learn German online free: das Partizip - conjugation and the tenses - Präsens, Perfekt, Präteritum, starke and schwache Verben - list of verbs
Topics

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<h1>Tempus - a linguistic depiction of time</h1>
<h2>What do stem and trunk have in common?</h2>








<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" class="schema_image">


<p itemprop="description">
It makes me very sad to think that a lot of children have never climbed an apple tree.
Apple trees are heaven's gift. Beautiful when blooming and a medicine for our soul.
When I was a kid we had so many different types of apple trees, carrying all kinds of apples. Verbs
are like these trees. They, too, are a mirror of time and in children's books you sometimes find the seasons depicted
through trees, fields or plants. Winter is depicted by barren trees with a lone
snowman, summer by a tree ladden with fruit, fall by falling leaves, spring by trees in blossom.
Verbs change their form through pre- and suffixes, being attached to their
<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_stem" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">stem</a>,
which is like the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trunk_(botany)" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">trunk</a> of a tree.
</p>



<img src="../images/Apfelbaum.png" width="799" height="607" alt="" border="0">


<span itemprop="name">Apple tree,</span>
<span>&nbsp; </span>
<span itemprop="educationalUse">depiction of stem, prefix, suffix</span>
<span>&nbsp;(</span>
<span itemprop="inLanguage">en</span>
<span>,</span>
<span itemprop="width">799</span>
<span>x</span>
<span itemprop="height">607</span>
<span>): </span>
<span itemprop="keywords">&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_stem" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">stem</a>,
trunk, prefix, suffix, tree, summer, time, modification of tense through stem and suffixes in German</span>


</div>






























<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" class="schema_image" style="clear:both;">


<p itemprop="description">
<i>Zeit</i> (time) seems to stand still. But it won't be long before the bees will be humming in those trees again.
</p>



<img src="../images/winter.png" width="799" height="599" alt="winter" border="0">


<span itemprop="name">wandering time, </span>
<span>&nbsp; </span>
<span itemprop="educationalUse">depiction of past, present and future</span>
<span>&nbsp;(</span>
<span itemprop="inLanguage">en</span>
<span>,</span>
<span itemprop="width">799</span>
<span>x</span>
<span itemprop="height">599</span>
<span>): </span>
<span itemprop="keywords">&nbsp;stem, trunk, tree, snow, winter, time, significance of tense in Grammar</span>


</div>
























<p style="clear:both;">Stamm (stem) und Endung (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffix" target="_blank">suffix</a>): </p>

<p class="kaestchen">

<span>ich hol -e</span>
<br />
<span>du hol -st</span>
<br />
<span>Der Stamm ist &raquo;<i>hol</i>&laquo;.</span>


</p>
<p>
Verbs denote an action and time, which in a linguistic context is called
<i>Tempus</i> (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_tense" target="_blank">tense</a>). Tempus is Latin and means Time. The plural is <i>Tempora</i>.
We usually imagine three levels of time (Zeitstufe), present (Gegenwart), past (Vergangenheit) and future (Zukunft).
A good pattern, by which to learn verbs, is this:
</p>

<table border="1">
<colgroup span="4">
</colgroup>
<tr class="blau">
<td>sprechen</td>
<td>spricht</td>
<td>sprach</td>
<td>gesprochen</td>
</tr>
</table>

<table border="1">
<colgroup span="4">
</colgroup>
<tr class="blau">
<td>to speak</td>
<td>speaks</td>
<td>spoke</td>
<td>spoken</td>
</tr>
</table>
<p>What do you get when you learn the pattern for a specific verb? You learn the fundamentals of a verb:</p>
<table border="1">
<colgroup span="3">
</colgroup>
<tr class="blau">
<td>Zeitstufe</td>
<td>Beispiel</td>
<td>Name</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>-</td>
<td>sprechen</td>
<td>Infinitiv</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Gegenwart</td>
<td>spricht</td>
<td>Pr&auml;sens</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Vergangenheit</td>
<td>sprach</td>
<td>Pr&auml;teritum</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>-</td>
<td>gesprochen</td>
<td>Partizip</td>
</tr>

