In this chapter I will teach you all about German verbs! Helping verbs, main verbs, compound verbs and many more explained easy!
A verb is a word that expresses an action or a state of being (i.e. to go, to drive, to be). The lessons in this chapter are about the use, the formation and irregularities of the verbs "haben" and "sein", modal verbs, reflexive verbs, compound verbs, participles, the passive voice, the imperative, the subjunctive 1 & 2 and verbs with complements.
The conjugation and the use of the different tenses is explained in Chapter 3: German Tenses.
German Verbs: Overview
Verbs: 4.01. Sein and Haben
The verbs „sein“ ( = to be ) and „haben“ ( = to have ) are important verbs in German. They are used in different situations and as helping verbs to form compound tenses like the perfect tense.
Example: „Du bist nett.“ - „Er hat ein Haus.“
Verbs: 4.02. The Present Participle
The present participle shows that something happend, is happening or will happen at the same time. Present participles are used as adjectives
in place of clauses.
Example: „Der telefonierende Mann fährt Auto.“
Verbs: 4.03. The Past Participle
Verbs: 4.04. Verbs with Prefixes (Compound Nouns)
In German we can create more verbs by adding prefixes to existing verbs. This changes the meaning of the verb. When conjugated, some verbs are separated from their prefix ⇒ separable verbs. For other verbs, the verb and prefix stay together even after conjugation ⇒ inseparable verbs. The prefix determines which of these groups a verb belongs to.
Example: „Ich stehe jeden Morgen um 6 Uhr auf.“
Verbs: 4.05. Modal Verbs
There are 6 modal verbs: „können
“ and „dürfen
“. Modal verbs change the meaning of the sentence. There is a difference between whether someone „must“ do something or someone „can“ do something.
Examples: „Ich kann kein Englisch sprechen.“
Verbs: 4.06. The Verb "werden"
Verbs: 4.07. The Verb "lassen"
The verb „lassen“ can be used as a main verb and as a modal verb
with a second verb in the infinitive form.
The meaning of „lassen“ changes in the different uses.
„Sich lassen“ in the third person is also an alternative for the passive voice
Example: „Ich lasse mein Auto in der Garage stehen.“
Verbs: 4.08. Reflexive Verbs
What is a reflexive verb? Learn the different reflexive pronouns
and the difference between true and partial reflexive verbs. Learn when to use the pronouns in accusative and when in dative case.
Example: „Ich wasche mich jeden Tag.“
Verbs: 4.09. The Imperative
The imperative is used for demands and commands. Someone is personally talking to one or more people.
The imperative only exists in the „you“ forms: du, ihr, and the polite Sie.
Example: „Geh jetzt ins Bett!“
Verbs: 4.10. The Subjunctive 1 (Konjunktiv 1)
There are 3 potential moods of verbs (indicative, imperative, and subjunctive). The subjunctive 1 is a special conjugation of verbs. We use it for indirect speech and in specific expressions. We mainly find the subjunctive 1 in the news.
Example: „Mein Lehrer sagt, Deutsch sei gar nicht schwer.“
Verbs: 4.11. The Subjunctive 2 (Konjunktiv 2)
There are 3 potential moods of verbs. (indicative, imperative, and subjunctive)
The subjunctive 2 is also called the form of possibility and describes the unreal world.
Example: „Ich wäre so gern ein Millionär.“
Verbs: 4.12. The Passive Voice
In German grammar we have two types of passive voice. The status passive
and the process passive
. They are different in meaning, construction and usage. In active voice, the person that does something (the subject) is important. In passive voice the action is important.
Example: „Die Suppe wird gekocht.“
Verbs: 4.13. Verbs with Complements
Verbs: 4.14. Verbs with "es"
The pronoun „es“ has many different functions in German. It can be used as a pronoun
standing for a single word, for a clause, and for an entire sentence. Also, there are many specific expressions that use „es“.
Example: „Wie geht es dir? – „Mir geht es gut.“
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