

passive voice
Es wird zu viel geraucht. (No direct translation! ~ people smoke too much)

The two different passive voice types

There is one last thing we have to speak about.

There are two different types of a passive voice:

• werden-passive (Vorgangspassiv)
• sein-passive (Zustandspassiv)

The sein-passive is also formed with Partizip II


but instead of the helping verb "werden" you use the helping verb "sein".

example 1:

werden-passive sein-passive

• Die Tür wird verschlossen. • Die Tür ist verschlossen.


(The door is being locked.) (The door is locked.)

The werden-passive focus on the process "to lock the door".


The sein-passive describes the result of the process.

example 2:

werden-passive sein-passive

• Das Rauchen wurde verboten. • Das Rauchen ist verboten.


(Smoking has been forbidden.) (Smoking is forbidden.)

The werden-passive describes the process. Somebody put a ban on smoking.


The sein-passive shows the result of it. It's forbidden to smoke nowadays.

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Zukunft – Futur 1
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this topic is to speak about future events.

German English
Ich werde nächste Woche meine Eltern treffen. I will meet my parents next week.
Sie wird morgen nicht ins Cafe kommen. She won't come to the cafe tomorrow.
Wirst du sie wiedersehen? Will you see her again?

rules

I've got good news. This is definitely the easiest grammar topic.

You form the Future I with a form of "werden" and the infinitive of the main verb.
"werden" + "infinitive"

All you have to remember is the conjugation of the verb "werden":

Infinitiv ich du er / sie / es wir ihr sie / Sie

werden werde wirst wird werden werdet werden

examples:

• Ich werde ein Buch lesen. (I will read a book.)


• Du wirst das Examen bestehen. (You will pass the exam.)
• Er wird mich bald besuchen. (He will visit me soon.)
• Wir werden dich im Kino treffen. (We will meet you in the cinema.)
• Ihr werdet mich nicht fangen. (You won't catch me.)
• Sie werden das Visum bekommen. (You will get the visa.)

Are there different future forms like in English (will-future, going-to future ...)?

No! Fortunatelly, there is just one form to express the future and so German is here surely easier.
In German we are not really strict when we speak about the future.
Mostly we are careless and use the present tense.

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Zukunft – Futur 1
Theorie

examples:

• Ich werde morgen ins Kino gehen. (I will go to the cinema tomorrow.)
• Ich gehe morgen ins Kino. (I will go to the cinema tomorrow.)

The first sentence is proper German and grammatically correct. I, however, would use the second one to sound
natural.
For now I want us to use the correct form. Later you can use the future or present tense to speak about the
future.

word order

In statments:

• put the form of "werden" after the subject


• put the main verb at the very end of the sentence

In questions:

• put the form of "werden" after the question word


• put the main verb at the very end of the sentence

If no question word excists the form of "werden" goes at the first position.

examples:

• Wann wirst du mich besuchen? (When are you going to visit me?)
• Wirst du mich besuchen? (Are you going to visit me?)

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Vergangenheit –
Das Plusquamperfekt
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn the third way to speak about past events.

German English

Er kaufte sich ein teures Auto, nachdem er im Lotto He bought an expensive car after he had won in
gewonnen hatte. the lottery.

Der Zug war schon abgefahren, als wir in den The train had already departed when we came to
Bahnhof kamen. the train station.

Bevor Cathy zu mir kam, hatte sie schon ein Jahr Before Cathy came to me she had been learning
lang Deutsch gelernt. German already for one year.

rules

When do you use the tense "Plusquamperfekt"?

The "Plusquamperfekt" is always used when you speak about a event in the past
that had happened before another event in the past.
Another expresson for the "Plusquamperfekt" is "Vorvergangenheit" (="pre past")
which describes its purpose best. The "Plusquamperfekt" is rarely used.

example 1:

Als die Eltern das Haus verlassen hatten, schauten die Kinder die ganze Nacht fern.
(When the parents had left the house the children watched tv all night.)

• event 1: the parents left the house


• event 2: the children watched tv
• both events happened in the past
• for event 1 you always use "Plusquamperfekt" and for event 2 "Präteritum" or "Perfekt"

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Vergangenheit –
Das Plusquamperfekt
Theorie

example 2:

Nachdem sie das Visum bekommen hatte, ist sie sofort nach Deutschland geflogen.
(After she had got the visa she flew immediately to Germany.)

• event 1: she got the visa


• event 2: she flew to Germany
• both events happened in the past
• for event 1 you always use "Plusquamperfekt" and for event 2 "Präteritum" or "Perfekt"

Indicators for "Plusquamperfekt"

There is a row of conjunctions which are clear indicators for "Plusquamperfekt" :

• nachdem (=after)
• als (=when)
• bevor (=before)

examples:

• Nachdem ich die Prüfung bestanden hatte, habe ich eine große Party gemacht.
(After I had passed the exam I made a big party.)

• Als wir zur Party kamen, waren die meisten Leute schon gegangen.
(When we arrived at the party most people had gone already.)

• Bevor ich Cathy kennen lernte, hatte ich mich noch nie intensiv mit der deutschen Grammatik
beschäftigt.
(Bevore I met Cathy I hadn't never dealt intensively with the German grammar.)

How do you form the tense "Plusquamperfekt"?

Hilfsverben (auxiliary verbs = "helping verbs")

There are two "Hilfsverben" in German:

• haben (have) --> Präteritum form: hatte (had)


• sein (be) --> Präteritum form: war (was)

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 2


Vergangenheit –
Das Plusquamperfekt
Theorie

When do you have to use "haben" and when "sein"?

• You use "sein" when the verb shows a change of position or condition e.g. gehen (go), kommen
(come), wandern (hiking)
• You use "sein" when the verb shows a crossing of a "boundary" e.g. sterben (die), einschlafen (fall
asleep)
• You use "sein" when the verb is an intransitive verb (=verb without direct object)

For all other cases use "haben" as "Hilfsverb".

Another useful rule is that almost all weak verbs (see below) take "haben" as their "Hilfsverb".
The only exception are the verbs "reisen" (travel) and "passieren" (happen).

examples:

• Ich bin gestern gekommen. (I arrived yesterday.)


• Er ist gerade gegangen. (He has just gone.)
• Bist du schon eingeschlafen? (Did you fall asleep already?)

The "Hilfsverb" is conjugated as usual. The main verb is transformed into the "Partizip II".

What is the "Partizip II" and how do you form it?

We spoke in detail about "Partizip II" when we learned the "Perfekt" tense.
Please check this topic for more information.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 3


Vergangenheit
All irregular verbs

Irregular are all strong and mixed verbs

I sorted all verbs in three categories depending on how important they are in my opinion.