</table>



<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" class="schema_image" id="bluete-bild">


<p itemprop="description">
<i>Die Blüte</i> (the blossom) is a symbol of change in the sense of growth and well-being.
</p>



<img src="../images/Bluete.png" width="799" height="599" alt="" border="0">


<span itemprop="name">Significance of change, creation and mutation, </span>
<span>&nbsp; </span>
<span itemprop="educationalUse">depiction of <i>intrinsic</i> change</span>
<span>&nbsp;(</span>
<span itemprop="inLanguage">en</span>
<span>,</span>
<span itemprop="width">799</span>
<span>x</span>
<span itemprop="height">599</span>
<span>): </span>
<span itemprop="keywords">apple blossom</span>


</div>
























<p style="clear:both;">
When you have learnt this pattern you haven't yet learnt all tenses, but you have got the scaffolding upon which you can build your competence.
The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinitive">Infinitiv</a> and the Partizip are forms which can pertain to all tenses.
The Präsens can express the time level of the simple present and the present progressive: du sprichst = you
speak / du sprichst = you are speaking. An interesting, notable, but very informal construction is to compose the <i>present progressive</i> explicitly
like this: <i>Ich bin am sprechen</i>. That is, you take a form of <i>to be</i> (ich bin = I am / ich war = I was) and add the infinitive form
(sprechen) via the contracted preposition "am" (an article and a preposition merge to "am" = an dem).
Using this, you can copy the English present progressive (progressive form =
<a href="https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verlaufsform#Verlaufsformen_im_Deutschen" target="_blank">Verlaufsform</a>)
colloquially.
</p>

<p>
The Präteritum mainly corresponds to the past progressive (er sprach = he was speaking). <i>For
the most part</i> the Präteritum is used in written language like
newspaper articles and reports. In newspaper articles, literature and also informal spoken language the Präteritum (preterite)
can also correspond to the simple past:
<br>
<br>
Ich sah ihn.
<br>
I saw him.
<br>
<br>



The Partizip is not a tense, but a very important and highly significant component,
which you need to build the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_(grammar)" target="_blank">Perfekt</a>.
For example: <i>We have spoken about this. Wir haben darüber gesprochen. </i>English tenses are always twofold in integrating
the progressive form to each time level (Zeitstufe). As we have already noted, English is not an easy language, and the
tense system of German is far easier to understand for students
who know English. The Partizip denotes completion of an action, it might seem insignificant, but it penetrates core aspects of German grammar,
building a complex system of tense variations.
</p>




<p>The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinitive">Infinitiv</a> you recognize through the suffix <i>-en</i></p>


<p>Beispiele:</p>
<pre>

spielen
laufen
rennen
essen
schlafen
gehen
bauen
treten
nehmen usw.

</pre>
<p>The Infinitiv is no tense (like the Partizip is no tense, either) these forms are therefore called <i>infinite Formen</i>.</p>


<p id="Praesens">The Präsens is a tense, which is easy to build:</p>

<p width="0" height="1em">&Uuml;bersicht: </p>
<br />

<table border="1">
<colgroup span="4">
</colgroup>
<tr class="blau">
<td>Pronomen</td>
<td>Stamm</td>
<td>Endung</td>
<td>Numerus</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>ich</td>
<td>hol</td>
<td>-e</td>
<td>1. Person Singular</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>du</td>
<td>hol</td>
<td>-st</td>
<td>2. Person Singular</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>er, sie, es</td>
<td>hol</td>
<td>-t</td>
<td>3. Person Singular</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>wir</td>
<td>hol</td>
<td>-en</td>
<td>1. Person Plural</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>ihr</td>
<td>hol</td>
<td>-t</td>
<td>2. Person Plural</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>sie</td>
<td>hol</td>
<td>-en</td>
<td>3. Person Plural</td>
</tr>
</table>



<p>
In order to gain an advanced understanding and a good command of German we have to first understand the nature of the past participle.
(For the sake of convenience we shall call it Partizip.) It is a complex word, but learners of German as a foreign language who understand the usage of the English past participle
(like for example <i>spoken</i>) will easily understand the German usage as it is similar. The Partizip can be used to build tense.
(We have <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">spoken</span> about it. = Wir haben darüber <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">gesprochen</span>.)
It can also be used as an adjective (for example <i>the <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">spoken</span> word</i> =
<i> das <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">gesprochene</span> Wort).</i>

