How to Conjugate "Kommen" (to Come)

A Simple German Lesson in the Verb's Present and Past Tenses

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In German, kommen means "to come." German students will find that a brief lesson in conjugating this verb will help you say phrases like ich kam for "I came" or err kommt for "he is coming." 

Verb conjugations are a good foundation for completing a sentence. For instance, to say "Are you coming tomorrow?" you would say "Du kommst morgen?" In this case, kommst is the present tense conjugate of kommen when the subject pronoun is you. With a little study and practice, it will all become clear to you.

Kommen in the Present Tense (Präsens)

We will begin studying kommen in the present tense (präsens). This is a strong (irregular) verb so it doesn't follow the typical conjugation rules you might find in other German verbs. That means that you will have to memorize all of its forms. However, since it is a very common word, you will have plenty of opportunities to practice it.

For example, you can take the verb forms you learn in the chart below to form sentences like these:

  • Wann kommen Sie nach Berlin? - When are you coming to Berlin?
  • Er kommt morgen Abend. He's coming tomorrow evening. 
ich komme I come/am coming
du kommst you come/are coming
er kommt
sie kommt
es kommt
he comes/is coming
she comes/is coming
it comes/is coming
wir kommen we come/are coming
ihr kommt you (guys) come/are coming
sie kommen they come/are coming
Sie kommen you come/are coming

Kommen in the Simple Past Tense (Imperfekt)

With a good understanding of the present tense, you can then move onto the past tense (vergangenheit). Rather than just the singular and plural forms, you will have to memorize the various past tenses.

In its most basic form, you will use the simple past tense (imperfekt). This is the perfect place for German students to begin because you will use it often to say "came."

ich kam I came/was coming
du kamst you came/were coming
er kam
sie kam
es kam
he came/was coming
she came/was coming
it came/was coming
wir kamen we came/were coming
ihr kamt you (guys) came/were coming
sie kamen they came/were coming
Sie kamen you came/were coming

Kommen in the Compound Past Tense (Perfekt)

The compound past tense is also called the present perfect (perfekt). It is used when the action is not well-defined. This means that you acknowledge that it happened (something or someone "came"), but you're not specific about when it actually happened. It can also indicate that the action extends into the present moment, as in you "came" and are still "coming."

ich bin gekommen I came/have come
du bist gekommen you came/have come
er ist gekommen
sie ist gekommen
es ist gekommen
he came/has come
she came/has come
it came/has come
wir sind gekommen we came/have come
ihr seid gekommen you (guys) came/have come
sie sind gekommen they came/have come
Sie sind gekommen you came/have come

Kommen in the Past Perfect Tense (Plusquamperfekt)

The past perfect tense (plusquamperfekt) is used when the action of "coming" happened prior to another action. For instance, "I had come by the restaurant after leaving school."

ich war gekommen I had come
du warst gekommen you (fam.) had come
er war gekommen
sie war gekommen
es war gekommen
he had come
she had come
it had come
wir waren gekommen we had come
ihr wart gekommen you (guys) had come
sie waren gekommen they had come
Sie waren gekommen you had come