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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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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. 

Conjugation of German verbs in the present tense

To conjugate German verbs in the present tense, we remove the infinitive ending -en and add the following endings:


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

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