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German Tenses Cheat Sheet by

This is a sheet for the 6 tenses in german. Each will have an example of how to conjugate weak(regular) and strong(irregular) verbs, and when the tense is used.This should be read in the order of Present tense, Simple past, Present perfect/perfect tense, Past perfect, Future tense, Furture perfect.The PDF messes up the order and a lot of things overlap, i would suggest reading this here and not in the PDF.There will be a Dictionary at the bottom for refrence

Present tense (Präsens)

 

what it looks like in english

This tense is the only tense used for the present. The english equivalent for this:

example

Ich sage
I say
 
i am saying
---
---
ich gehe
i go
 
i am going
---
---
ich spreche
i speak
 
i am speaking

Regular verbs

regular verbs take the stem word and replace the -en/-n with a new ending depending on the pronoun used. when a verb ends in -en/-n it is in the infinitive state.

note,
- If the infinitive stem ends in –s, –ß, –x, or –z, the s of the du-ending is not needed
- if the infinitive stem ends in -d or -t the endings require an "­e" before they are added -st > -est

example

infinitive
finden
gehen
sitzen
machen
infinitive stem
find
geh
sitz
mach
ich
finde
gehe
sitze
mache
du
findest
gehst
sitzt
machst
er, sie, es
findet
geht
sitzt
macht
wir
finden
gehen
sitzen
machen
ihr
findet
geht
sitzt
macht
Sie, sie
finden
gehen
sitzen
machen

Irregular verbs

These verbs do not follow the same pattern, and must be memorised

example

infinitive
sein
haben
werden
wissen
ich
bin
habe
werde
weiß
du
bist
hast
wirdst
weißt
er,sie,es
ist
hat
wird
weißt
wir
sind
haben
werden
wissen
ihr
seid
habt
werdt
wisst
Sie,sie
sind
haben
werden
wissen

stem changing verbs

Some irregular verbs having a, au, or e in their infinitive stems.
There are four types of stem changes: a > ä, au > äu, e > i, and e > ie.

example

infinitive
fahren
laufen
sprechen
sehen
ich
fahre
laufe
spreche
sehe
du
fährst
läufst
sprichst
siehst
er,sie,es
fährt
läuft
spricht
sieht
wir
fahren
laufen
sprechen
sehen
ihr
fahrt
lauft
sprecht
seht
Sie, sie
fahren
laufen
sprechen
sehen

model verbs

Model verbs usually replace the umleted letter when conjug­ated. There are 6

Note
-sollen doesnt have a letter change but follows the same pattern

example

infinitive
dürfen
können
müssen
sollen
wollen
mögen
ich
darf
kann
muss
soll
will
mag
du
darfst
kannst
musst
sollst
willst
magst
er,sie,es
darf
kann
muss
soll
will
mag
wir
dürfen
können
müssen
sollen
wollen
mögen
ihr
dürft
könnt
müsst
sollt
wollt
mögt
Sie,sie
dürfen
können
müssen
sollen
wollen
mögen

Past Perfect (Plusq­uam­per­fekt)

 

what and when is it used?

The past perfect tense describes events or situations that comes before another point in the past that has been establ­ished through the present perfect or the simple past tenses. It is used to make it clear that one event happened before another in the past.

This tense is the same as present perfec­t(b­esides when it is used), but in this tense:
Haben > hatte
Sein > war

use the same conjug­ations as present perfect.
 

Simple Past (Präte­ritum)

 

what and when is it used?

Simple past is a way to talk in the past tense with as few verbs as possible. The simple past is often used in writing and isnt found commonly in everyday speech.

you might hear it in speech if:
- someone is telling you a story
- its more convient

Regular verbs follow a patten of endings. It is practi­cally the same as the present tense ending, but simple past will have an extra e or te as shown below:

example

infinitive
sagen
tanzen
putzen
spielen
ich
sagte
tanzte
putzte
spielte
du
sagtest
tanztest
putztest
spieltest
er,sie,es
sagte
tanzte
putzte
spielte
wir
sagten
tanzten
putzten
spielten
ihr
sagtet
tanztet
putztet
spieltet
Sie, sie
sagten
tanzten
putzten
spielten

Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs for simple past doesnt have much of a pattern, you have to remeber which verb is irregu­lar(if the stem change letters when conjug­ated) and which word you replace them with.

there is a rough pattern of changing the stem and adding either -st, -en, -t or nothing

example

infinitive
finden
sprechen
essen
fahren
ich
fand
sprache
fuhr
du
fandest
sprachst
aßest
fuhrst
er,sie,es
fand
sprach
fuhr
wir
fanden
sprachen
aßen
fuhren
ihr
fandet
sprachet
aßet
fuhrt
Sie,sie
fanden
sprachen
aßen
fuhren

