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Conjugation – an exercise Posted by on Oct 28, 2010 in Grammar, Language

Today I want to practice a little conjugation with you. As you can imagine, there are a lots of different time forms concerning conjugation. For example future, past, subjunctive, past perfect etc… Even for me as a native speaker, it gets to a complicated level very fast.

But to keep it on a simpler level, we´re going to stay with the indicative mode (present tense).

So there are different cases or persons to conjugate. These cases/persons are:

Ich – Me or I
Du – you (singular)
Er – he
Sie – she
Es – it
Wir – We
Ihr – you (plural)
Sie – they

So we´ll begin with a simple example. Let´s take the verb “gehen” (to walk):

Ich gehe – I walk
Du gehst – you walk
Er geht – he walks
Sie geht – she walks
Es geht – it walks
Wir gehen – we walk
Ihr geht – you walk
Sie gehen – they walk

As you can see, in German there are a lot more differences as in English. In English there is just a difference with the third person (he/she/it) whereas in German it changes almost with every person.

A second example is the verb “kratzen” (to scratch). Here it looks a bit confusing because of the z´s and t´s:

Ich kratze – I scratch
Du kratzt – you scratch
Er kratzt – he scratches
Sie kratzt – she scratches
Es kratzt – it scratches
Wir kratzen – we scratch
Ihr kratzt – you scratch
Sie kratzen – they scratch

As you can see  here, not all the verbs follow the same rules when you conjugate them. The endings of “gehen” and “kratzen” are totally different when conjugating.

So what I want to do now, is giving you some verbs to conjugate (only German). You can use the comment field for you conjugations:

stehen – to stay
lesen – to read
leben – to live

Two days from now I will publish the correct conjugations so you can compare it with your exercise.

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About the Author: jan

My name is Jan and I live in the south west of Germany. My profession is being a project manager at a company that creates digital media (first of all internet related things). This is my job since over a decade so I´m quite familiar with the web and its tools. Whereat today almost every school kid does. But that´s one of the main reasons why nowadays there are quasi no more limits in the internet and so it can be used for all imaginable types of things. For example learning languages! And that´s where we are at the moment. I first got in touch with Transparent Language when my family and I used to live in France a couple of years ago. I just had a break from work and by coincidence I produced some cultural videos in French. A few months later the whole blogging thing came up and I was lucky to be a part of it. So now my (second) job is to feed you with information, exercises, vocabulary, grammar and stories about Germany and German language. For being a passionate videographer I´m trying to do this more and more by videos. If you have any wishes or needs of topics that should be treated here, please don´t hesitate to contact me via a comment field. I´m open to your suggestions (as long as they are not too individual) and will try to satisfy your needs.


  1. Eric:

    ich sehe
    du siehst
    er sieht
    wir sehen
    ihr sieht
    sie sehen

    ich lese
    du liest
    er liest
    wir lesen
    ihr liest
    sie lesen

    ich lebe
    du lebst
    er lebt
    wir leben
    ihr lebt
    sie leben

  2. paul:

    stehen means to stand not to stay

  3. Steve K:

    stehen – to stay
    ich stehe
    du stehst (?)
    er/sie/es steht (?)
    wie stehen
    ihr steht
    Sie stehen

    lesen – to read
    ich lese
    du liesst?
    er/sie/es liest?
    wie lesen
    ihr liest?
    Sie lesen

    leben – to live
    ich lebe
    du liebst
    er/sie/es liebt
    wie leben
    ihr lebt
    Sie leben

  4. Eric:

    Oops, I did sehen, to see; stehen nicht. Took a stab at leben, not knowing if it did the ‘ie’ Zeug.

    Thought I had lesen richtig.

    Rookie, here.


  5. Jupitar:

    Isn’t the only slight irregularity here:

    Du liest
    Er/sie/es liest

    I had to think about whether ‘du liest’ is spelt with two s’s, but I don’t think so.

    The rest just follow the usual pattern don’t they?

    I don’t think verb conjugation in German is too bad in general, it’s mainly quite regular. From what I understand the Romance languages are much more complicated in this respect.

  6. db:

    Is there a reason not to include the “Sie” (you – formal) form here?

  7. Jupitar:

    To be honest, I don’t think German is even a language where you can really talk about conjugation. Yes, it has verb endings, but they are mostly very regular, and it is not fully inflected anyway:

    Wir gehen, sie gehen, Sie gehen

    These three could easily take different forms, yet they don’t.

    Most of the time, verb conjugation in German is pretty regular, and when it isn’t, you can pick it up without much trouble.

    Verb forms for the subjuctive are indeed an extra element to learn i.e ‘stehen’ -‘stuende’. I might have this wrong, but how often do you really need these forms in spoken German anyway? Verb + wuerden is coming in more and more. But anyway, that’s not conjugation, it is verb forms. I understand conjugation to be changing the verb according to person, and in this respect German is a relatively simple. language.

    Maybe you think it is very complex, because it has more conjugation than English. But compare it to the Romance languages and it isn’t. You also talk about ‘time forms’, but German has a very simple tense/aspect system.

    The main complexity of German is its declension system, not its conjugation system, and even that is only mildly complex if you compare it to certain other languages.

  8. Jupitar:

    OK, I just looked up ‘conjugation’ and it refers to changing of verbs for anything including tense, so German is reasonably complex in that respect, but it isn’t for person and number.

  9. jan:

    Thanks for your comments! When I wrote the article, I just thought about taking “stay” or “stand” as translation for “stehen”. So I asked dict.leo.org and it convinced me to take “stay”. I guess it depends on the case, but mostly “stand” would be better. Nevertheless, the main purpose was do conjugate the German verb “stehen”, so I hope the mistake doesn´t bother you too much! Thanks everybody…