German Verb Conjugations - Trinken - to Drink

Present and Past Tenses

people toasting with German beer
Dan Herrick/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The verb trinken is a strong (irregular) verb meaning "to drink." It is a very handy verb to know for traveling to German-speaking countries, or even just singing German drinking songs.

As an irregular verb, you can't predict how it is conjugated by a strict rule. You will need to study and memorize its forms. Note that its German principal parts follow the same i/a/u pattern of English (drink/drank/drunk).

This is the ablaut Class 3a i - a - u pattern. It is shared with other strong verbs including binden (tie), dringen (press), finden (find) and singen (sing).

  • Principal Parts: trinken • trank • getrunken
  • Imperative (Commands): (du) Trink! | (ihr) Trinkt! | Trinken Sie!

Trinken -  Present Tense - Präsens

Singular Present Tense
ich trinkeI drink
I am drinking
du trinkstyou drink
you are drinking
er trinkt
sie trinkt
es trinkt
he drinks
he is drinking
she drinks
she is drinking
it drinks
it is drinking


Plural Present Tense 
wir trinkenwe drink
we are drinking
ihr trinktyou (guys) drink
you (guys) are drinking
sie trinkenthey drink
they are drinking
Sie trinkenyou drink
you are drinking


Er trinkt kein Bier. He doesn't drink beer.
Ich trinke lieber Wein. I prefer to drink wine.

Trinken - Simple Past Tense - Imperfekt

Singular Simple Past Tense 
ich trank

I drank

du trankst

you drank

er trank
sie trank
es trank

he drank
she drank
it drank


Plural Simple Past Tense 
wir tranken

we drank

ihr trankt

you (guys) drank

sie tranken

they drank

Sie tranken

you drank


Trinken - Compound Past Tense (Present Perfect) - Perfekt

Singular Compound Past Tense 
ich habe getrunkenI have drunk
I drank
du hast getrunkenyou have drunk
you drank
er hat getrunken
sie hat getrunken
es hat getrunken
he has drunk
he drank
she has drunk
she drank
it has drunk
it drank


Plural Compound Past Tense 
wir haben getrunkenwe have drunk
we drank
ihr habt getrunkenyou (guys) have drunk
you drank
sie haben getrunkenthey have drunk
they drank
Sie haben getrunkenyou have drunk
you drank


Trinken - Past Perfect Tense - Plusquamperfekt

Singular Past Perfect Tense 
ich hatte getrunken

I had drunk

du hattest getrunken

you had drunk

er hatte getrunken
sie hatte getrunken
es hatte getrunken

he had drunk
she had drunk
it had drunk


Plural Past Perfect Tense 
wir hatten getrunken

we had drunk

ihr hattet getrunken

you (guys) had drunk

sie hatten getrunken

they had drunk

Sie hatten getrunken

you had drunk


Example Using Trinken

  • Accusative: Was will er trinken? What does he want to drink?

Uses of the Root for Nouns

Knowing the different tenses of trinken, you can recognize how it is used in nouns for beverages.

  • Getränke: beverages or drinks
  • das Getränk beverage, drink
  • der Getränkemarkt: beverage shop. Here you buy beverages such as beer, cola, or mineral water by the case. Supermarkets now usually have a similar department.