Verb Conjugation Basics Download

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Verb Conjugation Basics
An infinitive is a verb in it’s dictionary form. A finite verb is one that has been conjugated to
match it’s subject. Subjects and verbs must always be in agreement.
German has two main types of verbs, regular and irregular. Regular verbs are conjugated by
dropping the –en or –n suffix from an infinitive and adding one of the endings shown below) to the
stem. The endings are categorized according to which subject pronoun they match, and are usually
memorized in this order. We also call them the “icky-dust-ten-ten” endings.
ich ...................... -e
du........................ -st
er/sie/es ............ -t
wir....................... -en
ihr ....................... -t
sie........................ -en
Sie ....................... en
ich
du
er/sie/es
Sie
EXAMPLE: SCHWIMMEN (TO SWIM)
schwimm + e
wir
schwimm + st
ihr
schwimm + t
sie
schwimmen
schwimm + en
schwimm + t
schwimm + en
Note: If a stem ends in -d, -t, or certain consonant clusters, an ‘e’ must be added to the du,
er/sie/es, and ihr endings to help with pronunciation. Also, if a stem ends in an -s, -β or -z, no -s is
added in the du form (i.e. heiβen, du heiβt – not du heiβst)
Irregular verbs do not follow this pattern and must be memorized individually. They nearly always
show their irregularity as a vowel and/or consonantal change in the du and er/sie/es forms.
ich
du
er/sie/es
Sie
EXAMPLE: GEBEN (TO GIVE)
gebe
wir
gibst
ihr
gibt
sie
geben
geben
gebt
geben
The most commonly used verb in both English and German ‘to be’, or ‘sein’. In German it is an
extremely irregular verb in that it shows irregularity for all subject pronouns. Compare the English
to the German forms below:
ich
du
er/sie/es
Sie
bin
bist
ist
(I am) wir
(you are) ihr
( he/she/it is) sie
sind
sind
seid
sind
(You are)
(we are)
(y’all are)
(they are)