25 German Verbs: Ultimate Guide to Common German Verbs & Conjugation

Let’s not lie to each other: learning German verbs is – probably – the most important aspect of mastering your target language.

Without understanding the verbs in German and their conjugations, you can’t form sentences, tenses and can’t add true meaning to your real-life conversations. Spring German (a project I co-founded) made a video on the 14 most important German verbs – according to Spring German, of course!

In this blog post, we’ll explain what are German verbs, list the 25 most common ones and give you examples on their correct conjugations + example sentences.

What are German verbs?

Just like in other languages, in German, too, verbs play a huge role in constructing meaningful German sentences.

Verbs in German express actions, events, or states of being and are really important to express complex thoughts.

German verb conjugation is based on person (ich, du, er/sie/es, wir, ihr, sie/Sie), tense (present, past, future), and mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative). Each of the verbs have a stem (that’s the base form) and the endings change depending on the subject and the tense.

Their position is determined by the sentence type – on whether it is a statement, a question, or command:

  1. In declarative sentences (statements), the verb takes the second position:
    Ich lerne Deutsch. (I learn German.)
    Heute lerne ich Deutsch. (Today I learn German.)
  2. In question, the verb typically comes first:
    Lernst du Deutsch? (Do you learn German?)
  3. In commands, the verb comes first, without a subject pronoun:
    Lerne Deutsch! (Learn German!)

And what about the sentence structure in German?

Well, in simple sentences, the verb’s position follows the subject-verb-object (SVO) pattern:
Ich kaufe ein Buch. (I buy a book)

In more complex sentences with subordinate clauses, the verb is often positioned at the end:
Ich weiß, dass du Deutsch lernst. (I know that you learn German.)

1. sein (to be)

Sein is one of the most common German verbs. It’s so common and useful to know that Effortless Conversations made a dedicated article solely on sein conjugation.

It’s used to describe the state or condition of someone or something.

PersonConjugation
ichbin
dubist
er/sie/esist
wirsind
ihrseid
sie/Siesind

Ich bin ein Student. [I am a student.]

2. haben (to have)

Haben is another important verb in German, and you should check the haben conjugation, too!

It’s used to express possession or ownership.

PersonConjugation
ichhabe
duhast
er/sie/eshat
wirhaben
ihrhabt
sie/Siehaben

Hast du ein Buch? [Do you have a book?]

3. werden (to become)

Werden is used to indicate change or transformation.

PersonConjugation
ichwerde
duwirst
er/sie/eswird
wirwerden
ihrwerdet
sie/Siewerden

Er wird bald Vater. [He will become a father soon.]

4. gehen (to go)

Gehen is all about saying and expressing physical movement or change of location.

PersonConjugation
ichgehe
dugehst
er/sie/esgeht
wirgehen
ihrgeht
sie/Siegehen-

Wir gehen in den Park. [We are going to the park.]

5. kommen (to come)

This German verb is used to describe the action of arriving or approaching a place or person.

PersonConjugation
ichkomme
dukommst
er/sie/eskommt
wirkommen
ihrkommt
sie/Siekommen

Kommst du mit uns? [Are you coming with us?]

6. machen (to make/do)

Machen is a versatile verb used for different actions, like creating, performing, or completing tasks.

PersonConjugation
ichmache
dumachst
er/sie/esmacht
wirmachen
ihrmacht
sie/Siemachen

Sie macht ihre Hausaufgaben. [She is doing her homework.]

7. sagen (to say)

If you want to express something with spoken words or communicating verbally.

PersonConjugation
ichsage
dusagst
er/sie/essagt
wirsagen
ihrsagt
sie/Siesagen

Er sagt die Wahrheit. [He is telling the truth.]

8. sehen (to see)

This verb in German is used to describe the action of seeing something visually.

PersonConjugation
ichsehe
dusiehst
er/sie/essieht
wirsehen
ihrseht
sie/Siesehen

Ich sehe den Vogel. [I see the bird.]

9. geben (to give)

This verb expresses the act of transferring something to someone or providing something.

PersonConjugation
ichgebe
dugibst
er/sie/esgibt
wirgeben
ihrgebt
sie/Siegeben

Gib mir bitte das Buch. [Please give me the book.]

10. nehmen (to take)

This verb indicated the action of taking, receiving, or acquiring something.

PersonConjugation
ichnehme
dunimmst
er/sie/esnimmt
wirnehmen
ihrnehmt
sie/Sienehmen

Nehmen Sie einen Keks. [Take a cookie.]

11. können (to be able/can)

This one expresses ability or possibility.

PersonConjugation
ichkann
dukannst
er/sie/eskann
wirkönnen
ihrkönnt
sie/Siekönnen

Kannst du mir helfen? [Can you help me?]

12. müssen (to must/have to)

Müssen is about expressing a necessity or obligation.

