German Irregular Verbs
Unregelmäßige Verben im Deutschen
German Irregular Verbs – Summary
Irregular verbs, also called strong verbs in German, can be distinguished from the other types of verbs by the following factors:
- Infinitive (“leben, tragen”)
- Paste tense (“er lebte, er trug”)
- Participle 2 (“gelebt, getragen”)
In German there are about 150 strong verbs. The vowel, which normally changes in this verb, is called “Ablaut”. There are three typical patterns of “Ablaut”-changes:
- e – i – a: “gehen – ging – gegangen”
- a – u – a: “fahren – fuhr – gefahren”
- i – a – u: “finden – fand – gefunden”
There are other types of verbs, the so called mixed verbs. Examples would be “denken – dachte – gedacht” oder “brennen – brannte – gebrannt”.
“Ich esse.” – “Ich aß.”
Well, most of you might have seen this verb: “essen”. So, up here, you can see its 1st person singular form in the present tense. After that, you can see its form in the past tense.
Can you tell me, why this verb changes completely from one tense to another? Well, I can tell you why: It’s a German irregular verb!
Actually you have already entered one of the ugliest parts of German Grammar. So, you better be positive – once you have understood this topic, there is nothing that can frighten you anymore.
In the following, I’d like to give you some examples for irregular verbs. Furthermore, I’ll present to you five useful tricks that will help you to master this topic. It is important that you also understand in general about German verbs.