The German verb "to be" - meaning and use (2023)

Hi everyone,

and welcome to our German word of the day. Summer is over. Finally!
It's autumn. Or as I liked to call it Awesumn.
because I love it
The days are getting shorter and it's getting cold and rainy. That's great in itself, but there's another great aspect of autumn that's captured perfectly in Goethe's poem "Herbst"**:

cold is taken care of,
coats are worn
Sheep are sheared.
German is taught.

(** may not really be from Goethe)

Fall is great and it's the time of year when we do the BIG things.
No more bumpy waste like in summer.
Fall is the time to step up the game.
It's simple math:Fall + Game = Increased.
And for my engineer out there: F(fall) = raised (game).
And for my computer scientists:
if (season==autumn)
{while (game{Game++;}

Yes... if you're new to this site, you're probably pretty confused by now.
But the explanation is usually pretty good.
And today we're going to talk about something that could really use a good explanation.
We take a look at the meanings and functions of


And that's actually three. First:becomeis the German word forbecome.
But it is also used as an assembly aidfutureAnd if that wasn't enough, it's also used to treat thepassive.
In this article, of course, we're going to touch on a little bit of grammar. However, our main focus will be to explore WHY the German language is usedbecomefor these three things.
For example...why does that mean toh willand what happened to the Germanreceived?Why use Germanbecomefor the future? And why do we use it for the passive when so many other languages ​​use t?oh are?
So... are you ready to dive in? cooooool.

"will" and "get"

We already mentioned thatbecomeis the German word forbecome.
And for many students the question arises: what about?received?So let's talk about that first.
Evidently,becomeInreceivedhis brothers. But the translation ofreceivedIsreceived. Clearly something went wrong. I mean, the translations clearly have nothing to do with each other.
Or is it?
When we look closer, we see that the idea is behind itFront deskand the last nameBecomeare actually such a crazy bunch. In fact, there is a word in English that expresses both: toh get

  • Ireceivedan e-mail…. youreceivedsomething
  • Ireceived tired…. youbecomemoe.

What these two have in common is an underlying idea of ​​itreaches. The only difference is the direction. The e-mailreach you.. reachDiestate of fatigue.. then youbecome. But in both cases, you and something "move toward each other" until you "meet."
In the ancient Indo-European language, this phenomenon of bidirectional verbs was widespread. And there are still some such verbs. We already mentioned itto get,what can meanreceived, but also to become straightplaces to reach(back home). But there is alsoto make. You canmake a salador you canbuild a van.Same sentence structure, just a different object. And boom, the meanings are completely different. When you make a salad, you "bring" the salad to you. When you get to the bus, head towards the bus.
Well, the ancestor ofto beco/receivedis the Germanic * Radfrau,and these used to be bidirectional verbs too. But then this happened...

(Video) GERMAN LESSON 13: USEFUL German verbs: The Verb TO BE in GERMAN

'Englishmen, we have that wordbike man
and it means two things... that's confusing. Let's choose one.”

"Which should we choose then?"
"We haveto get forNasty received..“
To getKick that word ever."
"But we have that toofrom herefor the other Mea…”
"Whatever.from heresucks anyway. let's usebike maninstead of this."
"Okay... so from now onbike manwill be our new word
from here.“
“I have a question… can we useto getalso for that? Please???"
"Um... good."

Shortly afterwards, in Germany...

"Dear Germans. We have thatbike manand it means two
Stuff. The British just picked one. Let's pick one too."

The British chosebecome.Should we do the same?"
"No way! We're going to look like weak copycats!!
"And we have will andbecomeis amazing... best word ever. WE CANNOT REPLACE THAT.”
"Well, that's what we're going to use from now onreceivedonly forreceived.“


Well... I'm not sure that's how it happened. I wasn't there at the time because I was on vacation.
Anyway, both languages ​​used their version of "become" for different things, and to us they seem completely different now.
And while English removes its version ofbecome,The German kept it and uses it to this day.
time for example...

