How to Conjugate Gehen in German

Two boys on skateboards

Michael Heffernan/Getty Images

The word gehen (to go), one of the most-used verbs in Germany, belongs to the class of strong verbs in German. Also called "irregular strong," these verbs have a vowel change in the simple past and a past participle ending in -en. In the simple past, strong verbs also take the same endings as modal verbs (in particular, there are no endings for the first person and third person singular), notes the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Some other verbs in this class are sehen (to see), sinken (to sink), and werden (to become).

Conjugating "Gehen"

The tables below provide conjugations the verb gehen in all tenses and moods.

Present Tense

Note: German has no present progressive tense (he's going, I am going). The German present ich gehe can mean either "I go" or "I'm going" in English.

ich gehe I go, am going
du gehst you (familiar) go, are going
er geht
sie geht
es geht
he goes, is going
she goes, is going
it goes, is going
wir gehen we go, are going
ihr geht you (guys) go, are going
sie gehen they go, are going
Sie gehen you go, are going

 Sie, formal "you," is both singular and plural:
  Gehen Sie heute Herr Meier?
  Are you going today, Mr. Meier?
  Gehen Sie heute Herr und Frau Meier?
  Are you going today, Mr. and Mrs. Meier?

Simple Past Tense | Imperfekt

Note: The German Imperfekt (simple past) tense is used more in written form (newspapers, books) than in speaking. In conversation, the Perfekt (present perfect) is preferred for talking about past events or conditions.

ich ging I went
du gingst you (familiar) went
er ging
sie ging
es ging
he went
she went
it went
wir gingen we went
ihr gingt you (guys) went
sie gingen they went
Sie gingen you went

Present Perfect Tense | Perfekt

Note: The verb gehen uses sein (not haben) as its helping verb in the Perfekt (present perfect). The German Perfektof gehen can be translated either as "went" (English simple past) or "has gone" (English present perfect), depending on the context.

ich bin gegangen I went, have gone
du bist gegangen you (familiar) went,
have gone
er ist gegangen
sie ist gegangen
es ist gegangen
he went, has gone
she went, has gone
it went, has gone
wir sind gegangen we went, have gone
ihr seid gegangen you (guys) went,
have gone
sie sind gegangen they went, have gone
Sie sind gegangen you went, have gone

Past Perfect Tense | Plusquamperfekt

Note: To form the past perfect, all you do is change the helping verb (sein) to the past tense. Everything else is the same as in the Perfekt (present perfect) above.

ich war gegangen
du warst gegangen

...und so weiter
I had gone
you had gone
...and so on
wir waren gegangen
sie waren gegangen

...und so weiter.
we had gone
they had gone
...and so on.

Future Tense | Futur

Note: The future tense is used much less in German than in English. Very often the present tense is used with an adverb instead, as with the present progressive in English: Er geht am Dienstag. = He's going on Tuesday.

ich werde gehen I will go
du wirst gehen you (familiar) will go
er wird gehen
sie wird gehen
es wird gehen
he will go
she will go
it will go
wir werden gehen we will go
ihr werdet gehen you (guys) will go
sie werden gehen they will go
Sie werden gehen you will go

Future Perfect | Futur II

ich werde gegangen sein I will have gone
du wirst gegangen sein you (familiar) will have gone
er wird gegangen sein
sie wird gegangen sein
es wird gegangen sein
he will have gone
she will have gone
it will have gone
wir werden gegangen sein we will have gone
ihr werdet gegangen sein you (guys) will have gone
sie werden gegangen sein they will have gone
Sie werden gegangen sein you will have gone

Commands | Imperativ

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

(du) gehe! go
(ihr) geht! go
gehen Sie! go
gehen wir! let's go

Subjunctive I | Konjunktiv I

The subjunctive is a mood, 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).

*NOTE: Because the Subjunctive I (Konjunktiv I) of "werden" and some other verbs are sometimes identical to the indicative (normal) form, the subjunctive II is sometimes substituted, as in the items marked.

ich gehe (ginge)* I go
du gehest you go
er gehe
sie gehe
es gehe
he goes
she goes
it goes
wir gehen (gingen)* we go
ihr gehet you (guys) go
sie gehen (gingen)* they go
Sie gehen (gingen)* you go

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 (Imperfekt).

ich ginge I would go
du gingest you would go
er ginge
sie ginge
es ginge
he would go
she would go
it would go
wir gingen we would go
ihr ginget you (guys) would go
sie gingen they would go
Sie gingen you would go
NOTE: The subjunctive form of "werden" is often used in combination with other verbs to form the conditional mood (Konditional). Here are several examples with gehen:
Sie würden nicht gehen. You wouldn't go.
Wohin würden Sie gehen? Where would you go?
Ich würde nach Hause gehen. I would go home.
Since the subjunctive is a mood and not a tense, it can also be used in various tenses. Below are several examples.
ich sei gegangen I am said to have gone
ich wäre gegangen I would have gone
sie wären gegangen they would have gone
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Flippo, Hyde. "How to Conjugate Gehen in German." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Flippo, Hyde. (2020, August 26). How to Conjugate Gehen in German. Retrieved from Flippo, Hyde. "How to Conjugate Gehen in German." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 25, 2021).