• Category I is very important and you should know them by heart


• Category II is also important but it's OK if you don't know all
• Category III consists seldom used verbs and you should leave them out for now

Category I - often used

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

beginnen begann begonnen (h) begin

bitten bat gebeten (h) ask / request

bleiben blieb geblieben (s) stay

bringen brachte gebracht (h) bring

denken dachte gedacht (h) think

dürfen durfte gedurft (h) may

essen aß gegessen (h) eat

fahren fuhr gefahren (s/h) drive

finden fand gefunden (h) find

fliegen flog geflogen (s/h) fly

geben gab gegeben (h) give

gehen ging gegangen (s) go

gewinnen gewann gewonnen (h) win

haben hatte gehabt (h) have

halten hielt gehalten (h) hold

heißen hieß geheißen (h) be called

helfen half geholfen (h) help

kennen kannte gekannt (h) know

kommen kam gekommen (s) come

können konnte gekonnt (h) can

lassen ließ gelassen (h) let

laufen lief gelaufen (s) walk

lesen las gelesen (h) read

liegen lag gelegen (h) lie (lie down)

lügen log gelogen (h) lie (tell a lie)

mögen mochte gemocht (h) like

müssen musste gemusst (h) must

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Vergangenheit
All irregular verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

nehmen nahm genommen (h) take

nennen nannte genannt (h) call

rennen rannte gerannt (s) run

riechen roch gerochen (h) smell

rufen rief gerufen (h) call

schlafen schlief geschlafen (h) sleep

schließen schloss geschlossen (h) close / lock

schreiben schrieb geschrieben (h) write

schwimmen schwamm geschwommen (s/h) swim

sehen sah gesehen (h) see

sein war gewesen (s) be

senden sandte gesandt (h) send

singen sang gesungen (h) sing

sitzen saß gesessen (h) sit

sollen sollte gesollt (h) should

sprechen sprach gesprochen (h) speak

stehen stand gestanden (h) stand

sterben starb gestorben (s) die

tragen trug getragen (h) carry

treffen traf getroffen (h) meet

treten trat getreten (s/h) step / kick

trinken trank getrunken (h) drink

tun tat getan (h) do

vergessen vergaß vergessen (h) forget

verlieren verlor verloren (h) loose

wachsen wuchs gewachsen (s) grow

waschen wusch gewaschen (h) wash

werden wurde geworden (s) become

wissen wusste gewusst (h) know

wollen wollte gewollt (h) want

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 2


Vergangenheit
All irregular verbs

Category II - sometimes used

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

backen backte gebacken (h) bake

befehlen befahl befohlen (h) order / command

beißen biss gebissen (h) bite

biegen bog gebogen (s/h) bend

bieten bot geboten (h) bid

binden band gebunden (h) bind

blasen blies geblasen (h) blow

braten briet gebraten (h) fry / roast

brechen brach gebrochen (s/h) break

brennen brannte gebrannt (h) burn

empfangen empfing empfangen (h) receive

empfehlen empfahl empfohlen (h) recommend

erschrecken erschrak erschrocken (s) be frighten

fallen fiel gefallen (s) fall

fangen fing gefangen (h) catch

fliehen floh geflohen (s) flee / escape

fließen floss geflossen (s) flow

fressen fraß gefressen (h) eat (animals)

frieren fror gefroren (h) freeze

gelingen gelang gelungen (s) succeed

genießen genoss genossen (h) enjoy

geschehen geschah geschehen (s) happen

gießen goss gegossen (h) pour

graben grub gegraben (h) dig

greifen griff gegriffen (h) grab / seize

hängen hing gehangen (h) hang

heben hob gehoben (h) lift / raise

klingen klang geklungen (h) sound

kneifen kniff gekniffen (h) pinch, shirk

kriechen kroch gekrochen (s) crawl, creep

laden lud geladen (h) load

leiden litt gelitten (h) suffer

leihen lieh geliehen (h) lend, borrow

messen maß gemessen (h) measure


© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 3
Vergangenheit
All irregular verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

pfeifen pfiff gepfiffen (h) whistle

raten riet geraten (h) guess

reiben rieb gerieben (h) rub

reißen riss gerissen (s/h) tear, rib

reiten ritt geritten (s/h) ride

saufen soff gesoffen (h) drink (animals)

saugen sog gesogen (h) suck

schaffen schuf geschaffen (h) create

scheinen schien geschienen (h) shine / seem

scheißen schiss geschissen (h) shit

schieben schob geschoben (h) push

schießen schoss geschossen (s/h) shoot

schlagen schlug geschlagen (h) hit / beat

schleichen schlich geschlichen (s) sneak / slink

schmeißen schmiss geschmissen (h) throw

schneiden schnitt geschnitten (h) cut

schreien schrie geschrieen (h) scream

schweigen schwieg geschwiegen (h) be silent

schwören schwur geschworen (h) swear, take an oath

sinken sank gesunken (s) sink

springen sprang gesprungen (s) jump

stechen stach gestochen (h) sting

stehlen stahl gestohlen (h) steal

steigen stieg gestiegen (s) climb / rise

stinken stank gestunken (h) stink

stoßen stieß gestoßen (s/h) push / prod

streichen strich gestrichen (h) paint / strike

streiten stritt gestritten (h) quarrel, argue

treiben trieb getrieben (h) propel / push

verderben verdarb verdorben (s/h) spoil / ruin

verzeihen verzieh verziehen (h) forgive

werfen warf geworfen (h) throw

wiegen wog gewogen (h) weigh

ziehen zog gezogen (s/h) pull

zwingen zwang gezwungen (h) force / compel

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 4


Vergangenheit
All irregular verbs

Category III - seldom used

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

bewegen bewog bewogen (h) persuade

bergen barg geborgen (h) retrieve, rescue

bersten barst geborsten (s) burst

bleichen blich geblichen (h) bleach

dreschen drosch gedroschen (h) thrash

dringen drang gedrungen (s/h) pierce / penetrate

erlöschen erlosch erloschen (s) dim / go out

fechten focht gefochten (h) fence (fight)

flechten flocht geflochten (h) braid

gären gor gegoren (s) brew

gebären gebar geboren (s/h) birth

gedeihen gedieh gediehen (s) thrive

gelten galt gegolten (h) count / apply

genesen genas genesen (s) recover

gleichen glich geglichen (h) be equal

gleiten glitt geglitten (s) slide / glide

glimmen glomm geglommen (h) glow

hauen hieb gehauen (h) hit / hew

klimmen klomm geklommen (h) climb

mahlen mahlte gemahlen (h) grind

meiden mied gemieden (h) avoid, shun

misslingen misslang misslungen (s) fail

preisen pries gepriesen (h) praise

quellen quoll gequollen (s) gush

ringen rang gerungen (h) wrestle / struggle

rinnen ran geronnen (s) flow

scheiden schied geschieden (s/h) separate

schelten schalt gescholten (h) scold

schinden schund geschunden (s/h) flay (time)

