Conjugation of German verbs in past tense (examples – imperfect tense)


Conjugation of regular verbs (imperfect tense)

It is fomed with the help of the following endings after the elimination of "-en"

· -te” - 1st person singular

· -test” - 2nd person singular

·  „-te” - 3rd person singular

·  „-ten“ - 1st person plural

·  „-tet“ - 2nd person plural

· -ten“ - 3rd person plural

sagen = to say

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich sagte = I said

wir sagten = we said

Person II

du sagtest you said

ihr sagtet = you said

Person III

er, sie, es sagte = he, she, it said

 

sie sagten = they said

 

Sie sagten = you said (polite pronoun)

 

fragen = to ask

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich fragte = I asked

wir fragten = we asked

Person II

du fragtest you asked

ihr fragtet = you asked

Person III

er, sie, es fragte = he, she, it said

 

sie fragten = they asked

 

Sie fragten = you asked (polite pronoun)

 

spielen = to play

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich spielte = I played

wir spielten = we played

Person II

du spieltest you played

ihr spieltet = you played

Person III

er, sie, es spielte = he, she, it played

 

sie spielten = they played

 

Sie spielten = you played (polite pronoun)

 

The same way with all other regular verbs: lernen (to learn), bauen (to construct), springen (to jump), machen (to do), spielen (to play), suchen (to search), tanzen (to dance), kochen (to cook), besichtigen (to visit) etc. 

 

 

There is a category of verbs in the frame of both regular and irregular verbs wich conjugation is made a bit differently

This verbs, after the elimination of the ending "-en", if they are ending in “t”, “d”,” m” or “n” we introduce the vowel "e" between the root and the endings for all persons singular and plural.

Examples of this kind of verbs: antworten = to answer; arbeiten = to work; atmen = to breathe; begegnen = to meet;beobachten = to observe; bilden = toformulate; bitten = to invite; finden = to find; heiraten = to marry; mieten = to rent;öffnen = to open; rechnen = to calculate; reden = to speak; retten = to save; trocknen = to get dry; warten = to wait;zeichnen = to draw etc.

 

Let's conjugate the verb “arbeiten” = to work

The rule is:

arbeiten + e + an ending for each person singular and plural

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich arbeitete = I worked

wir arbeiteten = we worked

Person II

du arbeitetest = you worked

ihr arbeitetet= you worked

Person III

er, sie, es arbetete = he, she, it worked

sie arbeiteten= they worked

 

Sie arbeiteten = you worked (polite pronoun)

 

The same way with „warten“ = to wait

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich wartete = I waited

wir warteten = we waited

Person II

du wartetest = you waited

ihr wartetet= you waited

Person III

er, sie, es wartete = he, she, it waited

 

sie warteten= they waited

 

Sie warteten = you waited (polite pronoun)

 

reden = to talk

 

Singular

Plural

Persoana I

ich redete = I talked

wir redeten = we talked

Persoana a II-a

du redetest = you talked

ihr redetet = you talked

Persoana a III-a

er, sie, es redete = he, she, it talked

 

sie redeten= they talked

 

Sie redeten = you talked (polite pronoun)

 

Conjugation of irregular verbs (imperfect tense)

 

In imperfect tense the irregular verbs, during conjugation won't get any endings for 1st and 3rd person singular. They also chage their vowels.

Some irregular verbs: sehen (to see), essen (to eat), helfen (to help), geben (to give), sprechen (to speak), lesen (to read), schlafen (to sleep), fahren (to drive), nehmen (to take) etc.

 The endings of irregular verbs in imperfect tense, are

· -” - 1st person singular

· -st” - 2nd person singular

·  „-” - 3rd person singular

·     „-en“ - 1st person plural

·  „-(e)t“ - 2nd person plural

· -en“ - 3rd person plural

sehen = to see

rule: sehen + an ending from above

Observation: a vowel change will take place e → a

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich sah = I saw

wir sahen = we saw

Person II

du sahst = you saw

ihr saht = you saw

Person III

er, sie, es sah= he, she it saw

 

sie sahen= they saw

 

Sie sahen = you saw (polite pronoun)

 

geben = to give

e → a

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich gab = I gave

wir gaben = we gave

Person II

du gabst = you gave

ihr gabt = you gave

Person III

er, sie, es gab = he, she, it gave

 

sie gaben= they gave

 

Sie gaben = you gave (polite pronoun)

 

sprechen = to speak

e → a

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich sprach = I spoke

wir sprachen = we spoke

Person II

du sprachst = you spoke

ihr spracht = you spoke

Person III

er, sie, es sprach = he, she, it spoke

 

sie sprachen= they spoke

 

Sie sprachen = you spoke (polite pronoun)

 

Try to conjugate other verbs the same way!