The present tense is used in many situations. By using it the speaker declares or describes a situation in the present. The table shows you situations in which the present tense is used.
|If a fact is described||Die Kinder feiern Geburtstag.||The kids celebrate a birthday.|
|If an action takes place, never takes place or is repeated constantly||Er lernt jeden Montag Trompete.||He practices the trumpet every monday.|
|If you want to describe for how long an action has been repeated||Er lernt seit 4 Jahren Trompete.||He practices trumpet since 4 years.|
|If future actions have been already planned||Er gibt in zwei Wochen ein Konzert.||He has a concert in two weeks.|
|If two things happen at the same time||Er sagt, dass er müde ist.||He says that he is tired.|
|If something historical should be emphasized||Der Mann lag am Strand. Plötzlich hört er ein Geräusch.||The man lay on the beach. Suddenly he hears a noise.|
If you see some certain words in a sentence, you can be sure that the present tense is the right tense to use. Find some examples of marker words in the table below.
|jeden Tag/jedes Jahr||every day/year|
|in zwei Wochen/in drei Jahren||in two weeks/three years|
Here are some example sentences:
A verb has to be declined according to the subject it refers to. The declension of regular verbs ending on -en are marked in the table below. Look at the example of the verb kommen. The word stem is komm- .
|er/ sie/ es||kommt|
Some German verbs are conjugated irregularly. See the most common used verbs in the table below:
|Subject||sein (to be)||werden (to become)||haben (to have)||wissen (to know)|
|er / sie / es||ist||wird||hat||weiß|
|sie / Sie||sind||werden||haben||wissen|
Other examples of irregular cojugated verbs are:
Conjugation of verbs with stems that ends in a sibilant (s, ss, ß, z)
Word stem ends in - m, -t, d, n
Conjugation of verbs with the infinitive ending with -n
See the explanation and some examples to every exception in the small chapters below.
For the declension of this irregular verbs, there is no logical rule. You just have to learn them by heart.
If the word stem of a verb ends on s, ss, ß or z, the second person singular (du / you) only adds an -t and not -st, like in the example before. The table shows you the construction with the example of the verb heißen. The word stem is heiß-. The other forms are built regularly.
|er/ sie/ es||heißt|
This rule exist, because otherwise, the words would be very difficult to pronounce. 'Heißt' is much more easier to pronounce than 'heißst'.
Verbs with word stems ending on these letters are for example: atmen, rechnen, arbeiten. See in the table how you insert the "e" in the correct way.
|er/ sie/ es||arbeitet|
The -e endings are inserted as a 'bumper'. Otherwise the words would sound uncomely, like for instance 'du arbeitst', or 'er arbeitt'.
Some verbs only end with -n rather than on -en in their infinitive. For example: klingeln, bügeln, lächeln. They are conjugated in a different way.
|er/ sie/ es||sammelt|
Some strong verbs exist of a, au or e. In total, there are four types of stem changes: a to ä, au to äu, e to i, e to ie. See some examples in the table below.
|Stem change||a -> ä||au -> äu||e -> i||e -> ie|
|er / sie / es||fährt||läuft||spricht||sieht|
|sie / Sie||fahren||laufen||sprechen||sehen|
As you can see, those vowel changes only happen in the 2nd and 3rd person singular. Besides the vowel change, the endings of the words are regularly.
Modal verbs are used to express the personal attitude about a happening. There are six modal verbs that also have vowel changes in their present declension.
|Stem change||ü -> a||ö -> a||ü -> u||o -> i||ö -> a|
|er / sie / es||darf||kann||muss||soll||will||mag|
|sie / Sie||dürfen||können||müssen||sollen||wollen||mögen|
With the modal verbs, only the persons in singular (ich, du, er, sie, es, Sie) change their word stem.
Now, that you have learned about the present tense, try to deepen your knowledge with our exercises.
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