Languages › German How to Conjugate the Verb "Helfen" (to Help) Share Flipboard Email Print Gary Burchell / Getty Images German Grammar History & Culture Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary By Hyde Flippo German Expert Hyde Flippo taught the German language for 28 years at high school and college levels and published several books on the German language and culture. our editorial process Hyde Flippo Updated February 26, 2020 Students will find that studying the verb helfen will be very helpful in expanding your German vocabulary. After all, it is the verb that means "to help," and you'll find yourself asking for help often when you're first learning the language. As with all German verbs, we need to conjugate helfen in order to say "I am helping" or "we helped." This lesson will show you how that's done so you can begin using this common verb to form complete sentences. An Introduction to Helfen Helfen is relatively easy to remember on its own because it resembles the English word "help." However, it is both a stem-changing verb and an irregular (strong) verb, meaning it does not follow the common conjugations patterns we find in German. Instead of relying on known rules, you will have to memorize this vocabulary. Practicing the various present and past tense forms in context will help you with that. Helfen is also a dative verb. Principal Parts: helfen (hilft) - half - geholfen Past Participle: gelhofen Imperative (Commands): (du) Hilf! (ihr) Helft! Helfen Sie! Helfen in the Present Tense (Präsens) We begin the lesson with the present tense (präsens) of helfen. The stem change is crucial here as you will notice the change from "e" to "i" in the du and er/sie/es present tense forms. As you're studying, give these forms of the verb a try in simple sentences such as these. This practice will help you commit them to memory. Hans, hilf deiner Schwester! - Hans, help your sister.Wir helfen ihm. - We're helping him. Deutsch English ich helfe I help/am helping du hilfst you help/are helping er hilftsie hilftes hilft he helps/is helpingshe helps/is helpingit helps/is helping wir helfen we help/are helping ihr helft you (guys) help/are helping sie helfen they help/are helping Sie helfen you help/are helping Helfen in the Simple Past Tense (Imperfekt) The past tense (vergangenheit) of helfen comes in a variety of forms. The most common of these is the simple past tense (imperfekt) and you will use it frequently to express "I helped" or "they helped." Deutsch English ich half I helped du halfst you helped er halfsie halfes half he helpedshe helpedit helped wir halfen we helped ihr halft you (guys) helped sie halfen they helped Sie halfen you helped Helfen in the Compound Past Tense (Perfekt) The compound past tense, or present perfect past tense (perfekt), is not as common, though it is good to know when and how you might use it. In general, you will use these forms when the action of helping happened in the past but you're not saying exactly when it took place. It can, in some instances, also be used when you did "help" and continue to do so. Deutsch English ich habe geholfen I helped/have helped du hast geholfen you helped/have helped er hat geholfensie hat geholfenes hat geholfen he helped/has helpedshe helped/has helpedit helped/has helped wir haben geholfen we helped/have helped ihr habt geholfen you (guys) helpedhave helped sie haben geholfen they helped/have helped Sie haben geholfen you helped/have helped Helfen in the Past Perfect Tense (Plusquamperfekt) The final past tense of this lesson is the past perfect (plusquamperfekt) and this has another rare but useful purpose. You'll use these forms when the action of helping occurred after something else. For example, "I had helped pack once the boxes arrived." Deutsch English ich hatte geholfen I had helped du hattest geholfen you had helped er hatte geholfensie hatte geholfenes hatte geholfen he had helpedshe had helpedit had helped wir hatten geholfen we had helped ihr hattet geholfen you (guys) had helped sie hatten geholfen they had helped Sie hatten geholfen you had helped Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Flippo, Hyde. "How to Conjugate the Verb "Helfen" (to Help)." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/helfen-to-help-in-all-tenses-4081775. Flippo, Hyde. (2020, August 27). How to Conjugate the Verb "Helfen" (to Help). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/helfen-to-help-in-all-tenses-4081775 Flippo, Hyde. "How to Conjugate the Verb "Helfen" (to Help)." 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