On this page you can find all verbs that use the pronoun „es.“ I've also included examples of how they are used in fixed expressions and when you need to use the verb in the third person singular with „es."
The pronoun "es" has many different functions in German. It can be used as a pronoun standing for a single word, for a clause, and for an entire sentence.
Also, there are many specific expressions that use "es."
As a substitute for a neuter noun:
As a substitute for an entire sentence:
As a substitute for an adjective:
As a substitute for a clause ("es" replaces the action):
They can only be used in the third person. We must use "es."
Verbs of Feeling and Sensing:
The question „Wie geht es dir?“ is a fixed expression.
For verbs like schmecken and stinken, if we know what's causing the smell or taste, use the pronoun describing that thing: i.e. du stinkst (You smell). If we don't know what is causing the smell or taste, we use the pronoun „es.“
Verbs that Describe the Weather:
There is no subject, but we need one in order to form a grammatically complete sentence. That’s why we put in the "es."
For the Time of Day or Year:
Just like with verbs that describe the weather, we need a subject. But there isn't anyone or anything actually causing the weather, so we have to use the pronoun „es“ as a replacement.
Verbs that Express Sounds:
When it is obvious who/what caused the sound, we don‘t have to use "es," but we have to put something in P1.
"Es" isn‘t used if there is something else in P1. There's no difference between these versions.
Usually it's not clear who made the sound, so the subject is not known. But since you always need a subject, we put „es“ as the subject.
In Fixed Expressions:
In these cases "es" relates to the overall situation or "something" (like an unknown or non-specific subject).
Every sentence has to have a subject! → If the subject is unknown we use "es."
If the main sentence comes before the subordinate clause (most often a clause with "dass," an infinitive clause, or an indirect question), we use "es." If the subordinate clause comes before the main sentence, we don‘t, because the subordinate clause acts as subject.
"Es" is required in these constructions:
"Es" is used as a pronoun for neuter nouns, actions, and whole clauses.
Additionally, there are specific expressions with "es."
The most important fact is that a verb always needs a subject. If there is no acting person/thing (=subject), then we use "es" as the grammatical subject.