Present Tense - Regular Forms

 

What you should know about regular verbs in the Present Tense:

The conjugation of the regular verbs (also called "weak verbs") is easy in the German language. Most of the German verbs are regular. The stem vocal of the regular verbs remains the same in all forms, in the singular and plural forms. We use the stem of the verb and put the following endings at the end of the verb stem:

Form German Endings Phonetic Script English
infinitive verstehen   [fɛɐ'ʃte:ən] to understand
1. person singular ich verstehe -e ç fɛɐ'ʃte:ə] I understand
2. person singular du verstehst -st [du: fɛɐ'ʃte:st] you understand
3. person singular er/sie/es versteht -t [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs fɛɐ'ʃte:t] he/she/it understands
1. person plural wir verstehen -en [vi:ə fɛɐ'ʃte:ən] we understand
2. person plural ihr versteht -t [i:ə fɛɐ'ʃte:t] you understand
3. person plural sie verstehen -en [zi: fɛɐ'ʃte:ən] they understand
polite form (singular + plural) Sie verstehen -en [zi: fɛɐ'ʃte:ən] you understand

 

Exceptions:

 

1. Verbs whose stem ends in -d, -t, -m or -n

If the verb stem ends in -d, -t, -m or -n, an additional e is often put in front of the ending in the 2. and 3. person singular and the 2. person plural.

Only when the stem vocal changes, there is no additional e in the 2. and 3. person singular. This is the case with the verbs fechten (du fichtst, er/sie/es ficht) or flechten (du flichtst, er/sie/es flicht). As these verbs are strong verbs, you find them in the list of the irregular verbs.

  Examples:      
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive finden ['fɪndən] to find
  1. person singular ich finde ç 'fɪndə] I find
  2. person singular (familiar) du findest [du: 'fɪndəst] you find
  3. person singular er/sie/es findet [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs 'fɪndət] he/she/it finds
  1. person plural wir finden [vi:ə 'fɪndən] we find
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr findet [i:ə 'fɪndət] you find
  3. person plural sie finden [zi: 'fɪndən] they find
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie finden [zi: 'fɪndən] you find
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive bitten ['bɪtən] to beg/ask for
  1. person singular ich bitte ç 'bɪtə] I beg
  2. person singular (familiar) du bittest [du: 'bɪtəst] you beg
  3. person singular er/sie/es bittet [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs 'bɪtət] he/she/it begs
  1. person plural wir bitten [vi:ə 'bɪtən] we beg
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr bittet [i:ə 'bɪtət] you beg
  3. person plural sie bitten [zi: 'bɪtən] they beg
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie bitten [zi: 'bɪtən] you beg
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive atmen ['a:tmən] to breathe
  1. person singular ich atme ç 'a:tmə] I breathe
  2. person singular (familiar) du atmest [du: 'a:tməst] you breathe
  3. person singular er/sie/es atmet [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs 'a:tmət] he/she/it breathes
  1. person plural wir atmen [vi:ə 'a:tmən] we breathe
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr atmet [i:ə 'a:tmət] you breathe
  3. person plural sie atmen [zi: 'a:tmən] they breathe
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie atmen [zi: 'a:tmən] you breathe
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive öffnen ['œfnən] to open
  1. person singular ich öffne ç 'œfnə] I open
  2. person singular (familiar) du öffnest [du: 'œfnəst] you open
  3. person singular er/sie/es öffnet [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs 'œfnət] he/she/it opens
  1. person plural wir öffnen [vi:ə 'œfnən] we open
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr öffnet [i:ə 'œfnət] you open
  3. person plural sie öffnen [zi: 'œfnən] they open
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie öffnen [zi: 'œfnən] you open

However, the verbs whose stem ends in -lm, -ln, -rm or -rn, do not have the additional e. They are conjugated regularly, as the following examples show.

  Examples:      
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive filmen ['fɪlmən] to film
  1. person singular ich filme ç 'fɪlmə] I film
  2. person singular (familiar) du filmst [du: fɪlmst] you film
  3. person singular er/sie/es filmt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs fɪlmt] he/she/it films
  1. person plural wir filmen [vi:ə 'fɪlmən] we film
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr filmt [i:ə fɪlmt] you film
  3. person plural sie filmen [zi: 'fɪlmən] they film
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie filmen [zi: 'fɪlmən] you film
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive wärmen ['vɛrmən] to warm up
  1. person singular ich wärme ç 'vɛrmə] I warm up
  2. person singular (familiar) du wärmst [du: vɛrmst] you warm up
  3. person singular er/sie/es wärmt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs vɛrmt] he/she/it warms up
  1. person plural wir wärmen [vi:ə 'vɛrmən] we warm up
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr wärmt [i:ə vɛrmt] you warm up
  3. person plural sie wärmen [zi: 'vɛrmən] they warm up
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie wärmen [zi: 'vɛrmən] you warm up
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive lernen ['lɛrnən] to learn
  1. person singular ich lerne ç 'lɛrnə] I learn
  2. person singular (familiar) du lernst [du: lɛrnst] you learn
  3. person singular er/sie/es lernt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs lɛrnt] he/she/it learns
  1. person plural wir lernen [vi:ə 'lɛrnən] we learn
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr lernt [i:ə lɛrnt] you learn
  3. person plural sie lernen [zi: 'lɛrnən] they learn
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie lernen [zi: 'lɛrnən] you learn