  • How can IbecomeSpeak fluently in just a few days?(The answer: You can't, unless you're a snowman.)
  • How can I become fluent in a few daysbecome?
    (not the most idiomatic German sentence ever)
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Maria explains why shebecamea vegetarian.
  • Maria explains why she is a vegetarianbecame.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Tomasis becomingmore andmorearrogant.
  • Tomasis becoming Ialways arrogant.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

    (Video) The Verb Sein (To Be) In German | German In 60 Seconds

Now, in English, there are actually quite a few words for the idea of ​​development. But they are all translatedbecome.

  • Mariawill alwaysmoe.
  • Mariais becomingmoe.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Saraturns/turns 24 this November.
  • Sarais becoming this November 24.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

  • dude you didgrownbig.
  • man are you tallbecome.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Tomasgocrazy.
  • Tomasis becoming crazy.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

So when the core isself developmentofMoving from one state to another statebecomeis probably the word you need since the concept is the essence of this verb. But where does this idea actually come from? Where does the verb actually come from?
Well, let's find out. Because that will be the key to the other uses of the verb.

(Video) German Verb Conjugation and Pronouns in Simple Present

The origin of "become"

Becomecomes from the incredibly ancient Indo-European root meaningturn, turn.Seems like a pretty specific activity... but man, man... There are a lot of words that come from that root.
Here are some examples from English...

  • vortex, vertical, warp, versus,

and in german...

  • Wert(value, value),to throw(to throw),
    shipyard(shipyard) and much more...

what doesbecomeDoes that have anything to do with spinning?
Also,The distance is actually not that great.If you want to become something, you have to somehow steer your life in that direction. The verb actuallyturn is actually often used in the sense of "evolve".

  • In autumn the leaves fallturnRed and yellow.

We could also use toh willHere.Turnis used with exactly this meaning. And that's exactly what happenedbecome. The only difference is thatbecomeany connection to lostBowInturnwhile you still have to turn it.

Now that we know what "become" means and where it came from, let's look at the other two functions and see if those uses really make sense.

become - the future

In English, there are several ways to say that something is in the future. But the main thing is the use of the verbWille. German, especially when spoken, doesn't always care about the future, but when it does, it uses itbecome.

  • Ibecometomorrow to the ballet... not for fun, of course.
  • IWille tomorrow to the ballet... just kidding, of course not.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

  • I wonder if humans will live on Mars in the futurebecome.
  • I wonder if peopleWille will live on Mars in the future.
  • Practice pronunciation - click once to start recording and again to stop

    (Video) Top 100 German Verbs

That is quite strange. German and English are usually very close when it comes to auxiliary verbs. So why would they even use different words to build the future? The answer to that is that... oh wait... Steve, my producer, wants something... ... what? ...I...I don't understand, what do you mean by "out of time?!"...but...but...I can't stop here. We've only just begunintensive seasonMan! How intense is it to just stop when we start… ….. oh… … … oh yeah? Tell the network admins to hang themselves off a cliff, if that's cool... ... ... ... all right.

So folks... apparently we have to stop here because the network thinks the show is "too long". I know it sucks, but so does Kanye West.
That made no sense at all.
So... if you have any questions about thisbecomeHasn't worked so far or you want to complain about the sudden stop, leave me a comment. I hope you enjoyed it and see you next time.

If you're curious, you can go to part two here:

  • word 2 – future and passive


4.8 18 to vote

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What is the German verb for to be? ›

Sein (to be) is a very important verb, and it is used in many different situations, including describing people and things, giving opinions and saying where you are.

What's the difference between mögen and Gefallen? ›

When you use mögen you are making a statement about your feelings and your feelings only. You are saying absolutely nothing about the object. With gefallen you at least partially describe the object or person. Take for instance a picture.

What is the 2 verb rule in German? ›

Two Verbs In A Sentence

When you have two verbs in a German sentence, you place the conjugated verb in the second position and the unconjugated verb at the end of the sentence. Note – A conjugated verb is a verb that changes to indicate the gender, tense, number, person or other aspects of the sentence.