PersonConjugation
ichmuss
dumusst
er/sie/esmuss
wirmüssen
ihrmüsst
sie/Siemüssen

Ich muss arbeiten gehen. [I have to go to work.]

13. wollen (to want)

Wollen expresses desire, intention, or willingness.

PersonConjugation
ichwill
duwillst
er/sie/eswill
wirwollen
ihrwollt
sie/Siewollen

Wir wollen nach Hause gehen. [We want to go home.]

14. sprechen (to speak)

This verb in German is used to talk about the act of communicating verbally or conversing in a language.

PersonConjugation
ichspreche
dusprichst
er/sie/esspricht
wirsprechen
ihrsprecht
sie/Siesprechen

Meine Freundin spricht Französisch. [My friend speaks French.]

15. finden (to find)

Describes the action of locating, discovering something.

PersonConjugation
ichfinde
dufindest
er/sie/esfindet
wirfinden
ihrfindet
sie/Siefinden

Hast du deine Schlüssel gefunden? [Did you find your keys?]

16. leben (to live)

Refers to the state of being alive or the way someone spends their life.

PersonConjugation
ichlebe
dulebst
er/sie/eslebt
wirleben
ihrlebt
sie/Sieleben

Meine Großeltern leben in der Stadt. [My grandparents live in the city.]

17. arbeiten (to work)

When you want to talk about your work, this is your go-to German verb.

PersonConjugation
icharbeite
duarbeitest
er/sie/esarbeitet
wirarbeiten
ihrarbeitet
sie/Siearbeiten

Dein Vater arbeitet hart. [Your father works hard.]

18. essen (to eat)

You can use essen to talk about eating, consuming food or having a meal.

PersonConjugation
ichesse
duisst
er/sie/esisst
wiressen
ihresst
sie/Sieessen

Die Kinder essen Obst. [The children are eating fruit.]

19. trinken (to drink)

Refers to the act of consuming liquids or beverages.

PersonConjugation
ichtrinke
dutrinkst
er/sie/estrinkt
wirtrinken
ihrtrinkt
sie/Sietrinken

Trinkst du Kaffee oder Tee? [Do you drink coffee or tea?]

20. schlafen (to sleep)

You can use this verb to talk about sleeping or resting.

PersonConjugation
ichschlafe
duschläfst
er/sie/esschläft
wirschlafen
ihrschlaft
sie/Sieschlafen

Das Baby schläft noch. [The baby is still sleeping.]

21. stehen (to stand)

Used for expressing the position of standing upright or being in a vertical position.

PersonConjugation
ichstehe
dustehst
er/sie/essteht
wirstehen
ihrsteht
sie/Siestehen

Stehen Sie bitte auf. [Please stand up.]

22. liegen (to lie)

Liegen indicated the position of being in a horizontal position.

PersonConjugation
ichliege
duliegst
er/sie/esliegt
wirliegen
ihrliegt
sie/Sieliegen

Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch. [The book is lying on the table.]

23. bleiben (to stay/remain)

This one expresses the action of continuing to be in a particular state or location.

PersonConjugation
ichbleibe
dubleibst
er/sie/esbleibt
wirbleiben
ihrbleibt
sie/Siebleiben

Bleib hier und warte auf mich. [Stay here and wait for me.]

24. bringen (to bring)

This verb is used for carrying or transporting something or someone to a specific place.

PersonConjugation
ichbringe
dubringst
er/sie/esbringt
wirbringen
ihrbringt
sie/Siebringen

Bringen Sie mir bitte die Zeitung. [Please bring me the newspaper.]

25. lassen (to let/allow)

Lassen is used when you want to talk about permitting or enabling someone to do something, or allowing something to happen.

PersonConjugation
ichlasse
dulässt
er/sie/eslässt
wirlassen
ihrlasst
sie/Sielassen

Lass mich in Ruhe. [Let me be/leave me alone.]

Practice German verbs with Practice Worksheets

Fill in the blanks with the correct German verb!

This is just part of the exercise. Do you want to practice more? Here’s your chance!

Learn common verbs in German with Conversation Based Chunking

Conversation Based Chunking (CBC) is an effective method for learning German verbs through practical, conversational contexts.

CBC focuses on learning verbs within frequently used expressions and phrases, known as “chunks.”

First, start by determining the situations and topics you’re most likely to encounter in your daily life or desired contexts, such as greetings, shopping, travel, or work-related scenarios. Within these contexts, identify and learn common expressions or phrases that contain verbs:

  • Ich habe Hunger” (I’m hungry),
  • Kannst du mir helfen?” (Can you help me?), or
  • Wir gehen ins Kino” (We’re going to the movies).

Rather than memorizing boring verb conjugations in isolation, associate them with the conversational contexts and chunks you’ve learned.

Once you’ve built a solid foundation of verb-based chunks, start using them in real conversations with native speakers or language partners. You can check italki to practice these chunks, or maybe even Speechling to perfect your pronunciation.

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