German Verb Conjugation


German verbs are classified here as either strong or weak. By definition a strong verb is one in which the the stem of the past tense differs from the stem of the infinitive. For example treten has the past tense ich trat. The e of the infinitive has become an "a". Every verb that is not strong is weak. Note that the definition here is slightly different to the traditional one, which holds that the vowel of the past stem must differ in order for the verb to qualify as strong. The only verb whose classification is affected by this difference in definition is haben. This allows us to catch haben as a more or less regular strong verb with weak endings.

Unfortunately the study of the conjugation of German verbs has been made more confusing than it need be by the misuse of the word "regular". It is traditional and widespread to use "regular" to mean weak, and "irregular" to mean strong. This might not matter - we could after all call them oranges and lemons if everyone agreed on that - were it not for the fact that "regular" and "irregular" have normal, non-specialist meanings in English which are more or less indispensable in the discussion of German verb conjugation.

These words will be used in this text in their standard English meaning. Hence "regular" will imply a verb which conjugates in an ordered way, according to a set of well-defined rules. However, it is worth noting that "regular" and "irregular", rather than representing a binary choice between black and white, are used here like points on a scale of greyness.

Top 20 German Verbs Conjugator


to be sein to have haben
to become werden to be able, can können
to have to müssen to want (to) wollen
to like (to) mögen to know wissen
to make, do machen ought to sollen
to be called heißen to say, tell sagen
to go gehen to see sehen
to give geben to come kommen
to let, allow lassen to find finden
to stay bleiben to take nehmen



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