When to use haben or sein? ›

The rule is: if there's movement from one place to another, use 'sein'. If there's not, use 'haben'. Example: I played. This example uses 'haben' - ich habe gespielt.

What is the verb to be in German past tense? ›

Conjugation of the Verb “Sein” – Simple Past Tense (Imperfekt)
ich warI was
du warstyou were
er/sie/es warhe/she/it was
Oct 19, 2018

What are the 4 German verb endings? ›

You'll see a few common patterns in present-tense verbs, especially in the regular ones. The ich form will generally end in an -e, the du form with an -st, and the er/sie/es and ihr forms with a -t.

What does Schnuckiputzi mean in German? ›

(mein) Schnuckiputzi / Schnucki. (my) sweetie pie, darling.

What type of verb is möchten? ›

The modal verbs wollen and möchten are similar in meaning. Both describe something that one would like to have or do, but with a different emphasis.

What is putzi in German? ›

(das) baby [österr.]

What is the most important German verb? ›

The Verb Sein: The Most Important German Verb
  • ich bin - I am.
  • du bist - you (singular, informal) are.
  • er/sie/es/man ist - he/she/it/ one is.
  • wir sind - we are.
  • ihr seid - you (plural, informal) are.
  • Sie sind - they/you (formal) are.
Jul 26, 2022

What are 5 regular verbs in German? ›

sein (to be), frühstücken (to eat breakdast) duschen (to shower), machen (to make), fahren (to drive), nehmen (to take), lesen (to read), schreiben (to write), haben (to have), essen (to eat), trinken (to drink), kochen (to cook), sitzen (to sit), spielen (to play).

What are 10 regular German verbs? ›

Action Words: 10 Commonly Used German Verbs to Get You Up and Running
  • Sein (to be)
  • Gehen (to go)
  • Sehen (to see)
  • Essen (to eat)
  • Schlafen (to sleep)
  • Trinken (to drink)
  • Fahren (to go/to drive)
  • Kaufen (to buy)
Apr 22, 2022

What is perfekt in German? ›

The perfect tense, also called present perfect (Perfekt), is a past tense. We use it to speak about actions completed in the recent past. In spoken German, the present perfect tense is often used instead of the past tense. We can translate the perfect tense using the English simple past tense.

What does Sien mean in German? ›

Adjective. sien. (stressed) third-person singular possessive pronoun. his. her.

How do you use perfekt in German? ›

The perfect tense is formed with an auxiliary verb – sein (to be) sein, Präsens or haben (to have) haben, Präsens – and the past participle: subject + auxiliary verb + other information + past participle. Anna ist gestern mit dem Auto gefahren. Anna drove the car yesterday.

What are the 4 German tenses? ›

1. The Use of Tenses in German
  • Present (Präsens)
  • Present perfect (Perfekt)
  • Past simple (Imperfekt/Präteritum)
  • Past perfect (Plusquamperfekt)
  • Future (Futur I)
  • Future perfect (Futur II)
Jul 8, 2021

Do Germans use past tense? ›

Past Tense in German

There is the simple past tense called "Präteritum" (sometimes called the "Imperfect tense"), the present perfect, which is "Perfekt," and the past perfect, which they call "Plusquamperfekt" in German. Just like in English, German speakers frequently use the “Perfekt” form to describe past actions.

What is Konjunktiv II German verbs? ›

The German Konjunktiv II is the verb form that we use for polite requests, wishes, suggestions, theories and hypothetical situations. We conjugate modal verbs in the Subjunctive II by adding the subjunctive endings to the simple past stem and adding an umlaut.

How can I learn German verbs easily? ›

Most German verbs follow regular rules with simple endings that can be learned quickly. Daily practice and repetition will help you learn these concepts faster. You should start by learning regular verbs in the present tense. These rules are simplest to learn and doesn't require hours of memorization.

Is it difficult to learn Germany? ›

With plenty of straightforward rules, German is not actually as hard to learn as most people think. And since English and German stem from the same language family, you might actually be surprised at the things you pick up without even trying! And on top of it all, it's definitely a useful one, too.

