German Regular Verb Forms in the Present Tense

By Wendy Foster

Part of Intermediate German For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Talking and writing in German is usually a matter of knowing how to construct a verb in the present tense with the help of a noun (subject) and a few other elements. Most German verbs are regular, meaning they follow a standard pattern of conjugation.

To conjugate a regular verb in the present tense, just drop the -en from the infinitive and add the appropriate ending to the stem. In the present tense, English has only the ending -s or no ending at all (I live, you live, he lives), whereas German has four endings (-e, -st, -t, and -en).

In the following table, arbeiten (to work) represents a verb type that has slightly different endings in the du, er/sie/es, and ihr forms; tanzen (to dance) and heißen (to be called ) stand for types with different endings in the du form. Verb endings are indicated in bold.