Conjugation of german verbs in past tense (examples – perfect tense – “haben” and “sein”)

 

German perfect tense

The perfect tense is formed with the help of the two auxiliary verbs haben“ (to have) or „sein“ (to be) and the past participle of the verb we want to conjugate

First of all we have to learn the conjugation ot the two auxiliary verbs "haben" and "sein" in present tense

 

haben = to have

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe = I have

wir haben= we have

Person II

du hastyou have

ihr habt = you have

Person III

er, sie, es hat = he, she, it has

 

sie haben = they have

 

Sie haben = you have (polite pronoun)

 

sein = to be 

Singular

Plural

Persoana I

ich bin = I am

wir sind = we are

Persoana a II-a

du bistyou are

ihr seid = you are

Persoana a III-a

er, sie, es ist = he, she, it is

 

sie sind = they are

 

Sie sind= you are (polite pronoun)

 

1. Conjugation of regular verbs with „haben“ (perfect tense)

The past participle is formed by adding to *the root of the verb the prefix ge-” and the ending “-t” . 

*The root of the verb is obtained by eliminating the ending "-en" of the infinitive verb.

 

The rule is:

spielen“ (to play) - „haben“ + „ge-„ + spielen + „-t“ for 1st person singular it results: Ich habe gespielt (I have played)

spielen = to play

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe gespielt = I have played

wir haben gespielt = we have played

Person II

du hast gespielt = you have played

ihr habt gespielt = you have played

Person III

er, sie, es hat gespielt= he, she, it has played

 

 

sie haben gespielt = they have played

 

Sie haben gespielt = you have played (polite pronoun)

 

kaufen = to buy

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe gekauft= I have bought

wir haben gekauft = we have bought

Person II

du hast gekauftyou have bought

ihr habt gekauft = you have bought

Person III

er, sie, es hat gekauft= he, she, it has bought

 

 

sie haben gekauft = they have bought

 

Sie haben gekauft = you have bought (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 “arbeiten” = to work

The rule is: „ge-“ + arbeiten + e + the ending -t“ results gearbeitet

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe gearbeitet = I have worked

wir haben gearbeitet = we have worked

Person II

du hast gearbeitet = you have worked

ihr habt gearbeitet = you have worked

Person III

er, sie, es hat gearbeitet = he, she, it, has worked

 

 

sie haben gearbeitet = they have worked

 

Sie haben gearbeitet = you have worked (polite pronoun)

 

The same way with „reden“ = to ralk

 

reden = to talk

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe geredet = I have talked

wir haben geredet = we have talked

Person II

du hast geredet = you have talked

ihr habt geredet = you have talked

Person III

er, sie, es hat geredet = he, she, it has talked

 

 

sie haben geredet = they have talked

 

Sie haben geredet = you have talked (polite pronoun)

 

 

2. Conjugation of irregular verbs with „haben“ (perfect tense)

The past participle of the irregular verbs is formed by adding the prefix "ge-" and the ending "-en" to the root of the verb.

-    most of the irregular verbs, during conjugation, change their vowel.

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. 

sehen = to see

ge-“ + sehen results gesehen

The rule is: “haben” + “ge-“ + sehen, results 1st person singular Ich habe gesehen (I have seen)

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe gesehen = I have seen

wir haben gesehen = we have seen

Person II

du hast gesehen = you have seen

ihr habt gesehen = you have seen

Person III

er, sie, es hat gesehen = he, she, it has seen

 

 

sie haben gesehen = they have seen

 

Sie haben gesehen = you have seen (polite pronoun)

No vowel change in this example!

