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(Verb Inflection Rules)


Several of the rules that follow call for particular caution. Verbatim translating would lead to slanted representation of a text's logic and meaning. In fact, an additional phrase or clause may sometimes be best.

The Prädikat (predicate) of a sentence is a verb or verb structure. There are Hilfs- und Modalverben (auxiliary verbs and modal verbs), and regelmäßige und unregelmäßige Verben (regular verbs and irregular verbs), the latter two being discussed on another page. On this page, we show all verb forms for the regelmäßige Verben. That is all forms of the regelmäßige Konjugation. For the unregelmäßige Konjugation, see the introductory page just mentioned, then consult a good German-English dictionary, which shows the key inflection forms from which all other forms can be deducted. We tabulate here all forms of the regular verbs. Let us first list the name of all the inflection forms (i.e. Namen der Konjugationsformen).

The modus Konjunktiv I consists of Konjunktiv Präsens, Konjunktiv Perfekt, Konjunktiv I Futur I, and Konjunktiv I Futur II.
The modus Konjunktiv II consists of
Konjunktiv Präterit, Konjunktiv Plusquamperfekt, Konjunktiv II Futur I, and Konjunktiv II Futur II. The latter two Konjunktiv II forms are usually called würde Form.

Following is a list of the infinite forms (Infinitive).

Name of tenses in German and English, where Ger=German, Brit=British English, and US=US English.

Note, Präsens and Präterium, in the Indikativ and Konjunktiv Modi, are the only finite forms the German verb can form by itself. All other inflection forms need an auxiliary verb. That is haben, in the active forms, and sein und werden, in the respective passive forms.

Application Notes - The use of Tempora

Though the German and English application rules for tenses and modes agree in many instances, they differ significantly in others. Following is a useful summary, where the important applications are enumerated for each tense and language. To conserve the meaning of an original text, the tense in a translated text must frequently differ from that in the original language.

Application Notes - Logical Tense Forms in Sequence

Logical Tense Forms in Sequence = Consecutio temporum = Folge der Tempora = Zeitenfolge. This is the Temporum sequence within a sentence. Generally, the Tempora are the same within a sentence. That is in most sentences either Präsens or Präterium. When a temporum change is necessary within the sentence, there are tempus rules to be followed. Each of the discussed tempora belongs to one of two groups, called tempus groups. The temporum is to change only within its tempus group.


  • Constancy of the tempora. Observe significance of wenn versus als, where als signifies a past point of time. Wenn can be future or present.
  • Tempus use in sentences with nachdem is special. The tempus in the dependent clause, i.e. the nachdem clause, determines whether the action in the main clause takes place after the beginning of the dependent clause's action, or after its conclusion. The tempora are thus coordinated as follows.

    Main clause Main clause action
    after beginning/end
    dependent clause
    II Präsens or Futur I After beginning of --> Präsens
    I Präterium, Perfekt,
    or Plusquamperfekt
    II Präsens or Futur I After conclusion of --> Perfekt
    I Präterium, Perfekt,
    or Plusquamperfekt
    Wir begannen unsere Produktion zu verlegen,
        nachdem die neue Tendenz bekannt war.
    after begin
    Wir werden beginnen unsere Produktion zu verlegen,
        nachdem die neue Tendenz bekannt ist.
    after begin
    Wir haben begonnen unsere Produktion zu verlegen,
        nachdem die neue Tendenz bekannt gewesen ist.
    after conclusion

    By contrast, there exist only two rules in English.

    Note: To aid memorization, all of this page's Konjugationsmuster use the same verb, heilen (= to cure, to become sound). As re the Genus Aktiv, below, read the comments, "Haben Versus Sein Association," farther below.

    Konjugationsmuster, Genus Aktiv
    Tempus Numerus Person Indikativ Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II
    Präsens Singular ich heile heile  
    du heil[e]st heilest
    er/sie/es heil[e]t heile
    Plural wir heilen heilen
    ihr heil[e]t heilet
    sie heilen heilen
    Präterium Singular ich heil[e]te   heil[e]te
    du heil[e]test heil[e]test
    er/sie/es heil[e]te heil[e]te
    Plural wir heil[e]ten heil[e]ten
    ihr heil[e]tet heil[e]tet
    sie heil[e]ten heil[e]ten
    Perfekt Singular ich habe geheil[e]t habe geheil[e]t  
    du hast    " habest    "
    er/sie/es hat    " habe    "
    Plural wir haben    " haben    "
    ihr habt    " habet    "
    sie haben    " haben    "
    Plusquamperfekt Singular ich hatte geheil[e]t   hätte geheil[e]t
    du hattest    " hätte    "
    er/sie/es hatte    " hätte    "
    Plural wir hatten    " hätten    "
    ihr hattet    " hättet    "
    sie hatten    " hätten    "
    Futur I Singular ich werde heilen werde heilen würde heilen
    du wirst    " werdest    " würdest    "
    er/sie/es wird    " werde    " würde    "
    Plural wir werden    " werden    " würden    "
    ihr werdet    " werdet    " würdet    "
    sie werden    " werden    " würden    "
    Futur II Singular ich werde geheil[e]t haben werde geheil[e]t haben würde geheil[e]t haben
    du wirst    "          " werdest    "          " würdest    "          "
    er/sie/es wird    "          " werde    "          " würde    "          "
    Plural wir werden    "          " werden    "          " würden    "          "
    ihr werdet    "          " werdet    "          " würden    "          "
    sie werden    "          " werden    "          " würden    "          "
    infinite Formen:
    Infinitiv Präsens heilen
    Futur I heilen werden
    Futur II geheil[e]t haben werden
    Perfekt geheil[e]t haben
    Partizip Präsens heilend
    Perfekt geheil[e]t
    Imperativ Singular heile!
    Plural heil[e]t!
    [e] = e-Erweiterung (e-augmentation) see comment below! Note: There is no e-Erweiterung in heilen!
    Fields with bright color across are the ones that share identically the same form.
    Indikativ form is assumed by default. Else, change to a different Konjunktiv form.

