Languages › German Present Tense Verb Conjugations of German Regular Verbs Share Flipboard Email Print Image Source / 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 January 30, 2019 The regular German verbs follow a predictable pattern in the present tense. Once you learn the pattern for one regular German verb, you know how all German verbs are conjugated. Yes, there are irregular verbs that don't always follow the rules, but even they will usually have the same endings as the regular verbs. The majority of German verbs are regular, even though it may not seem that way since many commonly used verbs are strong (irregular) verbs. The chart below lists two sample regular German verbs. All regular German verbs will follow the same pattern. We have also included a helpful list of the more common stem-changing verbs. These are verbs that follow the normal pattern of endings, but have a vowel change in their stem or base form (hence the name "stem-changing"). The verb endings for each pronoun are indicated in bold type. The Basics Each verb has a basic infinitive (“to”) form. This is the form of the verb you find in a German dictionary. The verb “to play” in English is the infinitive form (“he plays“ is a conjugated form). The German equivalent of “to play” is spielen. Each verb also has a stem form, the basic part of the verb left after you remove the -en ending. For spielen the stem is spiel. To conjugate the verb—that is, use it in a sentence—you must add the correct ending to the stem. If you want to say “I play” you add an -e ending: “ich spiele” (which can also be translated into English as “I am playing”). Each “person” (he, you, they, etc.) requires its own ending on the verb. This is called “conjugating the verb.” If you don't know how to conjugate verbs correctly it means your German will sound strange to people who understand the language. German verbs require more endings for the various “persons” than English verbs. In English we use only an s ending or no ending for most verbs: “I/they/we/you play” or “he/she plays.” German has a different ending for almost all of those verb situations: ich spiele, sie spielen, du spielst, er spielt, etc. Observe that the verb spielen has a different ending in most of the examples in the chart below. If you want to sound intelligent in German, you need to learn when to use which ending. Check out the chart below. Spielen / To PlayPresent Tense - Präsens Deutsch English Sample Sentence SINGULAR ich spiele I play Ich spiele gern Basketball. du spielst you (fam.)play Spielst du Schach? (chess) er spielt he plays Er spielt mit mir. (with me) sie spielt she plays Sie spielt Karten. (cards) es spielt it plays Es spielt keine Rolle. (It doesn't matter.) PLURAL wir spielen we play Wir spielen Basketball. ihr spielt you (guys) play Spielt ihr Monoploy? sie spielen they play Sie spielen Golf. Sie spielen you play Spielen Sie heute? (Sie, formal "you," is both singular and plural.) Verb Stem Ends in -d or -t Connecting -e examplesApplies only to du, ihr, and er/sie/es arbeitento work er arbeitet Arbeitest du heute? findento find du findest Findet ihr das? Also see related verb links/pages below. Now let's look at another kind of German verb, a stem-changing verb. Technically, sprechen (to speak) is a strong verb, not a regular verb. But in the present tense the verb sprechen is regular except for a stem change from e to i. That is, the verb changes its stem vowel, but the endings are the same as for any other regular verb in the present tense. Note that all stem changes only occur with the singular pronouns/person du and the third person singular (er, sie, es). The first person singular (ich) and all the plural forms do NOT change. Other stem-changing verb patterns include a to ä and e to ie. See the examples below. Note that the verb endings remain normal. Sprechen/To SpeakPresent Tense - Präsens Deutsch English Sample Sentence SINGULAR ich spreche I speak Ich spreche am Telefon. du sprichst you (fam.) speak Sprichst du am Telefon? er spricht he speaks Er spricht mit mir. (with me) sie spricht she speaks Sie spricht Italienisch. es spricht it speaks Es spricht laut. (loudly) PLURAL wir sprechen we speak Wir sprechen Deutsch. ihr sprecht you (guys) speak Sprecht ihr Englisch? sie sprechen they speak Sie sprechen Italienisch. Sie sprechen you speak Sprechen Sie Spanisch? (Sie, formal "you," is both singular and plural.) Other Stem-Changing Verbs English In Use fahren drive, travel er fährt, du fährst geben to give es gibt, du gibst lesen to read er liest, du liest Note: These stem-changing verbs are strong (irregular) verbs, but they have regular verb endings in the present tense. The Simple Past in German Learn the Rules for the Present Perfect Tense in German See How to Conjugate the German Verb Sprechen - to Speak How Do You Conjugate the German Verb Sehen, or "to See"? Learn How to Conjugate the German Verb "Heissen" (to Call) The Basics of German Present Tense Verbs How Do You Conjugate the German Verb "Helfen" (to Help)? Learning German Verb Conjugations Conjugating the German Verb Wissen, Meaning "to Know" How to Use the Future Tense (das Futur) in German Learning the Concept of Give and Take in German How Do You Conjugate the German Verb Schreiben? How to Conjugate the German Verb Trinken (to Drink) The German Verb Wissen (To Know) Conjugated Examples of Regular and Irregular German Verbs How to Conjugate the German Verb Tun, Meaning "To Do"