schleifen schliff geschliffen (h) grind / polish

schlingen schlang geschlungen (h) gulp

schmelzen schmolz geschmolzen (s) melt

schreiten schritt geschritten (s) stride

schwellen schwoll geschwollen (s) swell


© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 5
Vergangenheit
All irregular verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

schwinden schwand geschwunden (s) dwindle

schwingen schwang geschwungen (h) swing

sinnen sann gesonnen (h) think / reflect

spalten spaltete gespalten (h) split

speien spie gespieen (h) spit, vomit

spinnen spann gesponnen (h) spin, be crazy

sprießen spross gesprossen (s) sprout

trügen trog getrogen (h) deceive

verlöschen verlosch verloschen (s) go out

wägen wog gewogen (h) weigh

weben wob gewoben (h) weave

weichen wich gewichen (s) give way / yield

weisen wies gewiesen (h) show / point out

wenden wandte gewandt (h) turn / reverse

werben warb geworben (h) advertise

winden wand gewunden (h) twist

wringen wrang gewrungen (h) wring

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 6


Vergangenheit – Präteritum
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn the second way to speak about past events.

German English
Ich war heute im Kino. I was at the cinema today.
Ich hatte einen guten Tag. I had a good day.
Wir redeten die ganze Nacht. We talked the whole night.

rules

There are 3 tenses to speak about the past:

• das Perfekt (Perfect)


• das Präteritum (Preterite)
• das Plusquamperfekt (Pluperfect)

Some weeks ago we spoke about the "Perfekt" which is mostly used to speak about the past.
Today we want to learn the second way to speak about the past: Das Präteritum.

The "Präteritum" is primarily used in written German.


Apart from a few verbs (e.g. sein, haben) you hardly find it in spoken German.

How do you form the "Präteritum" tense ?

• take the "Präteritum" form of the verb (=simple past form)


• conjugate the "Präteritum" form according to the person

What is the "Präteritum" form?

Like in English there are three "Stammformen" (principal forms) for every verb.
The "Präteritum" is the same as the "simple past" in English.

Deutsch Englisch

1. Stammform 2. Stammform 3. Stammform 1. principal form 2. princ. form 3. princ. form


(Infinitiv) (Präteritum) (Partizip II) (infinitiv) (simple past) (past participle)
machen machte gemacht do did done

haben hatte gehabt have had had

gehen ging gegangen go went gone

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Vergangenheit – Präteritum
Theorie

How do you conjugate the "Präteritum" form?

We learned already how to conjugate verbs in the present tense at the very beginning of our studies.
The conjugation of the "Präteritum" form follows also strict rules:

We have to distinguish between 2 groups:

• weak verbs (regular)


• strong / mixed verbs (irregular)

Conjugation of weak verbs

In English you just add the ending "ed" to the stem for weak verbs (I learned, you learned, he/she/it learned
...)
In German, unfortunately, you have to remember different endings - as usual.

person ending example


(lernen = learn)

ich stem + te lernte

du stem + test lerntest

er / sie / es stem + te lernte

wir stem + ten lernten

ihr stem + tet lerntet

sie stem + ten lernten

Exception: Verbs in which the stem ends with "t", "d", "chn", "dn", "fn", "gn" or "tm" require an additional "e"
after the stem.

person ending example


(arbeiten = work)

ich stem + e + te arbeitete

du stem + e + test arbeitetest

er / sie / es stem + e + te arbeitete

wir stem + e + ten arbeiteten

ihr stem + e + tet arbeitetet

sie stem + e + ten arbeiteten

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 2


Vergangenheit – Präteritum
Theorie

Conjugation of strong / mixed verbs

In English you just use the same word for strong verbs (I gave, you gave, he/she/it gave ...).
In German, unfortunately, you have to remember different endings - as usual.

person ending example


(geben = give)

ich Präteritum gab

du Präteritum + st gabst

er / sie / es Präteritum gab

wir Präteritum + en gaben

ihr Präteritum + t gabt

sie Präteritum + en gaben

Exception: When the Präteritum ends with an "e" the "e" before "n" is dropped in the "wir" and "sie" (plural) -
form.

person ending example


(haben = have)

ich Präteritum hatte

du Präteritum + st hattest

er / sie / es Präteritum hatte

wir Präteritum + n hatten

ihr Präteritum + t hattet

sie Präteritum + n hatten

Problem: separable verbs

With separable verbs we do the same what we already did with the conjungation of verb in the present tense:

• split up the separable prefix and put it at the end of the sentence
• conjugate the verb as described above

examples:

• einkaufen (=weak verb) -> ich kaufte ein | du kauftest ein | er/sie/es kaufte ein | wir kauften ein |
ihr kauftet ein | sie kauften ein (to shop)

• nachdenken (=strong verb) -> ich dachte nach | du dachtest nach | er/sie/es dachte nach | wir
dachten nach | ihr dachtet nach | sie dachten nach (to think)

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 3


Vergangenheit – Präteritum
Theorie

examples

weak verbs

Englisch
Infinitiv Präteritum ich du er / sie / es wir ihr sie
simple past

fühlen fühlte fühlte fühltest fühlte fühlten fühltet fühlten felt

hören hörte hörte hörtest hörte hörten hörtet hörten heard

lächeln lächelte lächelte lächeltest lächelte lächelten lächeltet lächelten smiled

lernen lernte lernte lerntest lernte lernten lerntet lernten learned

machen machte machte machtest machte machten machtet machten made

sagen sagte sagte sagtest sagte sagten sagtet sagten said

sammeln sammelte sammelte sammeltest sammelte sammelten sammeltet sammelten collected

schmecke schmeckte schmeckte schmecktest schmeckte schmeckten schmecktet schmeckten tasted

vermissen vermisste vermisste vermisstest vermisste vermissten vermisstet vermissten missed

versuchen versuchte versuchte versuchtest versuchte versuchten versuchtet versuchten tried

