Verb Tenses – More Details

Verb Tenses–More Details

Präsens [Present Tense]

Verbs whose stem ends in a -t

Such verbs add an -est instead of just a -st in the du-form, and an -et instead of just a -t in the er/sie/es and ihr-forms.  No need to dwell on this, since you’ll automatically do it, e.g. “er/sie/es arbeitt” sounds weird, so you’ll know to say “er/sie/es arbeitet” (and similarly “ihr arbeitet“) instead.

For the same reason, verbs whose stem ends in an -m or -n add an -e before the du-, er/sie/es and ihr-endings when they are preceded by certain consonants.  Again, this will be obvious to you: “es regnt” sounds bizarre, so you’ll automatically say “es regnet,” “du widmst” will look wrong to you even if you’ve never seen this verb, so you’ll know to say “du widmest” instead.  On the other hand, “du schwärmst” or “es klingelt” sound fine without inserting an “e,” so you don’t.

Verbs whose stem ends in a -d also follow the same pattern [e.g. leiden [=to suffer]: er/sie/es leidet, ihr leidet], but there is one notable exception: einladen [=to invite]: du lädst ein, er/sie/es lädt ein–but the ihr-form does add the-et: ihr ladet ein.


This verb takes endings like a modal verb, and has a stem change (i ==> ei) in the first, second and third person singular, instead of just the second and third person singular:

wissen to know (a fact)
ich weiß wir wissen
du weißt ihr wisst
er/sie/es weiß sie/Sie wissen


This verb is not really irregular in the present tense, but looks confusing, so here are its forms:

tun to do
ich tue wir tun
du tust ihr tut
er/sie/es tut sie/Sie tun

Do you?

Yes/No questions are often introduced by the auxiliary verb “do” in English.  In German, yes/no questions are simply asked by putting the verb in front of the subject. The same applies to other kinds of questions involving ‘do,” as in the last example below:

Do you feel like I do? Fühlst du dich wie ich?
Do you know where you’re going to? Weißt du, wohin du gehst?
Do you like the things that life is showing you? Magst du die Dinge, die das Leben dir zeigt?
Where do you go, my lovely? Wohin gehst du, mein Liebling?

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