German verbs

Verb in German. General information. Common verbs.

Verbs in German play an incredibly important role. If there are sentences without a verb in the Russian language, there is always a verb in the German sentence:

  • Еs donnert – Thunderstorm
  • Еs ist kalt – It’s cold

Depending on grammatical functions, verbs are divided into categories:

— lexical or notional (sentence 1);
— auxiliary (sentence 2);
— copula verbs (sentence 3);
— modal (sentence 4).

1. Er kommt. — He will come.
2. Es ist zu spät. — It’s too late.
3. Der Junge ist klein. The boy is little.
4. Ich will ins Kino gehen. I want to go to the cinema.

As you can see in the last three examples, the highlighted verbs are incomplete. It means they don’t keep complete information. Other parts of speech are used in combination with them. In the examples above, an adjective (as an adverb) — spät, an adjective — klein, the notional verb — gehen.

German verbs

In German dictionaries verbs are presented in an indefinite form — the infinitive. The vast majority of German verbs in the infinitive end in –en — bleiben, machen. Some verbs end in -eln, -ern — sammeln, klingeln.

VerbWord stemWord ending
To workarbeitenarbeit--en
To domachenmach--en
To ringklingelnkling--eln
To picksammelnsamm--eln
To dividegliedernglied--ern
To improveverbessernverbess--ern
  • Wir bleiben hier. — We’ll stay here.
  • Wir sammeln Pilze. — We pick mushrooms.

The most common German verbs

  • sein — to be
  • werden — to become
  • haben — to have
  • bringen — to bring
  • halten — to hold
  • erhalten — to get
  • finden — to find
  • fahren — to drive
  • geben — to give
  • gehen — to go
  • erklären — to explain
  • heißen — to call
  • hören — listen
  • machen — to make
  • nehmen — to take
  • sagen — to say
  • stehen — to stand
  • tun — to do
  • wissen — to know
  • zeigen — show

The most important German verbs

The most important German verbs include those previously mentioned.

— sein, werden, haben — they occur in sentences both as notional — to be, to become, to have, and as auxiliary — for the formation of various forms of verbs.

— modal verbs: können, sollen, müssen, wollen, dürfen. These verbs are used widely in German. They can be used in the meaning of notional verbs as well as.

  • Können — to be able
  • sollen — should (advisability)
  • müssen — must (necessity)
  • wollen — to want
  • dürfen — to allow

Peculiarities of German verbs

The verb is a predicate and always in a second place in the sentence. If the predicate consists of two verbs, for example, modal and notional, the conjugated part of the predicate (modal verb) is in the second place and the notional verb in the infinitive goes to the last place.

Du musst sofort nach München kommen. — You must come to Munich immediately.

A distinctive feature of German verbs is the existence of separable prefixes in some verbs. They stand apart from the verb at the end of the sentence, for example, the verb aufstehen — to get up:

Ich stehe normalerweise früh morgens auf. — I usually get up early in the morning.

There are regular and irregular verbs in German. The regular ones are conjugated according to the rules, the irregular ones are not.