Languages › German Conjugating the German Verb Wissen, Meaning "to Know" Share Flipboard Email Print Edwin Remsberg / Getty Images German Vocabulary History & Culture Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar 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 15, 2020 Wissen is an irregular German verb that means to know a fact. German, like many other languages, has two different verbs that can correspond to the single English verb "to know." Like Spanish, Italian and French, for example, German makes a distinction between knowing or being familiar with a person or thing ( kennen) and knowing a fact (wissen).Wissen is often used with interrogatives: wann, wie, wo, warum, usw. For example, "Ich weiß, wo er ist." I know where he is. (information)ConjugationIn the following chart, you will find the conjugation of the irregular German verb wissen. Although it is not a modal verb, the conjugation of wissen follows the same pattern as the modal verbs. Like the modals, and unlike normal German verbs, wissen has the same form for ich (first person sing.) and er, sie, es (third person singular).The verb wissen is a stem-changing verb. That is to say, the infinitive's stem vowel i changes to ei in all the singular present tense forms (weiß), and to u in the past participle (gewusst). In many ways, as we said above, it behaves like a modal verb. Except for ihr wisst (formerly wißt), spelling reform has not affected wissen, so you should note that its singular forms are still spelled with an ess-zett (ß, except in Swiss German), while the plural forms use a double-s (ss). This verb chart uses the new German spelling (die neue Rechtschreibung).Irregular Verbs: Wissen: to know (a fact)Präsens(Present)Präteritum(Preterite/Past)Perfekt(Present Perfect)ich weißI knowich wussteI knewich habe gewusstI knew, have knowndu weißtyou knowdu wusstestyou knewdu hast gewusstyou knew, have knowner/sie weißhe/she knowser/sie wusstehe/she knewer/sie hat gewussthe/she knew, has knownwir/Sie/sie wissenwe/you/they have towir/Sie/sie wusstenwe/you/they knewwir/Sie/sie haben gewusstwe/you/they knew, have knownihr wisstyou (pl.) knowihr wusstetyou (pl.) knewihr habt gewusstyou (pl.) knew, have known Plusquamperfekt(Past Perfect)Futur(Future)ich hatte gewusstI had knownich werde wissenI will knowdu hattest gewusstyou had knowdu wirst wissenyou knewer/sie hatte gewussthe/she had knowner/sie wird wissenhe/she will knowwir/Sie/sie hatten gewusstwe/you/they had knownwir/Sie/sie werden wissenwe/you/they will knowihr hattet gewusstyou (pl.) had knownihr werdet wissenyou (pl.) will knowKonditional(Conditional)Konjunktiv(Subjunctive)ich/er würde wissenI/he would knowich/er wüssteI/he would knowwir/sie würden wissenwe/they would knowwir/sie wüsstenwe/they would knowSample Sentences and IdiomsEr weiß Bescheid.He knows all about it. (He's been kept informed.)Weißt du, wann der Bus kommt?Do you know when the bus is coming?Ich habe nicht Bescheid gewusst.I didn't know a thing about it.Wer weiß?Who knows? Wissen Sie, wie spät es ist?Do you know (have) the time? Ich weiß (es) nicht.I don't know.Weißt du, wann der Zug abfährt?Do you know when the train is departing? Sie weiß immer alles besser.She always knows better.Nicht, dass ich wüsste.Not as far as I know. Man kann nie wissen.You (just) never know.Er will nichts von ihr wissen.He wants nothing to do with her. Was ich nicht weiß, macht mich nicht heiß. What I don't know won't hurt me.