strong / mixed verbs

Englisch
Infinitiv Präteritum ich du er / sie / es wir ihr sie
simple past

sein war war warst war waren wart waren was

haben hatte hatte hattest hatte hatten hattet hatten had

werden wurde wurde wurdest wurde wurden wurdet wurden became

wollen wollte wollte wolltest wollte wollten wolltet wollten wanted

können konnte konnte konntest konnte konnten konntet konnten could

müssen musste musste musstest musste mussten musstet mussten had to

sollen sollte sollte solltest sollte sollten solltet sollten should

dürfen durfte durfte durftest durfte durften durftet durften was allowed to

mögen mochte mochte mochtest mochte mochten mochtet mochten liked

bringen brachte brachte brachtest brachte brachten brachtet brachten brought

denken dachte dachte dachtest dachte dachten dachtet dachten thought

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 4


Vergangenheit – Präteritum
Theorie

Englisch
Infinitiv Präteritum ich du er / sie / es wir ihr sie
simple past

kennen kannte kannte kanntest kannte kannten kanntet kannten knew

rennen rannte rannte ranntest rannte rannten ranntet rannten ran

wissen wusste wusste wusstest wusste wussten wusstet wussten knew

bekommen bekam bekam bekamst bekam bekamen bekamt bekamen got

bleiben blieb blieb bliebst blieb blieben bliebt blieben stayed

fahren fuhr fuhr fuhrst fuhr fuhren fuhrt fuhren drove

finden fand fand fandst fand fanden fandt fanden found

gehen ging ging gingst ging gingen gingt gingen went

heißen hieß hieß hießt hieß hießen hießt hießen were called

klingen klang klang klangst klang klangen klangt klangen sounded

kommen kam kam kamst kam kamen kamt kamen came

lassen ließ ließ ließt ließ ließen ließt ließen let

lesen las las last las lasen last lasen read

nehmen nahm nahm nahmst nahm nahmen nahmt nahmen took

rufen rief rief riefst rief riefen rieft riefen called

schreiben schrieb schrieb schriebst schrieb schrieben schriebt schrieben wrote

sehen sah sah sahst sah sahen saht sahen saw

sprechen sprach sprach sprachst sprach sprachen spracht sprachen spoke

vergessen vergaß vergaß vergaßt vergaß vergaßen vergaßt vergaßen forgot

A last hint

In the examples above I wrote down all conjugated "Präteritum" forms for ich | du | er/sie/es | wir | ihr | sie.
You can forget immediately the conjugated form for "du" and "ihr" for all verbs apart from (sein, haben,
modal verbs, wissen). There is need to learn them ever because they are never used except from plays in
theaters which show the live in the middle ages. Instead you'd better use the "Perfekt" tense here. It sounds
much better.

examples:

• Präteritum: Du sprachst gestern mit Herrn Wolf. (You spoke to Mr Wolf yesterday.)
• Perfekt: Du hast gestern mit Herrn Wolf gesprochen. (You have spoken to Mr Wolf yesterday.)

The Präteritum example sounds odd and old fashioned. The Perfekt example sounds natural and much better.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 5


Präteritum- & Partizip II-form of weak, strong and mixed verbs (summary)

„normal“ weak verbs separable weak verbs inseparable weak verbs

Präteritum: Partizip II Präteritum: Partizip II Präteritum: Partizip II

stem + „te“ „ge“ + stem + „t“ - split up the separable prefix and „prefix“ + „ge“ + stem + „t“ „prefix“ stem + „te“ „prefix“ + „ge“ + stem + „t“
put it at the end of the sentence
for example : machte, lernte, hörte for example : gemacht, gelernt, gehört
for example : besuchte, erzählte for example : besucht, erzählt
- treat the rest like in
exception exception
“normal” weak verbs
- stem ends with "t", "d", "chn": - stem ends with "ieren”:
for example : kaufte ein, machte an for example : eingekauft, angemacht
stem + „e“ + „te“ „ge“ + stem + „t“

for example : arbeitete, redete for example : studiert, informiert

„normal“ strong verbs separable strong verbs inseparable strong verbs

Präteritum: Partizip II Präteritum: Partizip II Präteritum: Partizip II

- irregular stem „ge“ + stem + „en“ - split up the separable prefix and „prefix“ + „ge“ + stem + „en“ „prefix“ stem „prefix“ + „ge“ + stem + „en“
- has to be learnt by heart put it at the end of the sentence
irregular change irregular change irregular change irregular change
- treat the rest like in
“normal” strong verbs
for example : kam, ging, fuhr for example : gekommen, gegangen, for example : erfand, bekam, for example : erfunden, bekommen,
gefahren verstand verstanden
for example : kam zurück, ging weg, for example : zurückgekommen,
rief an weggegangen,
angerufen

„normal“ mixed verbs separable mixed verbs inseparable mixed verbs

Präteritum: Partizip II Präteritum: Partizip II Präteritum: Partizip II

stem + „te“ „ge“ + stem + „t“ - split up the separable prefix and „prefix“ + „ge“ + stem + „t“ „prefix“ stem + „te“ „prefix“ + „ge“ + stem + „t“
put it at the end of the sentence
irregular change irregular change irregular change irregular change irregular change
- treat the rest like in
“normal” mixed verbs
for example : dachte, brachte, for example : gedacht, gebracht, for example : erkannte, verbrachte, for example : erkannt, verbracht,
wusste gewusst versandte versandt
for example : dachte nach, for example : nachgedacht,
brachte bei, beigebracht,
rannte weg weggerannt

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009


Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn how to speak about past events.

German English

Ich habe heute viel gearbeitet. I worked a lot today.


Ich bin bei meiner Freundin gewesen. I have been at my girlfriend.
Hast du sie gesehen? Did you see her?

rules

There are 3 tenses to speak about the past:

• das Perfekt (Perfect)


• das Präteritum (Preterite)
• das Plusquamperfekt (Pluperfect)

We will concentrate at first on the "Perfekt" because it's almost always used and so the most important way to
speak about the past.
Don't confuse the "Perfekt" in German with the "Present Perfect" in English. It doesn't have the same purpose.

How do you form the "Perfekt" tense ?

Hilfsverben (auxiliary verbs = "helping verbs")

There are two "Hilfsverben" in German:

• haben (have)
• sein (be)

When do you have to use "haben" and when "sein"?

• You use "sein" when the verb shows a change of position or condition e.g. gehen (go), kommen
(come), wandern (hiking)
• You use "sein" when the verb shows a crossing of a "boundary" e.g. sterben (die), einschlafen (fall
asleep)
• You use "sein" when the verb is an intransitive verb (=verb without direct object)

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

For all other cases use "haben" as "Hilfsverb".

Another useful rule is that almost all weak verbs (see below) take "haben" as their "Hilfsverb".
The only exception are the verbs "reisen" (travel) and "passieren" (happen).

examples:

• Ich bin gestern gekommen. (I arrived yesterday.)


