Easy Learning German

Weak, strong and mixed verbs - Easy Learning Grammar German

  • Verbs are usually used with a noun, with a pronoun such as I, you or she, or with somebody’s name. They can relate to the present, the past and the future; this is called their tense.
  • For more information on Nouns and Pronouns, see Using nouns and .
  • Verbs are either:
  • weak; their forms follow a set pattern. These verbs may also be called regular.
  • strong and irregular; their forms change according to different patterns.
  • mixed; their forms follow a mixture of the patterns for weak and strong verbs.
  • Regular English verbs have a base form (the form of the verb without any endings added to it, for example, walk). This is the form you look up in a dictionary. The base form can have to in front of it, for example, to walk. This is called the infinitive.
  • German verbs also have an infinitive, which is the form shown in a dictionary; most weak, strong and mixed verbs end in -en. For example, holen (meaning to fetch) is weak, helfen (meaning to help) is strong and denken (meaning to think) is mixed. All German verbs belong to one of these groups. We will look at each of these three groups in turn on the next few pages.
  • English verbs have other forms apart from the base form and infinitive: a form ending in -s (walks), a form ending in -ing (walking), and a form ending in -ed (walked).
  • German verbs have many more forms than this, which are made up of endings added to a stem. The stem of a verb can usually be worked out from the infinitive and can change, depending on the tense of the verb and who or what you are talking about.
  • German verb endings also change, depending on who or what you are talking about: ich (I), du (you (informal)), er/sie/es (he/she/it), Sie (you (formal)) in the singular, or wir (we), ihr (you (informal)), Sie (you (formal)) and sie (they) in the plural. German verbs also have different forms depending on whether you are referring to the present, future or past.
Key points
  • German verbs have different forms depending on what noun or pronoun they are used with, and on their tense.
  • They are made up of a stem and an ending. The stem is based on the infinitive and can change in form.
  • All German verbs fit into one of three patterns or conjugations: weak (and regular), strong (and irregular) or mixed (a mixture of the two).

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