Conjugating the German Verb Sehen, Meaning 'to See'

Sehen Conjugated in All Tenses

Close-up of woman's eye
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The German verb sehen means "to see." It is one of the most-common words you may see in German text, ranking around 270 in one automated study.

Sehen is an irregular or strong verb. This means it doesn't follow a strict rule for conjugation. In order to conjugate it correctly, you will need to study its different tenses and resort to memorizing them.

Stem-Changing Verbs

The verb sehen is both a stem-changing verb and an irregular (strong) verb.

Notice the change from e to ie in the du and er/sie/es present tense forms. The past participle is gesehen. All of these irregularities can trip you up in reading and writing uses of sehen.

Sehen - Present Tense - Präsens


Present Tense

ich sehe

I see/am seeing

du siehst

you see/are seeing

er sieht
sie sieht
es sieht

he sees/is seeing
she sees/is seeing
it sees/is seeing


Plural Present Tense 
wir sehen

we see/are seeing

ihr seht

you (guys) see/

are seeing

sie sehen

they see/are seeing

Sie sehen

you see/are seeing


Examples Using Present Tense for Sehen

Wann sehen wir euch?
When will we be seeing you (guys)?

Er sieht uns.
He sees us.

Sehen - Simple Past Tense -  Imperfekt

Singular Simple Past Tense


ich sah

I saw

du sahst

you saw

er sah
sie sah
es sah

he saw
she saw
it saw


Plural Simple Past Tense 

wir sahen

we saw

ihr saht

you (guys) saw

sie sahen

they saw

Sie sahen

you saw


Sehen - Compound Past Tense (Present Perfect) - Perfekt



Singular Compound Past Tense


ich habe gesehen

I saw/have seen

du hast gesehen

you saw/have seen

er hat gesehen
sie hat gesehen
es hat gesehen

he saw/has seen
she saw/has seen
it saw/has seen


Plural Compound Past Tense


wir haben gesehen

we saw/have seen

ihr habt gesehen

you (guys) saw
have seen

sie haben gesehen

they saw/have seen

Sie haben gesehen

you saw/have seen


Sehen - Past Perfect Tense -  Plusquamperfekt


Singular Past Perfect Tense


ich hatte gesehen

I had seen

du hattest gesehen

you had seen

er hatte gesehen
sie hatte gesehen
es hatte gesehen

he had seen
she had seen
it had seen


Plural Past Perfect Tense 

wir hatten gesehen

we had seen

ihr hattet gesehen

you (guys) had seen

sie hatten gesehen

they had seen

Sie hatten gesehen

you had seen


Future Tenses for Sehen

German often substitutes the present tense for the future. The example with sehen is "Wir sehen uns morgen," translating as "We'll see you tomorrow."

The basic future tense would conjugate werden (will) and add sehen. Examples; ich werde sehen - I will see, du wirst sehen - you will see, wir werden spielen - we will play.

The future perfect tense is somewhat rare in German. It uses a conjugated form of werden and then places haben or sein at the end of the sentence. For example, ich werde gesehen haben - I will have seen.

Commands Using Sehen

  • sehe! see!
  • sehen Sie! see!

Other Uses of Sehen

  • Sie sieht nicht gut. She doesn't see well.
  • Wo hast du ihn gesehen? Where did you see him?