Welcome to a German verb tutorial.
1. Review rules for regular verbs.
2. Watch the videos and take notes.
3. Try the interactive activities to test your knowledge.
4. Leave feedback at the bottom - what worked/didn't work for you? What would you like to see more of?
Each verb has a basic "infinitive" ("to") form. This is the form of the verb you find in a German dictionary. The verb "to play" in English is the infinitive form. ("He plays" is a conjugated form.) The German equivalent of "to play" is spielen. Each verb has a "stem" form, the basic part of the verb left after you remove the -en ending. For spielen the stem is spiel- (spielen - en). To conjugate the verb—that is, use it in a sentence—you must add the correct ending to the stem. If you want to say "I play" you add an -e ending: "ich spiele" (which can also be translated into English as "I am playing"). Each "person" (he, you, they, etc.) requires its own ending on the verb. This is called "conjugating the verb." If you don't know how to conjugate verbs correctly it means your German will sound strange to people who understand the language. German verbs require more different endings than English verbs. In English we use only an s ending or no ending for most verbs: "I/they/we/you play" or "he/she plays." In the present tense, German has a different ending for almost all of those verb situations: ich spiele, sie spielen, du spielst, er spielt, etc. Observe that the verb spielen has a different ending in each of the examples. If you want to sound intelligent in German, you need to learn when to use which ending. That's why we have this chart for you!
German has no present progressive tense ("am going"/"are buying"). The German Präsens "ich kaufe" can be translated into English as "I buy" or "I am buying," depending on the context.
The chart below lists two sample German verbs—one an example of a "normal" verb, the other an example of verbs that require a "connecting e" in the 2nd person singular and plural, and the 3rd person singular (du/ihr, er/sie/es)—as in er arbeitet.
spielen - to play
Deutsch English Sample Sentences
ich spiele I play Ich spiele gern Basketball.
du spielst you (fam.)
play Spielst du Schach? (chess)
er spielt he plays Er spielt mit mir. (with me)
sie spielt she plays Sie spielt Karten. (cards)
es spielt it plays Es spielt keine Rolle.
It doesn't matter.
wir spielen we play Wir spielen Basketball.
ihr spielt you (guys) play Spielt ihr Monopoly?
sie spielen they play Sie spielen Golf.
Sie spielen you play Spielen Sie heute? (Sie, formal "you," is both singular and plural.)