There are 6 tenses in German:
- Simple Present (Präsens)
- Perfect (Perfekt)
- Simple Past (Präteritum)
- Past Perfect (Plusquamperfekt)
- Future 1 (Futur 1)
- Future 2 (Futur 2)
There are NO "continuous" or "progressive" forms: 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.
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Overview: German Tenses
The Präsens (simple present) is the most used one of the German tenses. It is used not only to describe the present, but also the future.
Example: „Er geht zum Fußballtraining.“
To the Lesson: Present Tense (Präsens)
There are two German tenses that are used to talk about completed actions in the past: Perfekt and Präteritum. We use the perfect tense in spoken language and informal writing.
Example: „Ich habe ein Auto gehabt.“
To the Lesson: Perfect Tense (Perfekt)
We use the Präteritum 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.“
To the Lesson: Past Tense (Präteritum)
The Plusquamperfekt 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.“
To the Lesson: Past Perfect Tense (Plusquamperfekt)
We use the Futur 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.“
To the Lesson: Future Tense 1 (Futur 1)
The Futur 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.“
To the Lesson: Future Tense 2 (Futur 2)