Many actions create something new, i.e. the direct object is changed or affected. For example the verb "break"
denotes elementary change or an affect / effect. Examples:
</p>



<p>
the broken window - das zerbrochene Fenster
<br>
verbranntes Holz - burnt wood
<br>
der versteckte Brief - the hidden letter
<br>
das vor kurzem gebaute Haus - the newly built house
</p>



<p>
When an action transforms or simply affects a direct object, the verb
can denote a state and (as Partizip) also serve as an
adjective. In this function, denoting an action, which has been
completed, the adjective can serve as an attribute or a property of a noun. Properties of nouns
are expressed by positing an adjective before the noun. In German the use of the Partizip
as an adjective is common practice, whereas the English
language doesn't use the past participle
consistently in this manner, but mostly prefers whole sentences or other phrases:
</p>





<p>
der erblühte Baum = the tree that blossoms
<br>
der verstorbene Mann = the dead man / the man who died
<br>
das verliebte Mädchen = the girl in love
</p>



<p>

But the most important construction that the Partizip is used for is to compose the <i>Perfekt</i> tense.
The <i>Perfekt</i> is a compound tense made up of an auxiliary verb and the Partizip:

</p>


<p>Der Junge <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">hat</span> eine Burg <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">gebaut</span>.
= The boy <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">has</span> <span style="background-color:#6F7846;color:white">built</span> a sand castle.
<br>
Sie <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">hat</span> den Brief <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">versteckt</span>.
= She <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">has</span> <span style="background-color:#6F7846;color:white">hidden</span> the letter.

<br>
Wir <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">haben</span> darüber <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">gesprochen</span>.
= We <span style="background-color:#8E965A;color:white">have</span> <span style="background-color:#6F7846;color:white">spoken</span> about it.
</p>







<p>
Due to
the nature of the past participle (Partizip) the German Perfekt for the most part
denotes completion of the action involved. This is no hard and fast
rule, though; mixed with certain adverbs, the Perfekt can take on the meaning of the present perfect progressive:
</p>




<p>
Wir haben lange darüber geredet. = We have been talking about this for a long time.
</p>


<p>
And the Perfekt can also assume the role of the past tense.
</p>

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" class="schema_image">


<p itemprop="description">
So the bottom
line is that English has a highly complex tense system, which in German is crammed into four puny tenses.
But let's advance slowly and start by covering the most important tense: das deutsche Perfekt.
</p>



<img src="../images/Perfekt.png" width="692" height="311" alt="depiction, German Perfect and its meaning" border="0">


<span itemprop="name">Significance of the German Perfekt tense, </span>
<span>&nbsp; </span>
<span itemprop="educationalUse">depiction</span>
<span>(</span>
<span itemprop="inLanguage">en</span>
<span>,</span>
<span itemprop="width">692</span>
<span>x</span>
<span itemprop="height">311</span>
<span>): </span>
<span itemprop="keywords">das deutsche Perfekt, German grammar, simple past, past progressive, present perfect, present perfect progressive</span>


</div>
























<p style="clear:both;">

Perfekt = simple past
<br>
Perfekt = past progressive
<br>
Perfekt = present perfect
<br>
Perfekt = present perfect progressive



</p>







<p>
All this can be expressed by the Perfekt in German, it is a very
flexible tense as you can see. And also it should be
the first thing that you think of when thinking of German tenses: that das deutsche Perfekt primarily denotes completion.
</p>





<p>
Sie hat ihr Zimmer aufgeräumt.
<br>
She has tidied up her room.
<br>
The room is tidy now.