What is the meaning of ihr? ›

International Health Regulations (IHR)

What does Digga mean in Germany? ›

Digga is simply word you use when addressing a friend, like “mate”, “dude” or “bro”.

What is German Heimat? ›

Heimat (pronounced [ˈhaɪmat]) is a German word translating to 'home' or 'homeland'.

What does Schatzi mean? ›

/ ˈʃɑt si / PHONETIC RESPELLING. 🎓 College Level. noun Slang. sweetheart; darling.

What does mochten mean in German? ›

“Möchten” means “would like to” in English, and “wollen” translates as “to want.” You can learn more about when and how to use these verbs in the following.

What is the difference between mochten and Mogen? ›

Difference in meaning between mögen and möchten

The modal verb in its infinitive form mögen generally means “to like” and this is the meaning you express if you conjugate it with a -g- in its root (mag). However, the conjugation with -chte (möchte) means “to want/would like”.

What are the 7 modal verbs in German? ›

The modal verbs in German are: können (can, to be able to), müssen (must, to have to), wollen (will, to want to), sollen (should, am to, ought to, to be supposed to), dürfen (may, to be allowed to), mögen (to like, to like to).

Why do Germans say Genau so much? ›

This is because 'Genau', which means 'exactly', is one of those interjections people say while having a conversation to signal they are listening and engaged. The way in English we say things like 'uh-huh' and 'yeah' a million times without even noticing it.

What does Kuchi mean in German? ›

In dance and related uses

The slang term 'coochie', popular in the USA is likely to be derived from the German word 'Kuchen', meaning 'a pie or cake'.

What does Bitteschön mean in German? ›

Bitte schön! You're welcome.

What is a strong verb German? ›

In the Germanic languages, a strong verb is a verb that marks its past tense by means of changes to the stem vowel (ablaut). The majority of the remaining verbs form the past tense by means of a dental suffix (e.g. -ed in English), and are known as weak verbs.

What are German weak verbs? ›

Weak [regular] verbs

These are the verbs with no stem-vowel changes in any tense. They take -te endings in Simple Past and Subjunctive II, and -t endings for their past participles. Zum Beispiel: sagen, sagte, (habe) gesagt. einkaufen, kaufte ein, (habe) eingekauft.

What is the most used verb in the world? ›

25 Most Common Verbs
  • be.
  • have.
  • do.
  • say.
  • get.
  • make.
  • go.
  • know.

What is a full verb in German? ›

Main verbs, also called full verbs (in German: Vollverben), are those verbs that can form the predicate of a sentence alone, which means as the only verb. In this role, they appear in a finite verb form and determine the meaning of the statement. This function distinguishes them from auxiliary verbs.

What are the most irregular German verbs? ›

The three most common German irregular verbs are, without any doubt, sein (to be), haben (to have) and werden (to become).

How many German verbs exist? ›

There are more than 200 strong and irregular verbs, but just as in English, there is a gradual tendency for strong verbs to become weak. As German is a Germanic language, the German verb can be understood historically as a development of the Germanic verb.

What are the 6 verbs in German? ›

Ich Muss! The 6 German Modal Verbs You Need to Know Now
  • Dürfen — “may”
  • Können — “can”
  • Wollen — “want”
  • Sollen — “should”
  • Müssen — “must”
  • Mögen — “to like”
Mar 3, 2022

What are common German helping verbs? ›

In German, there are three helping verbs: haben (to have), sein (to be) and werden (to become). The helping verb haben and sein are used for building the past tenses (present perfect and past perfect tense) and one of the passive voices (Zustandspassiv).

What are the top 10 regular verb? ›

The top 10 regular verbs in English are: want, look, use, work, start, try, ask, need, talk, and help.

Do Germans say Entschuldigung? ›

In German, you can say “Entschuldigung” or use the more informal abbreviation “'Tschuldigung”. The English word “Sorry” works, too.