Let's conjugate a verb that changes it's vowel:

sprechen = to talk

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe gesprochen = I have talked

wir haben gesprochen = we have talked

Person II

du hast gesprochen = you have talked

ihr habt gesprochen = you have talked

Person III

er, sie, es hat gesprochen = he, she, it has talked

 

 

sie haben gesprochen = they have talked

 

Sie haben gesprochen = you have talked

 

Another verb which changes it's vowel: „helfen“ (to help)

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich habe geholfen = I have helped

wir haben geholfen = we have helped

Person II

du hast geholfen = you have helped

ihr habt geholfen = you have helped

Person III

er, sie, es hat geholfen = he, she, it has helped

 

 

sie haben geholfen = they have helped

 

Sie haben geholfen = you have helped 9polite pronoun)

 

 

 

3. Conjugation of regular verbs with „sein“ (perfect tense)

In perfect tense some verbs conjugated with "sein" keep their infinitive form and get only the prefic "-ge", others get the prefix "ge-" and also the ending "-t". Most of the verbs conjugated with "sein" change their vowel.

Examples:

fahren = to drive

The rule is: „sein“ + „ge-“ + fahren

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich bin gefahren = I have driven

wir sind gefahren = we have driven

Person II

du bist gefahren = you have driven

ihr seid gefahren = you have driven

Person III

er, sie, es ist gefahren = he, she, it has driven

 

 

sie sind gefahren = they have driven

 

Sie sind gefahren = you have driven (polite pronoun)

 

 

sterben = to die

The rule is: „sein“ + „ge-„ + sterben (change of vowel: “e” becomes “o”)

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich bin gestorben = I have died

wir sind gestorben = we have died

Person II

du bist gestorben = you have died

ihr seid gestorben = you have died

Person III

er, sie, es ist gestorben = he, she, it has died

 

 

sie sind gestorben = they have died

 

Sie sind gestorben = you have died (polite pronoun)

 

gelingen = to succeed

„sein“ + gelingen (change of vowel: „i“ becomes „u“)

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich bin gelungen = I have succeeded

wir sind gelungen = we have secceeded

Person II

du bist gelungen = you have succeeded

ihr seid gelungen = you have succeeded

Person III

er, sie, es ist gelungen = he, she, it has succeeded

 

 

sie sind gelungen = they have succeeded

 

Sie sind gelungen = you have succeeded (polite pronoun)

 

springen = to jump

„sein“ + „ge-„ + springen (change of vowel: „i“ becomes „u“)

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich bin gesprungen = I have jumped

wir sind gesprungen = we have jumped

Person II

du bist gesprungen = you have jumped

ihr seid gesprungen = you have jumped

Person III

er, sie, es ist gesprungen = he, she, it has jumped

 

 

sie sind gesprungen = they have jumped

 

Sie sind gesprungen = you have jumped (polite pronoun)

 

aufwachen (to wake up) - it is a compund verb, it's conjugation is a bit different

Rule: we separate the verb in „auf“ and „wachen“ between them we introduce „-ge-„.

We get: „sein“ + „auf“ + „-ge-“ + wachen + „-t“, results 1st person singular: Ich bin aufgewacht.

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich bin aufgewacht = I have woken up

wir sind aufgewacht = we have woken up

Person II

du bist aufgewacht = you have woken up

ihr seid aufgewacht = you have woken up

Person III

er, sie, es ist aufgewacht = he, she, it has woken up

 

 

sie sind aufgewacht = they have woken up

 

 

Sie sind aufgewacht = you have woken up (polite pronoun)

 

einschlafen (to fall asleep)

Rule: we separate the verb in „ein“ and „schlafen“ between them we introduce „-ge-„

We get: „sein“ + „ein“ + „-ge-„ + schlafen

 

Singular

Plural

Person I

ich bin eingeschlafen = I have fallen asleep

wir sind eingeschlafen = we have fallen asleep

Person II

du bist eingeschlafen = you have fallen asleep

ihr seid eingeschlafen = you have fallen asleep

Person III

er, sie, es ist eingeschlafen = he, she, it has fallen asleep

 

 

sie sind eingeschlafen = they have fallen asleep

 

 

Sie sind eingeschlafen = you have fallen a sleep (polite pronoun)

 

Try to conjugate other verbs the same way!