• Er ist gerade gegangen. (He has just gone.)
• Bist du schon eingeschlafen? (Did you fall asleep already?)

The "Hilfsverb" is conjugated as usual. The main verb is transformed into the "Partizip II".

What is the "Partizip II"?

Like in English there are three "Stammformen" (principal forms) for every verb.
The "Partizip II" is the same as the "past participle" in English.

Deutsch Englisch

1. Stammform 2. Stammform 3. Stammform 1. principal form 2. princ. form 3. princ. form


(Infinitiv) (Präteritum) (Partizip II) (infinitiv) (simple past) (past participle)
machen machte gemacht do did done
haben hatte gehabt have had had
gehen ging gegangen go went gone

How do you form the "Partizip II"?

As you already heard from Mr Wolf there are three groups of verbs:

• weak verbs (regular)


• strong verbs (irregular)
• mixed verbs (irregular)

weak verbs

Weak verbs are easy to handle. They are regular and follow a rule.

To form the "Partizip II" of weaks verbs:

• take the stem (=verb without the ending "en")


• add "ge" in front of the stem
• add "t" after the stem

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 2


Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

examples:

• machen (Infinitiv) -> gemacht (Partizip II)


• fragen (Infinitiv) -> gefragt (Partizip II)
• arbeiten (Infinitiv) -> gearbeitet (Partizip II)

A few weeks ago we dealt with separable verbs. They consists of prefix+stem+en. Here you follow the same
rule.
Put the "ge" in front of the stem.

examples:

• einkaufen (Infinitiv) -> eingekauft (Partizip II)


• vorstellen (Infinitiv) -> vorgestellt (Partizip II)
• zuhören (Infinitiv) -> zugehört (Partizip II)

Of course there are some little exceptions to this easy rule:

exception 1: weak verbs which end with "ieren" don't get the prefix "ge" but only the suffix "t"

examples:

• studieren (Infinitiv) -> studiert (Partizip II)


• fotografieren (Infinitiv) -> fotografiert (Partizip II)
• diskutieren (Infinitiv) -> diskutiert (Partizip II)

exception 2: inseparable weak verbs don't get the prefix "ge" but only the suffix "t"

examples:

• besuchen (Infinitiv) -> besucht (Partizip II)


• zerstören (Infinitiv) -> zerstört (Partizip II)
• erholen (Infinitiv) -> erholt (Partizip II)

strong verbs

The second group are the strong verbs. They follow almost the same rules like the weak verbs
but unfortunately, some of them change the stem vowel and some of them change the whole stem.

To form the "Partizip II" of strong verbs:

• take the stem (=verb without the ending "en")


• add "ge" in front of the stem
• add "en" after the stem
• change the stem vowel or the whole stem for some strong verbs

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 3


Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

examples:
verbs with stem vowel change

• schreiben (Infinitiv) -> geschrieben (Partizip II)


• singen (Infinitiv) -> gesungen (Partizip II)
• fliegen (Infinitiv) -> geflogen (Partizip II)

verbs with change of the whole stem

• sein (Infinitiv) -> gewesen (Partizip II)


• gehen (Infinitiv) -> gegangen (Partizip II)
• essen (Infinitiv) -> gegessen (Partizip II)

Separable strong verbs behave similar to separable weak verbs.


They also get the "ge" between the separable prefix and the stem.

• take the stem (=verb without the ending "en")


• add "ge" in front of the stem
• add "en" after the stem
• change the stem vowel for some strong separable verbs

examples:

• einschlafen (Infinitiv) -> eingeschlafen (Partizip II)


• mitnehmen (Infinitiv) -> mitgenommen (Partizip II)
• ausgehen (Infinitiv) -> ausgegangen (Partizip II)

Inseparable strong verbs behave similar to inseparable weak verbs.


They also don't get the "ge" in front of the stem.

• take the stem (=verb without the ending "en")


• DON'T put the "ge" in front of the stem
• add "en" after the stem
• change the stem vowel for some strong inseparable verbs

examples:

• verstehen (Infinitiv) -> verstanden (Partizip II)


• erfinden (Infinitiv) -> erfunden (Partizip II)
• bekommen (Infinitiv) -> bekommen (Partizip II)

mixed verbs

The third group are the mixed verbs. They behave like strong and weak verbs.
They've got the prefix "ge" and the suffix "t" like weak verbs but also change
the stem vowel like strong verbs. Fortunately, there are just 8 of them.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 4


Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

examples:

• denken (Infinitiv) -> gedacht (Partizip II)


• kennen (Infinitiv) -> gekannt (Partizip II)
• bringen (Infinitiv) -> gebracht (Partizip II)

word order

There is an easy rule where you have to put the "Hilfsverb" and the "Partizip II" in a statement.

• put the "Hilfsverb" after the subject


• put the "Partizip II" at the end of the sentence

examples:

• Ich habe sie gesehen. (I saw her.)


• Ich bin in Cagayan gewesen. (I've been in Cagayan.)
• Er hat ihr das Buch gebracht. (He brought the book to her.)

There is an easy rule where you have to put the "Hilfsverb" and the "Partizip II" in a question.

• put the "Hilfsverb" at the beginning of the sentence


• put the "Partizip II" at the end of the sentence

examples:

• Hast du sie gesehen? (Did you see her?)


• Bist du in Cagayan gewesen? (Have you been in Cagayan?)
• Hat er ihr das Buch gebracht? (Did he bring the book to her?)

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Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

tables

To make it easier for you to know which „helping verb“ you have to use with which verb
I added (h) for „haben” and (s) for “sein” in the “Partizip II” row.

„normal" weak verbs „normal" weak verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

antworten antwortete geantwortet (h) answer machen machte gemacht (h) make

arbeiten arbeitete gearbeitet (h) work meinen meinte gemeint (h) mean

beten betete gebetet (h) pray reisen reiste gereist (s) travel

brauchen brauchte gebraucht (h) need passieren passierte passiert (s) happen

dauern dauerte gedauert (h) last reden redete geredet (h) talk

diskutieren diskutierte diskutiert (h) discuss sagen sagte gesagt (h) say

drücken drückte gedrückt (h) hug schmecken schmeckte geschmeckt (h) taste

duschen duschte geduscht (h) shower spielen spielte gespielt (h) play

fühlen fühlte gefühlt (h) feel studieren studierte studiert (h) study

fragen fragte gefragt (h) ask suchen suchte gesucht (h) look for

freuen freute gefreut (h) be happy träumen träumte geträumt (h) dream

glauben glaubte geglaubt (h) believe warten wartete gewartet (h) wait

hoffen hoffte gehofft (h) hope weinen weinte geweint (h) cry

holen holte geholt (h) fetch wohnen wohnte gewohnt (h) live

hören hörte gehört (h) hear zeigen zeigte gezeigt (h) show

kaufen kaufte gekauft (h) buy

kochen kochte gekocht (h) cook

kosten kostete gekostet (h) cost

küssen küsste geküsst (h) kiss

lachen lachte gelacht (h) laugh

lächeln lächelte gelächelt (h) smile

lernen lernte gelernt (h) learn

lieben liebte geliebt (h) love

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Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