<br>

Er hat drei Jahre in London gelebt.
<br>
He has lived in London for three years.
<br>
(Or: He has been living in London for three years.)
</p>




<p>In this example English expresses that he's still living in London. The German example says that at this moment
he is not in London anymore. See how important it is to keep this in mind
and to understand that the tenses seem similar, superficially, but aren't identical in meaning.
The auxiliary of the compound Perfekt can be either "haben" or "sein".
Let's look at the forms of the most powerful words that human languages have:
</p>









<pre>

1. sein (be)
2. werden (get, become, be)
3. haben (have)

</pre>



<p id="special_verbs">We will need the forms of the <i>Präsens</i>:</p>


<div style="text-decoration:underline;">Haben</div>
<pre>

ich habe
du hast
er, sie, es hat

wir haben
ihr habt
sie haben

</pre>





<div style="text-decoration:underline;">Sein</div>
<pre>

ich bin
du bist
er, sie, es ist

wir sind
ihr seid
sie sind

</pre>




<div style="text-decoration:underline;">Werden</div>
<pre>

ich werde
du wirst
er, sie, es wird

wir werden
ihr werdet
sie werden

</pre>












<p>
Note that the auxiliary itself is conjugated in the Präsens. The
composition of these parts constitutes the Perfekt:
</p>


Er hat einen Brief geschrieben.
<br>
He has written a letter. / He wrote a letter.

<br>
<br>
Er ist gerade gekommen.

<br>
He has just come.
<br>


<p>
Not only does the Partizip denote that an action has been completed, but for the most part these actions in the Perfekt
create an effect or a result, an outcome, sometimes even a product (like our <i>
<a href="http://www.primitivecode.com/index.php?topic=-German+course-part+1a-learn-German-online-quick-easy-grammar-the-nominative-case#letter" target="_blank">letter</a></i>). The second example
sentence does not include a direct object, but nevertheless
it still does effect a result, the result being that someone
("he") is now there due to the fact that he has just come. Sounds
like a triteness, which it isn't, in fact. In this sense the Perfekt can be described as a tense of the immediate past and
has a lot in common with the English
present perfect and even more in common with the simple past. The Präteritum can be compared to the past progressive because there we don't know if an action
has been completed or not:
</p>


<p>

Um fünf Uhr schrieb er einen Brief.
<br>
At five o'clock he was writing a letter. (Finished writing?)
<br>
<br>
Er hat mir einen Brief geschrieben.
<br>
He wrote me a letter. (Done. I am holding the letter in my hand.)
</p>

<p>
The Präteritum does not always correspond to the simple past, even if
both tenses look similar, both being non-composed tenses.
The Perfekt, though, can serve as a substitute for the Präteritum:
but that is <i>more or less</i> colloquial and sounds better if slightly
adapted:
</p>




<p>
Um fünf Uhr hat er an dem Brief gesessen.
<br>
At five he was busy writing his letter.
</p>



<p>
"Haben" and "sein" (have and be) are very special verbs because together with the Partizip they compose the Perfekt tense.
We simply use the Präsens of either <i>haben</i> or <i>sein</i> and add the Partizip to get the tense. It's like baking a cake,
you mix the correct ingredients like flour and eggs to get a
cake. Note the significance of the Präsens denoting "present" while denoting "present result" combined with the Partizip. The reason why
Germans are so fond of using the Perfekt in spoken language is that when talking, explaining stuff, the outcome, i.e. the result of the action, is relevant.
One of the biggest problems for students of the German language is to decide when to use <i>haben</i> and when to use <i>sein</i> to build the Perfekt.
This guideline aims at unraveling this problem concerning <i>haben</i> and <i>sein</i>, it will help you get the subject matter sorted in your mind.
As we have already elaborated in
<a href="http://www.primitivecode.com/index.php?topic=-German+course-part+1b-learn-German-online-quick-easy-grammar-the-accusative-case-der-Akkusativ#sentence-types">
the chapter on the Akkusativ</a>, the main syntactic framework can be divided into two groups or categories of
sentences, depending on the verb, whether it has a direct object or not.
The use of either <i>haben</i> or <i>sein</i> depends upon what type of verb is involved. We will now identify five classes of verbs.
At a later point we will go into this
very deeply, but now I'm going to give you a short summary, so this doesn't get too arduous.
</p>




<div class="Regel">
<div><a name="class_1">I. class: Verbs expressing change of location </a></div>
<br>

