You’ve already learned how to conjugate regular and irregular German verbs. However, even among the German verbs with regular conjugation, there are some verbs for which a small extra rule applies – these are the verbs whose verb stem ends in t, d, z, ss, ß, s or x.
German verbs with a verb stem ending in t or d
Let’s start with those verbs whose verb stem ends in t or d. Can you think of any? Here are some examples:
- arbeiten – to work
- verbinden – to connect
- melden – to report, to announce
- lauten – to sound, to be called
- finden – to find
- antworten – to answer
- bieten – to offer
- binden – to bind
- bitten – to ask, to plead
- heiraten – to marry
You may ask yourself how you can determine the verb stem of German verbs. For regular verbs this is quite easy: note that all verbs above end with “-en“. The ending “-en” is the infinitive marker for German verbs, so the verb stem is everything that comes before.
For German verbs whose verb stem ends in t or d, the following rule applies: When conjugating the verb according to the rules for regular verbs, an extra “-e-” is added before the regular verb endings in the second and third person singular as well as the second person plural.
The rule applies to verb conjugation in the present tense.
This is an example of verb conjugation of a verb ending in d:
|ich leide||I’m suffering|
|du leidest||you’re suffering|
|er/sie/es leidet||he/she/it is suffering|
|wir leiden||we’re suffering|
|ihr leidet||you’re suffering|
|sie leiden||they’re suffering|
The same rule applies to verbs whose stem ends in t:
|ich berichte||I’m reporting|
|du berichtest||you’re reporting|
|er/sie/es berichtet||he/she/it is reporting|
|wir berichten||we’re reporting|
|ihr berichtet||you’re reporting|
|sie berichten||they’re reporting|
The reason for inserting this extra “-e-“ becomes quite obvious when you try pronouncing the affected verb forms without the “-e-“: You’ll quickly notice that this would be very difficult, if not impossible!
Here are some example sentences of verbs whose stem ends in t or d:
Du achtest Peter sehr.
You respect Peter a lot.
Ihr betet jeden Tag.
You all are praying every day.
Schau mal, Anton blutet!
Look, Anton is bleeding.
Du erfindest interessante Geschichten.
You’re making up interesting stories.
Sie empfindet mein Verhalten als unhöflich.
She experiences my behaviour as rude.
Ihr bildet euch.
You all are educating yourselves.
German verbs whose stems end with z, ss, ß, s or x
Do you know any German verbs whose stems end with z, ss, ß, s, or x? Here are a few examples of commonly used verbs, although by far not an exhaustive list:
- ächzen – to groan
- hassen – to hate
- (sich etwas) anmaßen – to arrogate (something for oneself)
- sitzen – to sit
- putzen – to clean
- bremsen – to brake
- dösen – to snooze
- faxen – to send a fax
- boxen – to box
- heißen – to be named
Verbs whose stem ends in z, ss, ß, s, or x are conjugated regularly. However, in the second person singular, they add a “-t“ instead of an “-st” as verb ending.
Have a look at this example conjugation of the verb “faulenzen“:
|ich faulenze||I’m lazing around|
|du faulenzt||you’re lazing around|
|er/sie/es faulenzt||he/she/it is lazing around|
|wir faulenzen||we’re lazing around|
|ihr faulenzt||you’re lazing around|
|sie faulenzen||they’re lazing around|
Here are some more example sentences with verbs whose stem ends in z, ss, ß, s, or x:
Du jauchzt vor Freude.
You’re cheering out of joy.
Du beeinflusst mich.
You’re influencing me.
Du grüßt nie deine Nachbarn.
You never greet your neighbors.
Was grinst du so?
Why are you grinning like this?
Ich bin so enttäuscht, dass du immer noch fixt.
I’m so disappointed that you’re still shooting drugs.
Did you know that Germany has a serious drug problem? Although the country itself might have a good reputation, the German government struggles desperately to get its people away from drugs.
Don’t forget to repeat and revise
This lesson’s study tip is all about repetition – now that you’ve learned quite a bit of German, can you still remember all the basics from the very beginning? If not, it might be wise to take time to go back to old vocabulary and former lessons, to refresh your memory.
If you don’t know where to start with revising, check out some revision tips for language students. Or just go through each previous lesson one by one, and when you notice that a grammar rule or some vocabulary doesn’t sound familiar anymore, make sure to spend time revising that particular lesson.