master german verbs

How to master german verbs

1.The three auxiliary verbs haben, sein and werden are irregular
The three auxiliary verbs are probably the most important German verbs: 

haben - to have

sein - to be

werden - to become
These verbs are irregular and must be learned by heart.

2. All German modal verbs are irregular 
German modal verbs are:

“können” – can, to be able to
“müssen” – must, to have to
“wollen” – to want to
“sollen” – should
“dürfen” – to be allowed to
“möchten” – would like to

In order to conjugate German modal verbs correctly, you should master the irregular verbs.

3. Many important verbs are irregular
The typical verbs denken, helfen, essen, laufen are irregular. 
If you mix up the conjugation of verbs, you can quickly be identified as a non-native speaker.  So imagine you hear someone say: "I goed" instead of "I went". That would be an indicator that this person is still learning English. That is why it is important to learn how to conjugate these verbs.

4. The difference between strong and weak verbs
There are three types of verbs : weak, strong and mixed. This is also the main reason why we say "Du läufst" und nicht "Du laufst".

Strong verbs
Strong verbs change their stem according to conjugation and also in the two past tenses.  Some of these stem changes in the present tense simply add an "ä" or an "ö" instead of an "a" or an "o". Other present tense word stems change completely. Strong verbs always have to be learned by heart.

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5. Learn the past tense of strong verbs 
First of all, you usually learn to conjugate the German irregular verbs in the present tense, directly after that, at best, you should also learn the verbs in the simple past. Often their forms in the past are just as irregular as those in the present. 
Important: All strong verbs in German use -en at the end of their stem to create the participle II.
"Ich habe gesehen." (I have seen.)
"Ich habe gegessen."  (I have eaten.)

6. Rules of mixed verbs 
A mixed verb is a verb that combines some characteristics of weak and strong verbs.  Important: Almost all mixed verbs are regular in the present tense, but in the past tense, they combine the ending of a weak verb ("-t" for past participle and "-te" for past tense) with the vowel change of a strong verb. 
Below are the most common mixed verbs.

"haben, hatte, gehabt"
"kennen, kannte, gekannt"
"wissen, wusste, gewusst" 
"denken, dachte, gedacht" 
"bringen, brachte, gebracht" 
"rennen, rannte, (bin) gerannt" 
"nennen, nannte, genannt"
"brennen, brannte, gebrannt"


7.  Important: verbs ending in "-ieren"
A verb ending in "-ieren" is one of a handful of important verbs that follow the pattern of weak verbs, with one exception. In the participle II form, instead of the "ge-" at the beginning, a "-t" is simply added to the end.

"Studieren" is formed in the past tense as "Ich habe studiert".

"probieren" is formed in the past tense as "Ich habe probiert".
"Argumentieren" is formed in the past tense as  "Ich habe argumentiert".