Anfangen (To Begin) German Verb Conjugations

Tenses and Sample Sentences for Anfangen

track and field sprinter getting ready in blocks

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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 anI began/started
du fingst anyou 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 anwe began/started
ihr fingt anyou (guys) began/started
sie fingen anthey began/started
Sie fingen anyou 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 angefangenI had begun/started
du hattest angefangenyou 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 angefangenwe had begun/started
ihr hattet angefangenyou (guys) had begun/started
sie hatten angefangenthey had begun/started
Sie hatten angefangenyou had begun/started