What does TeKaMoLo mean German? ›

So ingenious German teachers came up with the abbreviation “tekamolo”, which stands for temporal (time), kausal (reason), modal (manner), lokal (place).

What is TeKaMoLo in German? ›

TeKaMoLo is short for the German words temporal, kausal, modal and lokal. The rule basically says that the order of boxes in a German sentence usually is: Te – ka – mo – lo. when – why – how – where.

What does auf gehts mean? ›

Auf geht's! Off we go! Let's roll! Still having difficulties with 'Auf geht's!'?

What does Jawohl mean in German slang? ›

Jawohl meaning

In this context, wohl is used as a modal particle to add stress, so the word jawohl means something along the lines of “certainly” or “yes, definitely”.

What does Das Flugzeug mean in German? ›

aeroplane A plane is a vehicle with wings and one or more engines which can fly.

What is the Imperfekt in German? ›

The past tense, also called simple past or imperfect (Imperfekt or Präteritum in German), is used to express facts and actions that started and ended in the past. It is typically used to tell stories or report past events in written German.

How do you use Mochte in German? ›

So, the main meaning of mögen is “to like“, hence the past of mögen → ich mochte (without Umlaut dots!) means “I liked”. Möchten does not have an “own” past tense because it is only a verb form of mögen. We use möchten when we want to order/ask for something in a polite way or when we express a wish.

What does Praeteritum in German mean? ›

Unlike the Perfekt tense in German, which is mostly used in spoken German and for recent events, the Präteritum (in English "the simple past") is predominantly a written tense denoting events that date further back in the past.

What is the conjugation for sein? ›

Conjugation: Present Tense
sieistshe is
esistit is
wirsindwe are
ihrseidyou are (plural, familiar)
5 more rows
May 1, 2022

What are the 5 forms of sein in German? ›

The 5 forms of 'sein' in the present tense are 'bin', 'bist', 'ist', 'sind', and 'seid.

What is an example of sein? ›

Sein + noun = Ich bin Student. – I am a student. Sein + adjective = Er ist groß. – He is tall.

What are the 3 conjugations of the verb to be? ›

Forms of the Verb “To Be”
Past participlebeen
Present participlebeing
PresentI am, he/she/it is, we/you/they are
Simple pastI/he/she/it was, we/you/they were

What does haben and sein mean? ›

The two most important German verbs are haben (to have) and sein (to be). As in most languages, the verb "to be" is one of the oldest verbs in German, and therefore one of the most irregular.

What is the rule of sein in German? ›

8. Sein and the future
ich werde sein (I will be)wir werden sein (we will be)
du wirst sein (you will be)ihr werdet sein (you will be)
er/sie/es wird sein (he/she/it will be)Sie/sie werden sein (you/they will be)
May 4, 2023

How do you use Konjunktiv 2 in German? ›

The Konjunktiv II (subjunctive II) is used to express imagined wishes or conditions. It can also be used to give advice or suggestions, or to make a sentence politer. Forming the subjunctive II: Subjunctive II of werden (will, become) werden, Konj.

What does de sein mean? ›

Dasein (German pronunciation: [ˈdaːzaɪn]) (sometimes spelled as Da-sein) is the German word for 'existence'. It is a fundamental concept in the existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger.

Is sein a weak verb? ›

As in other tenses, the verb sein is a very irregular strong verb since the imperfect forms seem to have no relation to the infinitive form of the verb: ich war, du warst, er/sie/es war, wir waren, ihr wart, sie/Sie waren.

Is sein and haben perfect tense? ›

In the perfect tense we use the auxiliary verbs sein (to be) and haben (to have). Tim ist nach Hannover gefahren. Tim has gone to Hannover.

Are haben and sein past tense? ›

The simple past tense of "sein" and "haben"
12 more rows

What are strong verbs in German? ›

In the Germanic languages, a strong verb is a verb that marks its past tense by means of changes to the stem vowel (ablaut). The majority of the remaining verbs form the past tense by means of a dental suffix (e.g. -ed in English), and are known as weak verbs.


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