The German verb “kommen”

Posted on 06. Jun, 2012 by in Grammar, Language

When you get in contact with strangers you would certainly like to find out more about them. Among other things, you would probably like know where a person does come from. In order to ask someone in German where a person is from you need to know the German verb “kommen” (to come). In order to conjugate “kommen” all you have to do is lop the ending –en off the stem and attach the correct conjugation ending.

 

Singular

Plural

1st Person ich komme wir kommen
(I come) (we come)
2nd person Sie kommen (formal) Sie kommen (formal)
(you come) (you come)
du kommst (informal) ihr kommt (informal)
(you come) (you come)
3rd person er / sie / es kommt sie kommen
(he / she / it comes) (they come)

 

 

Here are possible question how you can ask where someone is from.

 

A: Woher kommen Sie? (Where do you come from?) – formal, 2nd pers. sgl. and pl.
B: Ich komme aus … (I come from …)

 

A: Woher kommst du? Informal (Where do you come from?) – informal, 2nd pers. sgl.
B: Ich komme aus … (I come from …)

 

A: Woher kommt ihr? (Where do you come from?) – informal, 3rd pers. pl.
B: Wir kommen aus … (We come from …)

 

A: Woher kommt Annika? (Where does Annika come from?)
B: Sie kommt aus … (She comes from …)

 

A: Woher kommt Thorsten? (Where does Thorsten come from?)
B: Er kommt aus … (He comes from …)

 

 

Keep in mind that most countries, towns, and cities are neuter in German. Therefore, they take the article das. But all countries, towns, and cities which take das are never used with the articles. That is, you do not say “Ich komme aus dem Deutschland” but simply “Ich komme aus Deutschland.” An article is only used when a country, town, or city is either feminine or masculine in the nominative case. Here is a list of some examples.

 

die USA – the USA (Ich komme aus den USA.)

die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika – the United States of America (Ich komme aus den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika.)

der Irak – Iraq (Ich komme aus dem Irak.)

der Iran – Iran (Ich komme aus dem Iran.)

der Jemen – Yemen (Ich komme aus dem Jemen.)

der Libanon – Lebanon (Ich komme aus dem Lebanon.)

der Kongo – Congo (Ich komme aus dem Kongo.)

die Schweiz – Switzerland (Ich komme aus der Schweiz.)

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About Sandra

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra

7 Responses to “The German verb “kommen””

  1. ronin 6 June 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Why do we use “dem” before the aforementioned countries?

    thanks

  2. mai 6 June 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Because aus wants Dativ, der in Dativ bekomes dem

  3. Efrutik 6 June 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    Oh I see, so then you have used “dem” only because “An article is only used when a country, town, or city is either feminine or masculine in the nominative case”. Aha, but I belive my instructor for German did not require us to utilize dem when stating “Ich komme aus USA”. Is that a mistake if one does not use “dem” article? Please advise, thanks!

  4. Sandra Rösner 7 June 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Yes, all countries, cities, and towns that are feminine or masculine in German HAVE TO be used with an article. If a noun is masculine it gets the article DEM and if a noun is feminine it gets the article DEN.

    das Amerika (nominative) => “Ich komme aus Amerika.”
    die USA => “Ich komme aus DEN USA.”
    die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika => “Ich komme aus DEN Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika.”

    So, yes your sentence is incomplete when you omit DEN in combination with “USA”.

    The genders of counties have nothing to do with geography (African and ‘Arabic’ countries). You have to use the article DEM with them because they are masculine in German, that’s all.

  5. efrutik 10 June 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Sandra, thank you for your explanation!

  6. Anon 6 April 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Sandra is not quite correct. The countries that are considered PLURAL change to “den.” Just feminine countries change to “der.” die Schweiz – Switzerland (Ich komme aus der Schweiz.) That’s why you use “der” here and not “den”, because Schweiz is feminine, but not plural. Whereas die USA or die vereinigten Staaten are both plural and thus become “den” in the dative case.

  7. Anon 10 April 2013 at 2:58 am #

    Sandra, you’re not correct that feminine nouns become “den” in the dative. PLURAL nouns become “den” in the dative, feminine nouns become “der.” So, “Ich komme aus den USA.” USA is considered plural in German, which is why one also says, “Ich komme aus DEN vereinigten Staaten.”


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