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Present tense in German grammar

How to use German Present tense


The present tense, also called simple present, talks about the present and future. We can translate it into one of the three English tenses: the simple present, present progressive and future with will or going to. It is the most commonly used tense in the German language.

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The German present tense, also known as "Präsens," is used to talk about things happening right now or actions that occur regularly. In this tense, verbs change based on who is performing the action. Here are some examples:

Ich-Form (I Form): Most verbs end in "-e"

Ich spiele Fußball. (I play soccer.)

Ich lese ein Buch. (I am reading a book.)

Du-Form (You Form): Most verbs end in "-st."

Du gehst zur Schule. (You go to school.)

Du isst Pizza. (You are eating pizza.)

Er/Sie/Es-Form (He/She/It Form): Most verbs end in "-t."

Er arbeitet hart. (He works hard.)

Sie tanzt gern. (She likes to dance.)

Wir-Form (We Form): Verbs end in "-en."

Wir besuchen Oma. (We visit Grandma.)

Wir trinken Tee. (We drink tea.)

Ihr-Form (You All Form): Most verbs end in "-t."

Ihr spielt Musik. (You all play music.)

Ihr fahrt Fahrrad. (You all ride bicycles.)

Sie/Sie-Form (They/Formal You Form): Like the Wir form, verbs end in "-en."

Sie lernen Deutsch. (They learn German. / You learn German.)

Sie reisen viel. (They travel a lot. / You travel a lot.)

Conjugation of German verbs in the present tense


Quick Tip: When conjugating regular verbs in the present tense, remember the endings: "-e," "-st," "-t," "-en," "-t," and "-en."

For most verbs, these endings are added to the verb's base form to match the subject.

We use the German present tense to express:

  • a fact in the present

Example: Das ist Lilli.

  • an action that happens once, repeatedly or never in the present.

Example: Jeden Morgen geht sie  schwimmen. Every morning she goes swimming.


  • an action that expresses how long something has been going on.

Das macht sie schon seit fünf Jahren. She has been doing that for five years.

  • a future action that is already planned or agreed upon.

Nächsten Montag um 16 Uhr hat ihre Mannschaft einen wichtigen Schwimmwettkampf. Next Monday at 4pm, her team has an important swim meet. 

The verbs sein to be and haben to have are irregular:

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