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Basic patterns in German language

Verb forms in the present tense


In English, verbs take no endings except for the third person singular in the present tense, but German has more endings for verbs in the present tense than English.
 

Verb formation in the present tense:
Most verbs in German follow this regular pattern (verb ends in "e" or "en") where the ending is simply added to the stem of the verb: You take the stem of a verb and then add the required ending. The stem is the form of the infinitive without -en or -n.
 

Person
stem + Ending
ich ("I")
-e
du ("you", informal use)
-st
Sie ("you", formal use)
-en
er/sie/es ("he/she/it)
-t
wir ("we")
-en
ihr ("you", informal use)
-t
Sie ("you", formal use)
-en
sie ("they")
-en

 

Verb formation (irregular verbs) in the present tense - Irregular verbs with vowel changes:
There is a group of verbs where the vowel in the stem changes in the present tense. These changes affect only in the "du" and "er/sie/es" forms and it is best to learn these verbs.

  • Changes from "a" to "ä"  in the "du" and "er/sie/es" forms ("du trägst", "er/sie/es trägt")
Infinitive
Stem
English
fahren
fahr
to drive
halten
halt
to stop
tragen
trag
to carry
waschen
wasch
to wash

 
  • Changes from "e" to "i" in the "du" and "er/sie/es" forms ("du gibst", "er/sie/es gibt")
Infinitive
Stem
English
geben
geb
to give
helfen
helf
to help
treffen
treff
to meet
werfen
werf
to throw

 
  • Changes from "e" to "ie" in the "du" and "er/sie/es" forms ("du siehst, er/sie/es sieht")
Infinitive Stem English
empfehlen empfehl to recommend
lesen les to read
sehen seh to see

Note:
All this verbs are irregular verbs and you can find a list of irregular verbs (also called strong verbs) in the dictionaries



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