<div>These verbs express motion, which has got a direction.</div>
<div>These verbs compose the perfect with "sein" since they also have no direct object.</div>
<br>

<div>Examples:</div>
<div>Er geht nach Hause (Präsens).</div>
<div>Er ist nach Hause gegangen (Perfekt).</div>
<div>He has gone home (present perfect).</div>
</div>












<div class="Regel">
<div>II. class: movements without direction</div>
<br>

<div>The Perfect is composed with "haben" even though they have no direct object.</div>
<br>

<div>Examples:</div>
<div>Es prasselt (Präsens).</div>
<div>Es hat lange geprasselt (Perfekt).</div>
<div>Rain clattered down for a long time (simple past).</div>

<div>Libellen schweben über der Wasseroberfläche (Präsens). </div>
<div>Libellen haben über der Wasseroberfläche geschwirrt (Perfekt).</div>
<div>Dragonflies were whirring / whirred above the surface of the water (past progressive / simple past). </div>
</div>








<div class="Regel">
<div>III. class: verbs can affect a direct object</div>
<br>

<div>The affected objects are marked through the accusative.</div>
<br>

<div>Examples:</div>
<div>John hat eine Katze (Präsens).</div>
<div>John hat eine Katze gehabt (Perfekt). </div>
<div>John had a cat (simple past).</div>
</div>






<div class="Regel">
<div>IV. class: verbs expressing change</div>
<br>

<div>These verbs denote <a href="#bluete-bild">intrinsic change</a>.</div>
<div>They have no direct object as the change happens on its own accord and
is not effected by another agent.</div>
<div>These verbs compose their Perfekt with sein.</div>
<br>

<div>Examples:</div>
<div>Die Bäume blühen auf (Präsens).</div>
<div>Die Bäume sind aufgeblüht (Perfekt).</div>
<div>The trees have started to blossom (present perfect). </div>
<div>Der Kang der Glocke verhallt (Präsens). </div>
<div>Der Klang der Glocke ist verhallt (Perfekt).</div>
<div>The sound of the bell has died away (present perfect).</div>
<div>Die Blume verwelkt (Präsens).</div>
<div>Die Blume ist verwelkt (Perfekt).</div>
<div>The flower has withered (present perfect).</div>
</div>


<div class="Regel">
<div>V. class: actions or events without any effect or affect</div>
<br>

<div>There is no goal to be reached, nothing to be attained
and no result in the end because the end of the action is indefinite.</div>
<div>These verbs have no direct object.</div>
<div>They compose the Perfekt with haben.</div>
<br>

<div>Examples:</div>
<div>Das Kind friert (Präsens).</div>
<div>Das Kind hat gefroren (Perfekt).</div>
<div>The child was feeling / felt cold (past progressive / simple past).</div>
</div>


















<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" class="schema_image">

<p>
If you observe the categories, you will find that it boils down to verbs with direct or indirect object and whether there is mutation or not.
We have noted "A" in the head of the table for verbs with direct object and "B" for verbs with indirect object.
<a itemprop="thumbnailUrl" href="../images/thumbnails/thumb_haben_oder_sein.png">&nbsp;</a>
</p>



<img src="../images/haben_oder_sein.png" width="799" height="533" alt="" border="0">
<span itemprop="name">How to compose the Perfekt using either "haben" or "sein",</span>
<span>&nbsp; </span>
<span itemprop="educationalUse">depiction</span>
<span>&nbsp; (</span>
<span itemprop="inLanguage">en</span>
<span>,</span>
<span itemprop="width">800</span>
<span>x</span>
<span itemprop="height">553</span>
<span>):&nbsp;</span>
<span itemprop="keywords">Perfekt, Perfektformen, German grammar, Perfekt tense, when to use "haben" and when "sein", direct object, indirect object</span>


</div>






<br>
<br>
<br>
<a href="http://www.primitivecode.com/index.php?topic=-German+course-part+3-on-German-verbs-tense-Partizip-Perfekt-verb-classification-starke-schwache-verben-">
&gt;&gt; continue</a>

<br>
<br>
<br>


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