Anfangen (To Begin) German Verb Conjugations

Tenses and Sample Sentences for Anfangen

track and field sprinter getting ready in blocks

Thomas Tolstrup / Getty Images 

Anfangen is a strong (irregular) verb that means to begin or start. As a strong verb, it doesn't follow a strict rule and you will need to memorize how it is conjugated in its different tenses. 

In addition, the verb anfangen is a separable prefix verb. That means that its prefix (an-) separates when the verb is conjugated, even in its past participle form (angefangen). There are cases where the prefix does not separate.

These include the infinitive form such as with modals in the future tense, in dependent clauses, and in the past participle (with ge-).

While a separable prefix may seem confusing, keep in mind that it is like English verbs such as "fill in," "clear out," etc. The difference is that in English the second word can come either right after the verb or at the end of the sentence. In German, it usually comes only at the end of the sentence.

Sample Sentences With the Separable-Prefix Verb
anfangen, to begin, start

Present Tense

Wann fangen Sie an? - When do you begin?

Ich fange heute an. - I start today.

Present Perfect Tense

Wann haben sie angefangen? - When did they begin?

Past Perfect Tense

Wann hatten Sie angefangen? - When had you begun?

Past Tense

Wann fingen wir an? - When did we begin?

Future Tense

Wir werden wieder anfangen. - We will begin again.

With Modals

Können wir heute anfangen? - Can we begin today?

Present Tense - Präsens



Singular Present Tense 
ich fange anI begin/start
I am beginning
du fängst anyou begin/start
you are beginning
er fängt an
sie fängt an
es fängt an
he begins/starts
he is beginning
she begins/starts
she is beginning
it begins/starts
it is beginning


Plural Present Tense 
wir fangen anwe begin/start
are beginning
ihr fangt anyou (guys) begin/start
you are beginning
sie fangen anthey begin/start
they are beginning
Sie fangen anyou begin/start
you are beginning


Examples Using the Present Tense of Anfangen

Wann fangen Sie an?
When do you start?

Die Vorstellung fängt um sechs Uhr an.
The performance begins at six o'clock.

Simple Past Tense - Imperfekt



Singular Simple Past Tense 
ich fing an

I began/started

du fingst an

you began/started

er fing an
sie fing an
es fing an

he began/started
she began/started
it began/started


Plural Simple Past Tense 
wir fingen an

we began/started

ihr fingt an

you (guys) began/started

sie fingen an

they began/started

Sie fingen an

you began/started


Compound Past Tense (Present Perfect) - Perfekt

Singular Compound Past Tense 
ich habe angefangenI have begun/started
I began/started
du hast angefangenyou have begun/started
you began/started
er hat angefangen
sie hat angefangen
es hat angefangen
he has begun/started
he began/started
she has begun/started
she began/started
it has begun/started
it began/started


Plural Compound Past Tense 
wir haben angefangenwe have begun/started
we began/started
ihr habt angefangenyou (guys) have begun/started
you began/started
sie haben angefangenthey have begun/started
they began/started
Sie haben angefangenyou have begun/started
you began/started


Past Perfect Tense - Plusquamperfekt


Singular Past Perfect Tense 
ich hatte angefangen

I had begun/started

du hattest angefangen

you had begun/started

er hatte angefangen
sie hatte angefangen
es hatte angefangen

he had begun/started
she had begun/started
it had begun/started


Plural Past Perfect Tense 
wir hatten angefangen

we had begun/started

ihr hattet angefangen

you (guys) had begun/started

sie hatten angefangen

they had begun/started

Sie hatten angefangenyou had begun/started