Mixed verbs

when a mixed verb is conjugated in the simple past, it has the endings of weak verbs and has stem changes.

there arent many and make up a lot of common words, you will remember them through repeated use.

example

infinitive
haben
wissen
denken
bringen
ich
hatte
wusste
dachte
brachte
du
hattest
wusstest
dachtest
brachtest
er,sie,es
hatte
wusste
dachte
brachte
wir
hatten
wussten
dachten
brachten
ihr
hattet
wusstet
dachtet
brachtet
Sie,sie
hatten
wussten
dachten
brachten

Future tense (Futur 1)

 

how it works

When forming something that is future tense, you use the same rules as present perfect, instead of using haben or sein, you always use Werden

There are no new conjug­ations, use the Present tense conjug­ations.

this tense is used to express future intent­ions, although, in spoken German, it is more common to use the present tense for this.
 

Present Perfect (Perfekt)

 

what and when is it used?

This is also called the perfect tense. The tense is used to speak about actions completed in the recent past.

to use this tense you must use an auxiliary verb and a past participle verb

for the auxiliary verb itll be haben or sein

to turn a regular verb in a past participle verb, you must add ge- to the start, and -t to the end
(with the exeption of any regular verb that ends in -ieren)

example

infinitive
arbeiten
machen
fragen
reden
studieren
ich
gearbeitet
gemacht
gefragt
geredet
studiert
du
gearbeitet
gemacht
gefragt
geredet
studiert
er,sie,es
gearbeitet
gemacht
gefragt
geredet
studiert
wir
gearbeitet
gemacht
gefragt
geredet
studiert
ihr
gearbeitet
gemacht
gefragt
geredet
studiert
Sie,sie
gearbeitet
gemacht
gefragt
geredet
studiert

Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs follow the same pattern as regular verbs, but instead of adding -t, -en is added. The stem may also change

example

infinitive
helfen
nehmen
laufen
singen
ich
geholfen
genommen
gelaufen
gesungen
du
geholfen
genommen
gelaufen
gesungen
er,sie,es
geholfen
genommen
gelaufen
gesungen
wir
geholfen
genommen
gelaufen
gesungen
ihr
geholfen
genommen
gelaufen
gesungen
Sie, sie
geholfen
genommen
gelaufen
gesungen

Mixed verbs

mixed verbs use ge- prefix and -t suffix like regular verbs, but the stem may change like irregular verbs.

example

infinitive
brennen
bringen
kennen
ich
gebrannt
gebracht
gekannt
du
gebrannt
gebracht
gekannt
er,sie,es
gebrannt
gebracht
gekannt
wir
gebrannt
gebracht
gekannt
ihr
gebrannt
gebracht
gekannt
Sie,sie
gebrannt
gebracht
gekannt

Haben or Sein?

As was stated before, along with a verb you must also use a auxiliary verb. In this case, haben or sein.

When to use Sein:
- The verb “sein” in perfect tense (Ich bin gewesen – I have been)
- Verbs which describe that somebody or something physically moves to another place (fahren, schwimmen, fliegen, gehen, laufen etc.)
- Verbs which describe a change of state or a verb which normally cannot be performed in “passive” (bleiben, aufwachen, sterben, warden etc.)

When to use Haben:
- The verb “haben” in perfect tense (Ich habe gehabt – I have had)
- All the verbs which do not fulfill the requir­ements to be used with “sein”

Future Perfect (Futur 2)

 

how it works

The future perfect is uncommon in German. To form the future perfect in German, you take the past participle of the verb being conjugated and use the correct conjug­ation of werden. Then use the approp­riate verb(haben or sein) which is placed at then end of the sentence

The future perfect expresses the assumption that an action will have been completed by the time of speaking, or by a particular point in the future.

Resources

 

dictionary

auxiliary verb
a verb such as have, be, may, do, shall, will, can, or must

passive and active verbs

When the verb is passive, the subject undergoes the action rather than doing it
Brazil was beaten in the final.

When the verb is active, the subject of the verb is doing the action
France beats Brazil in the final.

test your conjug­ation

A good website to test your conjug­ation skills is German.net, it has 100 plus verbs that you can quiz yourself on and memorise. Its good because you can just chip away at it over time, i found myself doing about 10 verbs a day, making my way through the list, retesting the tenses over and over.

It is possible you need to make an account, its quick, and free and you can stay logged in.

the website also have other stuff you can quiz yourself on, overall i found it very helpful, i hope you do too, reader.

The Conjug­ation page for German.net
               
 

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