separable weak verbs inseparable weak verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

abholen holte ab abgeholt (h) pick up bestellen bestellte bestellt (h) order

aufhören hörte auf aufgehört (h) stop besuchen besuchte besucht (h) visit

aufwachen wachte auf aufgewacht (s) wake up bezahlen bezahlte bezahlt (h) pay

einkaufen kaufte ein eingekauft (h) shop erholen erholte erholt (h) relax

vorbereiten bereitete vor vorbereitet (h) prepare erinnern erinnerte erinnert (h) remember

vorhaben hatte vor vorgehabt (h) plan erklären erklärte erklärt (h) explain

vorstellen stellte vor vorgestellt (h) imagine erleben erlebte erlebt (h) experience

zuhören hörte zu zugehört (h) listen to erzählen erzählte erzählt (h) tell

gehört gehörte gehört (h) belong

übersetzen übersetzte übersetzt (h) translate

verkaufen verkaufte verkauft (h) sell

vermissen vermisste vermisst (h) miss

versuchen versuchte versucht (h) try

wiederholen wiederholte wiederholt (h) repeat

zerstören zerstörte zerstört (h) destroy

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Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

„normal" strong verbs „normal" weak verbs


rmal" weak verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

sein war gewesen (s) be singen sang gesungen (h) sing

haben hatte gehabt (h) have sprechen sprach gesprochen (h) speak

werden wurde geworden (s) become stehen stand gestanden (h) stand

sterben starb gestorben (s) die

bleiben blieb geblieben (s) stay tragen trug getragen (h) carry

essen aß gegessen (h) eat treffen traf getroffen (h) meet

fahren fuhr gefahren (s) drive trinken trank getrunken (h) drink

fallen fiel gefallen (s) fall tun tat getan (h) do

finden fand gefunden (h) find vergessen vergaß vergessen (h) forget

fliegen flog geflogen (s) fly verlieren verlor verloren (h) loose

geben gab gegeben (h) give wachsen wuchs gewachsen (s) grow

gehen ging gegangen (s) go waschen wusch gewaschen (h) wash

gewinnen gewann gewonnen (h) win

halten hielt gehalten (h) hold

heißen hieß geheißen (h) be called

helfen half geholfen (h) help

klingen klang geklungen (h) sound

kommen kam gekommen (s) come

lassen ließ gelassen (h) let

laufen lief gelaufen (s) walk

lesen las gelesen (h) read

nehmen nahm genommen (h) take

raten riet geraten (h) guess

rufen rief gerufen (h) call

schlafen schlief geschlafen (h) sleep

schreiben schrieb geschrieben (h) write

sehen sah gesehen (h) see

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Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

separable strong verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

anfangen fing an angefangen (h) begin

ankommen kam an angekommen (s) arrive

anrufen rief an angerufen (h) call, phone

ausgehen ging aus ausgegangen (s) go out

aussehen sah aus ausgesehen (h) look like

einschlafen schlief ein eingeschlafen (s) fall asleep

fernsehen sah fern ferngesehen (h) watch tv

fortgehen ging fort fortgegangen (s) go away

herkommen kam her hergekommen (s) come from

loswerden wurde los losgeworden (s) get rid of

mitnehmen nahm mit mitgenommen (h) take along

stattfinden fand statt stattgefunden (h) take place

umziehen zog um umgezogen (h) change clothes

wiedersehen sah wieder wiedergesehen (h) see again

vorschlagen schlug vor vorgeschlagen (h) suggest

zugeben gab zu zugegeben (h) admit

zurückkommen kam zurück zurückgekommen (s) come back

inseparable strong verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

bekommen bekam bekommen (h) get

betrügen betrog betrogen (h) cheat

bewerben bewarb beworben (h) apply

entscheiden entschied entschieden (h) decide

erfinden erfand erfunden (h) invent / make up

gefallen gefiel gefallen (h) like

unterbrechen unterbrach unterbrochen (h) interrupt

verstehen verstand verstanden (h) understand

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Vergangenheit – Perfekt
Theorie

"normal" mixed verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

dürfen durfte gedurft (h) may

können konnte gekonnt (h) can

mögen mochte gemocht (h) like

müssen musste gemusst (h) must

sollen sollte gesollt (h) should

wollen wollte gewollt (h) want

brennen brannte gebrannt (h) burn

bringen brachte gebracht (h) bring

denken dachte gedacht (h) think

kennen kannte gekannt (h) know

nennen nannte genannt (h) call

rennen rannte gerannt (s) run

senden sandte gesandt (h) send

wissen wusste gewusst (h) know

separable mixed verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

beibringen brachte bei beigebracht (h) teach

kennenlernen lernte kennen kennengelernt (h) meet

mitbringen brachte mit mitgebracht (h) bring along

nachdenken dachte nach nachgedacht (h) think about

inseparable mixed verbs

Infinitiv Präteritum Partizip II Englisch

erkennen erkannte erkannt (h) recognize

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 10


Konjunktiv
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn how to use the Konjunktiv.

German English
Könntest du mir helfen? Could you help me?
Ich wünschte, du wärst schon hier. I wish you were here already.
Er sagte, er habe keine Zeit. He said he had no time.

rules

What is Konjunktiv?

Konjunktiv is NOT a tense like Präsens, Präteritum, Perfekt, Zukunft...


Konjunktiv is a mood!

There are three moods in German:

• Indikativ (indicative)
• Konjunktiv (subjunctive)
• Imperativ (imperative)

The Indikativ is the real world. It's used to speak about all things which really happen.
We've always used this mood so far. You just wasn't conscious of it.

The Konjunktiv is exactly the opposite of the Indikativ.


The Konjunktiv is used to speak about fictional things, things which are not real, things we would like to
become reality.

The Imperativ you know already quite well. It's used to give a command or a request.
You address something directly to somebody.

An example will make it clear:

example:

• Tom lebt in Deutschland. (Tom lives in Germany.)


The sentences is in the Indikativ mood. It just describes the fact that Tom lives in Germany.

• Ich wünschte, Cathy wäre in Deutschland. (I wish Cathy were in Germany.)


