How to Conjugate "Stehen" (to Stand) in German

A Common and Useful Verb in Every Tense and Mood

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The German verb stehen means "to stand." It is a strong (irregular) verb, so it doesn't follow the common rules that apply to German verb conjugations. This means that you will have to memorize each form of the verb in the various tenses.

The good news is that the past tense of stehen is stand, which gives you have a great start on this lesson. We'll also explore the present and future tenses, dive deeper into the past, and study the imperative and subjunctives.

Principal Parts: stehen -  stand - gestanden

Past Participle: gestanden

Imperative (Commands): (du) Steh! - (ihr) Steht! - Stehen Sie!

Stehen in the Present Tense (Präsens)

The best place to begin is with the present tense (präsens) forms of stehen. These conjugations allow you to say things like "I am standing" and "we are standing" and you'll use these frequently.

Many times, it helps your memorization of verb conjugations if you practice them within a sentence. It doesn't have to be complex, just simple, short statements such as these:

  • Steh gerade! - Stand up straight!
  • Wo steht das Haus? - Where is (stands) the house?
Deutsch English
ich stehe I stand/am standing
du stehst you stand/are standing
er steht
sie steht
es steht
he stands/is standing
she stands/is standing
it stands/is standing
wir stehen we stand/are standing
ihr steht you (guys) stand/
are standing
sie stehen they stand/are standing
Sie stehen you stand/are standing

Stehen in the Simple Past Tense (Imperfekt)

There are many past tense forms of German verbs, but the most common is the simple past tense (imperfekt). This is the primary way that you will say "stood" so it's good to concentrate on these words and commit them to memory.

Deutsch English
ich stand I stood
du standst you stood
er stand
sie stand
es stand
he stood
she stood
it stood
wir standen we stood
ihr standet you (guys) stood
sie standen they stood
Sie standen you stood

Stehen in the Compound Past Tense (Perfekt)

Another past tense form of stehen is the compound past tense, otherwise known as the present perfect (perfekt). This has a special use for those times when you say that someone "stood" but you're not clear as to when that action took place. You might also use it if someone "stood" and is still "standing" right now.

Deutsch English
ich habe gestanden I stood/have stood
du hast gestanden you stood/have stood
er hat gestanden
sie hat gestanden
es hat gestanden
he stood/has stood
she stood/has stood
it stood/has stood
wir haben gestanden we stood/have stood
ihr habt gestanden you (guys) stood
have stood
sie haben gestanden they stood/have stood
Sie haben gestanden you stood/have stood

Stehen in the Past Perfect Tense (Plusquamperfekt)

When the action of "standing" happened before some other action in the past, you will use the past perfect tense (plusquamperfekt). For example, "I stood outside waiting for the doors to open."

Deutsch English
ich hatte gestanden I had stood
du hattest gestanden you had stood
er hatte gestanden
sie hatte gestanden
es hatte gestanden
he had stood
she had stood
it had stood
wir hatten gestanden we had stood
ihr hattet gestanden you (guys) had stood
sie hatten gestanden they had stood
Sie hatten gestanden you had stood

Stehen in the Future Tense (Futur)

In English, we use the future tense all the time, but it's used with less frequency in German. Many times, people prefer to use the present tense with an adverb instead. This is similar to the present progressive in English: Er steht morgen an. means "He's going to stand tomorrow."

Deutsch English
ich werde stehen I will stand
du wirst stehen you will stand
er wird stehen
sie wird stehen
es wird stehen
he will stand
she will stand
it will stand
wir werden stehen we will stand
ihr werdet stehen you (guys) will stand
sie werden stehen they will stand
Sie werden stehen you will stand

Stehen in the Future Perfect (Futur II)

Deutsch English
ich werde gestanden haben I will have stood
du wirst gestanden haben you will have stood
er wird gestanden haben
sie wird gestanden haben
es wird gestanden haben
he will have stood
she will have stood
it will have stood
wir werden gestanden haben we will have stood
ihr werdet gestanden haben you (guys) will have stood
sie werden gestanden haben they will have stood
Sie werden gestanden haben you will have stood

Stehen as Used in Commands (Imperativ)

There are three command (imperative) forms, one for each "you" word. In addition, the "let's" form is used with wir.

Deutsch English
(du) steh! stand
(ihr) steht! stand
stehen Sie! stand
stehen wir! let's stand

Stehen in the Subjunctive I (Konjunktiv I)

The subjunctive is a mood and not a tense. The Subjunctive I (Konjunktiv I) is based on the infinitive form of the verb. It is most often used to express indirect quotation (indirekte Rede). Rare in conversational use, the Subjunctive I is often seen in newspapers, usually in the third person. For example, er stehe means "he is said to stand."

Deutsch English
ich stehe (würde stehen)* I stand
du stehest you stand
er stehe
sie stehe
es stehe
he stands
she stands
it stands
wir stehen we stand
ihr steht you (guys) stand
sie stehen they stand
Sie stehen you stand

*Because the Subjunctive I (Konjunktiv I) of stehen in the first person (ich) and the plural are identical to the indicative (normal) form, the Subjunctive II is sometimes substituted.

Stehen in the Subjunctive II (Konjunktiv II)

The Subjunctive II (Konjunktiv II) expresses wishful thinking, contrary-to-reality situations, and is used to express politeness. The Subjunctive II is based on the simple past tense (stand), adding an umlaut and "e" to create stände.

Since the subjunctive is a mood and not a tense, it can be used in various tenses. Below are examples that illustrate how stehen forms the subjunctive in past or future time. In such cases, the subjunctive forms of haben (to have) or werden (to become) are combined with stehen.

Deutsch English
ich stände I would stand
du ständest you would stand
er stände
sie stände
es stände
he would stand
she would stand
it would stand
wir ständen we would stand
ihr ständet you (guys) would stand
sie ständen they would stand
Sie ständen you would stand
er habe gestanden he is said to have stood
ich hätte gestanden I would have stood
sie hätten gestanden they would have stood
er werde gestanden haben he will have stood
ich würde stehen I would stand
du würdest gestanden haben you would have stood