German Tenses

There are 6 tenses in German: simple present, perfect, simple past, past perfect, future 1, and future 2.

There are NO "continuous" or "progressive" tenses: the ones with "-ing" in English, like "I am running" or "He was talking."

Each tense has its own lesson, where I tell you when it's used and how to construct it. I've also included lots of examples to help you really understand German tenses.

Overview: German Tenses

The Simple Present Tense

Zeitformen - Präsens

The simple present is the most used tense in German. It is used not only to describe the present, but also the future.

Example: „Er geht zum Fußballtraining.“

The Perfect Tense

Zeitformen - Perfekt

In German there are two tenses that are used to talk about completed actions in the past: perfect and simple past. We use the perfect tense in spoken language and informal writing.

Example: „Ich habe ein Auto gehabt.“

The Simple Past Tense

Zeitformen - Präteritum

We use the simple past tense in formal writing, as well as with some verbs (like "sein" and "haben") when speaking. As its name says, it is used when talking about actions in the past.

Example: „Ich hatte ein Auto.“

The Past Perfect Tense

Zeitformen - Plusquamperfekt

The past perfect tense is used to talk about actions in the past that occurred before a specific point in the past. Lucky for you, it's similar to the same tense in English.

Example: „Ich hatte ein Auto gehabt.“

The Future 1 Tense

Zeitformen - Futur 1

We use the future 1 tense to talk about events that will happen in the future. It's constructed with the verb "werden" (conjugated) and the infinitive form of the main verb.

Example: „Ich werde ein Auto haben.“

The Future 2 Tense

Zeitformen - Futur 2

The future 2 is actually used to talk about both the past and the future. It's used to express that we think something happened or will happen, but we aren't sure.

Example: „Das Auto wird morgen repariert sein.“

Tip:

On the website www.verbformen.de you can plug in a verb and see all of its conjugated forms for the various tenses, along with examples, flash cards, and worksheets.

Zeitformen