    e-Erweiterung: Certain regular verbs have an
    e inserted between word stem and ending, in the inflection forms so indicated in the tables. The rule is simple. People don't snap their tongue in pronouncing German. So, insert an e between word stem and ending when it mitigates the pronounciation.

    Following are the details, usually unimportant and not applicable in the straightforward inflections, when the verb stem ends with ß, x, or z, or the infinitive ends with eln, ern, or ien. See Verb Definitions and basic conjugations..

    The verbs subject to e-Erweiterung are all those whose word stem

    All consonants, with the exception of l, r, w, or x are either fricatives or explosives.

    gründen: du gründ
    est; reden: er redet; atmen: ihr atmet; rechnen: wir rechneten; wappnen: du wappnest.

    Haben versus Sein Association: There are, in Genus Aktiv, many verbs that form their compound tenses (i.e. Perfekt, Plusquamperfekt, and Futur II), in all Modi, with the auxiliary verb sein, and not with haben as in the above table with heilen. To judge which of the two auxiliaries is the correct one to use, follow these rules: All transitive verbs, and most reflexive verbs, associate with haben, as in the above table. Only some intransitive verbs associate with sein. Following are the instances for sein association of intransitive verbs.

    The grammar is thus specific on the conjugated verb, whether it is formed with haben or sein. Similarly as in English, it behooves to know whether a verb is transient or intransient, else to consult the dictionary. A useful example is the verb heilen in our Konjugationsmuster-Tafeln, which is defined both, a transitive verb and an intransitive verb. That is

    Superficially, one may use the verb heal in the English translation. However, heal, like heilen, is transitive and intransitive. Whereas English offers only different words for better clarity, German mandates here its grammatical clarity, in addition to some alternative verb choices, such as (aus)kurieren (tr) and vergehen (itr).

    Some of these rules are another good example of nuances that may be important, yet would seem to often be ignored, thus potentially producing some slant in the translated text. Indeed, sometimes the need for an additional clause or phrase may indicated.

    Genus Passiv

    The Passiv is formed in German quite the same as in Spanish. It is defined by one of two auxiliary verbs:

    Because the inflection of the auxiliary verbs sein and werden is tabulated elsewhere and easy to memorize, we show mostly just the 1.Person Singular in the following table.

    Konjugation im werden -Passiv
    Tempus Indikativ Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II
    Präsens ich werde geheil[e]t ich werde geheil[e]t  
    Präterium ich wurde geheil[e]t   ich würde geheil[e]t werden
    Perfekt ich bin geheil[e]t worden ich sei geheil[e]t worden  
    Plusquamperfekt ich war geheil[e]t worden   ich wäre geheil[e]t worden
    Futur I ich werde geheil[e]t werden
    er wird geheil[e]t werden
    ich werde geheil[e]t werden
    er werde geheil[e]t werden
    ich würde geheil[e]t werden
    Futur II ich werde geheil[e]t worden sein
    er wird geheil[e]t worden sein
    ich werde geheil[e]t worden sein
    er werde geheil[e]t worden sein
    ich würde geheil[e]t worden sein
    infinite Formen
    Infinitiv Präsens geheil[e]t werden
    Perfekt geheil[e]t worden sein
    Imperativ Singular werde geheil[e]t!
    Plural werdet geheil[e]t!
    [e] = e-Erweiterung (e-augmentation) see comment above! Note: There is no e-Erweiterung in heilen!

    Konjugation im sein -Passiv
    Tempus Indikativ Konjunktiv I Konjunktiv II
    Präsens ich bin geheil[e]t ich sei geheil[e]t  
    Präterium ich war geheil[e]t   ich wäre geheil[e]t
    Perfekt ich bin geheil[e]t gewesen
    er ist geheil[e]t gewesen
    ich sei geheil[e]t gewesen
    er sei geheil[e]t gewesen
    Plusquamperfekt ich war geheil[e]t gewesen   ich wäre geheil[e]t gewesen
    Futur I ich werde geheil[e]t sein
    er wird geheil[e]t sein
    ich werde geheil[e]t sein
    er werde geheil[e]t sein
    ich würde geheil[e]t sein
    Futur II ich werde geheil[e]t gewesen sein
    er wird geheil[e]t gewesen sein
    ich werde geheil[e]t gewesen sein
    er werde geheil[e]t gewesen sein
    ich würde geheil[e]t worden sein
    infinite Formen
    Infinitiv Präsens geheil[e]t sein
    Perfekt geheil[e]t gewesen sein
    Imperativ Singular sei geheil[e]t!
    Plural seid geheil[e]t!
    [e] = e-Erweiterung (e-augmentation) see comment above! Note: There is no e-Erweiterung in heilen!

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    Created: 13.04.98
    Last modified: 14.04.98
    Author: H.Vogel email: hvogel@travlang.com
    Site maintained by: H.Vogel

    Copyright (c)H.Vogel at The Travlang Company, 1998.

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