Present Tense in German (Präsenz)Grammar & Conjugation

Master the German 'Präsens' with this beginner-friendly guide. Learn how it's formed, used, and master expressing current actions, habits, and future plans in German.

The German present tense, or Präsens, is your go-to for talking about current actions, habits, and even future plans. It's like the simple present tense in English but used even more flexibly. Grasping the Präsens is essential for everyday communication in German.

The German present tense, or Präsens, is like a Swiss Army knife in your language toolbox. It's simple, versatile, and used a lot! Let's explore how to form it and use it to talk about now, habits, and even the future.

What is the Präsens?

The Präsens is the German equivalent of the English simple present tense. It's used to describe current actions, regular habits, and future plans.

How to Form the Präsens

Forming the Präsens is straightforward. You start with the verb's stem and add endings that match the subject (the person or thing doing the action).

ichmacheI do
dumachstYou do (informal)
er / sie /esmachtHe / She / It does
wirmachenWe do
ihrmachtYou do
siemachenThey do
SiemachenYou do (formal)
machen / to do; present tense

Irregular Verbs

Some verbs are a bit special and change their stem in the second and third person singular. For example, "haben" (to have) becomes "du hast" and "er hat".

Du `hast` ein Buch.

You have a book.
Er `hat` zwei Geschwister.

He has two siblings.

Using the Präsens

Talking About Now

Use the Präsens to talk about what's happening right now.

Ich `esse` gerade.

I am eating right now.
Wir `hören` Musik.

We are listening to music.

Describing Habits

It's also perfect for your daily routines or habits.

Sie `geht` jeden Tag joggen.

She goes jogging every day.
Ich `lese` oft Bücher.

I often read books.

Future Plans

Surprisingly, you can use the Präsens for future events, especially with time phrases like "morgen" (tomorrow).

Wir `fahren` morgen nach Berlin.

We are going to Berlin tomorrow.
Er `besucht` uns nächste Woche.

He will visit us next week.

The German present tense is your go-to for most daily conversations. It's your first step into expressing yourself in German, covering your current actions, habits, and even plans. Keep practicing, and you'll master it in no time!

How do I form the present tense for regular verbs in German?
For regular verbs in German, take the stem of the verb and add the appropriate ending based on the subject (ich, du, er/sie/es, wir, ihr, sie/Sie). For example, for 'spielen' (to play), you would say 'ich spiele', 'du spielst', 'er spielt', and so on.
When do I use 'sein' or 'haben' in the present tense?
'Sein' (to be) and 'haben' (to have) are used as auxiliary verbs in compound tenses, but in the present tense, they stand alone as main verbs. For example, 'ich bin' (I am) or 'du hast' (you have).
Are there any irregular verbs in the German present tense I should be aware of?
Yes, there are several irregular verbs in the German present tense. These verbs might undergo a vowel change in the second and third person singular. For example, 'sprechen' (to speak) changes to 'du sprichst' and 'er spricht'.
Can the German present tense be used to talk about the future?
Absolutely! The German present tense can be used to indicate future actions, especially when accompanied by a future time indicator. For example, 'Ich gehe morgen ins Kino' means 'I am going to the cinema tomorrow'.
How can I practice using the German present tense effectively?
Practice by forming sentences with different subjects and verbs, paying special attention to verb conjugations. Listening to German music, watching films, and conversing with native speakers can also greatly improve your grasp of the present tense.


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