 

2. Verbs whose stem ends in -s, -ß, -x or -z

If the verb stem ends in -s, -ß, -x or -z, the 2. person singular only gets the ending -t (instead of -st).

  Examples:      
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive reisen ['raizən] to travel
  1. person singular ich reise ç 'rai] I travel
  2. person singular (familiar) du reist [du: 'raist] you travel
  3. person singular er/sie/es reist [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs 'raist] he/she/it travels
  1. person plural wir reisen [vi:ə 'raizən] we travel
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr reist [i:ə 'raist] you travel
  3. person plural sie reisen [zi: 'raizən] they travel
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie reisen [zi: 'raizən] you travel
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive beißen ['baisən] to bite
  1. person singular ich beiße ç 'baisə] I bite
  2. person singular (familiar) du beißt [du: baist] you bite
  3. person singular er/sie/es beißt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs baist] he/she/it bites
  1. person plural wir beißen [vi:ə 'baisən] we bite
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr beißt [i:ə baist] you bite
  3. person plural sie beißen [zi: 'baisən] they bite
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie beißen [zi: 'baisən] you bite
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive faxen ['faksən] to fax
  1. person singular ich faxe ç 'faksə] I fax
  2. person singular (familiar) du faxt [du: fakst] you fax
  3. person singular er/sie/es faxt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs fakst] he/she/it faxes
  1. person plural wir faxen [vi:ə 'faksən] we fax
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr faxt [i:ə fakst] you fax
  3. person plural sie faxen [zi: 'faksən] they fax
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie faxen [zi: 'faksən] you fax
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive sitzen ['zɪtsən] to sit
  1. person singular ich sitze ç 'zɪtsə] I sit
  2. person singular (familiar) du sitzt [du: zɪtst] you sit
  3. person singular er/sie/es sitzt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs zɪtst] he/she/it sits
  1. person plural wir sitzen [vi:ə 'zɪtsən] we sit
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr sitzt [i:ə zɪtst] you sit
  3. person plural sie sitzen [zi: 'zɪtsən] they sit
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie sitzen [zi: 'zɪtsən] you sit

 

3. Verbs which end in -rn

Only some verbs end in -rn. The 1. and 3. person plural only have the ending -n (instead of
-en) like the infinitive.

  Example:      
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive ändern ['ɛndɐn] to change
  1. person singular ich ändere ç 'ɛndərə] I change
  2. person singular (familiar) du änderst [du: 'ɛndɐst] you change
  3. person singular er/sie/es ändert [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs 'ɛndɐt] he/she/it changes
  1. person plural wir ändern [vi:ə 'ɛndɐn] we change
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr ändert [i:ə 'ɛndɐt] you change
  3. person plural sie ändern [zi: 'ɛndɐn] they change
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie ändern [zi: 'ɛndɐn] you change

 

4. Verbs which end in -ln

With those verbs which end in -ln, the e in the 1. person singular is omitted. Besides, the 1. and 3. person plural only have the ending -n like the verbs which end in -rn.

  Example:      
         
  Form German Phonetic Script English
  infinitive lächeln ['lɛçəln] to smile
  1. person singular ich läch()le ç 'lɛçlə] I smile
  2. person singular (familiar) du lächelst [du: 'lɛçəlst] you smile
  3. person singular er/sie/es lächelt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs 'lɛçəlt] he/she/it smiles
  1. person plural wir lächeln [vi:ə 'lɛçəln] we smile
  2. person plural (familiar) ihr lächelt [i:ə 'lɛçəlt] you smile
  3. person plural sie lächeln [zi: 'lɛçəln] they smile
  polite form (singular + plural) Sie lächeln [zi: 'lɛçəln] you smile

 

As already mentioned, with some verbs, the stem vocal changes in the 2. and 3. person singular, sometimes even in the 1. person singular. These verbs are called strong verbs (="irregular verbs"). You will find a list of those verbs if you click on the button "Irregular Forms" above.