The sentences is in the Konjunktiv mood. My wish is that she is here but it's not the reality.

• Bleib bei mir! (Stay with me!)


The sentences is in the Imperativ mood. I give you the "command" to stay with me.

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Konjunktiv
Theorie

For what do you need the Konjunktiv?

There are two different forms of Konjunktiv:

• Konjunktiv I
• Konjunktiv II

Konjunktiv I

Konjunktiv I is used for:

• reported speech
• some fixed phrases

examples:

• Pet Pet sagte, du seist zu Hause. (Pet Pet said you was at home.)
[reported speech]

• Gott sei Dank! (Thank godness!)


[some fixed phrases]

Konjunktiv II

Konjunktiv II is used for:

• make a polite request


• wishes / wishful thinking
• conditional sentences [mostly start with "wenn" (=if)]
• contrary to reality [introduced by "als ob" or "als wenn" (=both means: as if)]
• reported speech

examples:

• Würdest du mir bitte helfen? (Would you help me please?)


[make a polite request]

• Ich wünschte, ich wäre ein Millionär. (I wish I were a millionaire.)


[wishful thinking]

• Ich würde dir helfen, wenn ich mehr Geld hätte. (I would help you if I had more money.)
[conditional sentence]

• Er fährt, als ob er Michael Schuhmacher wäre. (He drives as if he were Michael Schuhmacher.)
[contrary to reality]

• Sie sagte, sie hätte heute keine Zeit. (She said she had no time today.)
[reported speech]

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Konjunktiv
Theorie

I want us to concentrate on Konjunktiv II for now and leave out Konjunktiv I completly
because in almost all cases you'll need Konjunktiv II and we can still speak about Konjunktiv I later.

How do you form Konjunktiv II?

To form the Konjunktiv II in the present tense:

• take the Präteritum form of the verb


• change the vowel (a, o, u) into an "umlaut" if possible
• add an "e" if there is not already an ending "e" or "en"

example (verb: be in the "ich"-form)

Präsens Präteritum Konjunktiv II

ich bin ich war ich wäre

This rule doesn't work for "sollen", "wollen" and "werden", however.
That's why I suggest you learn these 9 verbs by heart because then you have covered almost everything you
need for the Konjunktiv II.

The "real" Konjunktiv II of sein, haben, werden and the modal verbs

Infinitiv ich du er / sie / es wir ihr sie Englisch

sein wäre wärest wäre wären wäret wären be

haben hätte hättest hätte hätten hättet hätten have

dürfen dürfte dürftest dürfte dürften dürftet dürften may

können könnte könntest könnte könnten könntet könnten can

mögen möchte möchtest möchte möchten möchtet möchten would like

müssen müsste müsstest müsste müssten müsstet müssten must

sollen sollte solltest sollte sollten solltet sollten should

wollen wollte wolltest wollte wollten wolltet wollten want

werden würde würdest würde würden würdet würden become

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Konjunktiv
Theorie

The würde + infinitive construction

You might ask, what's about all the other verbs? You can apply the same rules for them, too and
it would be grammatically perfect German but it's quite sure that people won't understand you or look at you
rather sceptically.

The reason is that the "real" Konjunktiv II has disappeared more and more out of the German language.
Nowadays, people use for all verbs (except the 9 verbs above) the "würde + infinitive construction" instead
of the "real" Konjunktiv II.

example

The "real" Konjunktiv II of the verb gehen (to go) is:

Infinitiv ich du er / sie / es wir ihr sie Englisch

gehen ginge gingest ginge gingen ginget gingen go

That's grammatically 100% correct but I've never said in my life "du gingest" or "ihr ginget".
Instead we use the "würde + infinitive construction".

Infinitiv ich du er / sie / es wir ihr sie Englisch

gehen würde würdest würde würden würdet würden go


gehen gehen gehen gehen gehen gehen

The general rule to form the "würde + infinitive construction" is:

• conjugate "würden"
• add the infinitive form of the verb

Konjunktiv II in the past tense

So far, we just spoke about using the Konjunktiv II in the present tense.
To make it complete I'd like to show how it's formed in the past tense.

All you have to do is to combine your knowledge of the "Perfekt" tense and what you learned so far about the
Konjunktiv II.
The Perfekt tense is formed with: helping verb (haben or sein) + Partizip II of the main verb.
You keep the Partizip II of the main verb and you just transform the helping verb in the Konjunktiv II.

Indikativ sentence - "Perfekt" tense Konjunktiv II sentence - past tense

Ich habe gelernt. (=I learned.) Ich hätte gelernt. (=I would have learned.)

Ich war gewesen. (=I was.) Ich wäre gewesen. (=I would have been.)

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Konjunktiv
Theorie

The Konjunktiv II - past tense can only be formed in this way. There is no Präteritum form.
The word order is the same as in "normal" Perfekt sentences.

further examples:

• Ich wünschte, ich wäre hier gewesen. (I wish I would have been here.) [wishful thinking]

• Ich wünschte, ich hätte meine Hausaufgaben gemacht. (I wish I would have done my homework.)
[wishful thinking]

• Ich hätte sie zum Krankenhaus gebracht, wenn ich dort gewesen wäre. (I would have taken her
to hospital if I had been there.) [conditional sentence]

• Wir hätten keine gemeinsame Zukunft gehabt, wenn ich nach England gegangen wäre. (We
wouldn't have had a common future if I had gone to England.) [conditional sentence]

An exception are sentences in the Konjunktiv II - past tense form which contain a modal verb.
Sentences like this are in my oppinion the most difficult grammatical constructions.
I just want to give you the rule here. I won't torture you with exercises of this special topic.

You form the Konkunktiv II - past tense which contain modals verbs with:
helping verb (haben or sein) in the Konjunktiv II form + main verb in the infinitive form + modal verb

examples:

• Ich wünschte, ich hätte dir helfen können. (I wish I could have helped you.) [wishful thinking]

• Ich hätte weniger zu Hause lernen müssen, wenn ich dem Lehrer zugehört hätte. (I would have
had to study less at home if I had listened to the teacher.) [conditional sentence]

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 5


Imperativ
Theorie

learning target

Aim of this section is to learn how to ask somebody for something, to warn somebody, to make a request, to
give somebody an advice, instructions or a command.

Deutsch Englisch

favour Bitte schreib mir. Please, write to me.


warning Iss das nicht! Don't eat that!
advice Frag lieber noch mal. You'd better ask again.
request Geben Sie mir bitte das Formular. Give me the form, please.
instructions Nehmen Sie jeden Tag zwei Tabletten. Take two pills a day.
command Hören Sie zu! Listen to me!

rules

You can address your request, suggestion, command and so on to three different "people":
• du (single person; informal way)
• Sie (single person or several people; formal way)
• ihr (several people; informal way)

Imperative form for "du"

1.) Just use the conjugated form of the verb for "du" without the ending "st".
machen (infinitive) -> du machst -> mach! (imperative)

• Lern fleißig. (Learn diligently.)


• Komm mit. (Come with me.)
• Sag mal. (Tell me.)

2.) Verbs in which the stem ends with "t", "d", "ig", "chn", "dn", "bn", "fn", "gn", "dm" or "tm"require an
additional "e" after the stem.

• Arbeite schneller! (Work faster!)


• Warte bitte. (Please, wait.)
• Entschuldige dich! (Apologise!)

3.) Verbs which end with "ern" or "eln" require also an additional "e" after the stem.

• Erinnere dich! (Remeber!)


• Verbessere deine Leistung. (Improve your performance!)
• Lächle ! (Smile!)

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 1


Imperativ
Theorie

4.) Vowel changing verbs with "e -> i" and "e -> ie" keep the vowel change in the imperative form; vowel
changing verbs with "a -> ä" don't. Here the "a" doesn't change to "ä".

• Sprich bitte langsam. (Speak slowly, please.)


• Vergiss das nicht! (Don't forget this!)
• Schlaf schön. (Sleep well.)

5.) For separable verbs apply the same rules you learned already in section “Trennbare Verben”.
• split up the prefix from the verb
• bring the verb into the imperative form
• put the prefix at the end of the sentence

• Steh bitte auf. (Stand up, please.)


• Ruf mich an!. (Call me!)
• Hör mir zu!. (Listen to me!)

Imperative form for "Sie"

Just use the infinitive from of the verb.

• Sprechen Sie bitte langsam. (Speak slowly, please.)


• Warten Sie! (Wait!)
• Nehmen Sie mein Buch. (Take my book.)

Consider that the imperative form for "Sie" always includes the pronoun "Sie" and is always places after the
verb.

Imperative form for "ihr"

Just use the conjugated form of the verb for "ihr".

• Sprecht bitte langsam. (Speak slowly, please.)


• Antwortet ! (Answer!)
• Kommt zu mir. (Come to me.)

How to say "be something"?


The verb "be" has its own rules. If you want to express that somebody should be punctual, honest and so on
use these expressions:

person form of "be"

du Sei ehrlich! (Be honest!)


Sie Seien Sie ehrlich! (Be honest!)
ihr Seid ehrlich! (Be honest!)
wir * Seien wir ehrlich! (Let us be honest!)

* Consider that you can also give this advice to a group which includes yourself.

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Imperativ
Theorie

How to make a command sound less impolite / strong / bossy?


If you say to somebody: Warte! to make him/her wait for you, then this sounds very bossy. If you just add a
"filling-word" you can make your statement much more polite. Of course, adding "Bitte" to your statement
always sounds more polite.

filling word How to say "wait for me"


in a polite way?
mal Warte mal! (wait for me!)
doch Warte doch! (wait for me!)
bitte Warte bitte ! (Please, wait!)

examples

Infinitiv "du" "Sie" "ihr" Englisch

"be", "have" and "will"

sein sei seien Sie seid be

haben hab haben Sie habt have

werden werde werden Sie werdet will

examples for point 1: standard verbs

atmen atme atmen Sie atmet breathe

beginnen beginn beginnen Sie beginnt begin

bleiben bleib bleiben Sie bleibt stay

bringen bring bringen Sie bringt bring

drücken drück drücken Sie drückt hug / push

denken denk denken Sie denkt think

fragen frag fragen Sie fragt ask

gehen geh gehen Sie geht go

kommen komm kommen Sie kommt come

küssen küss küssen Sie küsst kiss

lernen lern lernen Sie lernt learn

lügen lüg lügen Sie lügt lie

nehmen nimm nehmen Sie nehmt take

rechnen rechne rechnen Sie rechnet calculate

rufen ruf rufen Sie ruft call

sagen sag sagen Sie sagt say

schließen schließ schließen Sie schließt close

schreiben schreib schreiben Sie schreibt write

singen sing singen Sie singt sing

sitzen sitz sitzen Sie sitzt sit

stehen steh stehen Sie steht stand

übersetzen übersetz übersetzen Sie übersetzt translate

überzeugen überzeugen überzeugen Sie überzeugt convince

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Imperativ
Theorie

examples for point 2: verbs in which the stem ends with "t", "d", "ig", ...

antworten antworte antworten Sie antwortet answer

beleidigen beleidige beleidigen Sie beleidigt offend

entscheiden entscheide entscheiden Sie entscheidet decide

entschuldigen entschuldige entschuldigen Sie entschuldigt apologise

finden finde finden Sie findet find

halten halt halten Sie haltet hold

öffnen öffne öffnen Sie öffnet open

treten tritt treten Sie tretet step

warten warte warten Sie wartet wait

examples for point 3: verbs which end with "ern" or "eln"

ärgern ärgere ärgern Sie ärgert get angry

erinnern erinnerne erinnern Sie erinnert remember

handeln handele handeln Sie handelt act / trade

lächeln lächle lächeln Sie lächelt smile

verbessern verbessere verbessern Sie verbessert improve

zweifeln zweifele zweifeln Sie zweifelt doubt

examples for point 4: vowel changing verbs (e -> i; e -> ie)

essen iss essen Sie esst eat

geben gib geben Sie gebt give

helfen hilf helfen Sie helft help

lesen lies lesen Sie lest read

sehen sieh sehen Sie seht see

sprechen sprich sprechen Sie sprecht speak

vergessen vergiss vergessen Sie vergesst forget

versprechen versprich versprechen Sie versprecht promise

examples for point 4: no vowel change (a)

fahren fahr fahren Sie fahrt drive

lassen lass lassen Sie lasst let

raten rate raten Sie ratet guess

schlafen schlaf schlafen Sie schlaft sleep

tragen trag tragen Sie tragt carry

waschen wasch waschen Sie wascht wash

examples for point 5: separable verbs

anrufen ruf an rufen Sie an ruft an call (phone)

anfangen fang an fangen Sie an fangt an start

aufwachen wach auf wachen Sie auf wacht auf wake up

herkommen komm her kommen Sie her kommt her come here

mitbringen bring mit bringen Sie mit bringt mit bring along

mitkommen komm mit kommen Sie mit kommmt zu come along

zugeben gib zu geben Sie zu gebt zu admit

* verbs which are an exception of the rule are underlined

© Thomas Höfler 2005 – 2009 4