German Weak Verbs

German Verb Construction

Verbs in German are very structured and often follow fairly straight forward rules. Knowing these rules can really help when forming a sentence and knowing which form of the verb you need to use.

All German verbs are made up of 2 parts, the stem and the ending. The stem is the unique and main part of the verb. The ending is…well…the ending. The most common ending is -en but can also just be -n.

Let’s look at a few verbs to illustrate this:


  • Machen (to make) – Mach (stem) – en (ending)
  • Spielen (to play) – Spiel (stem) – en (ending)
  • Segeln (to sail) – Segel (stem) – n (ending)

Once you are familiar with the stem/ending rule, you are good to move onto the different verb forms. There are 7 main pronouns in German:

  • ich (I)
  • du (you – singular/informal)
  • er/sie/es (he/she/it)
  • wir (we)
  • ihr (you – plural/informal)
  • sie (they)
  • Sie (you – singular and plural/formal)

With each of these pronouns, the ending of the verb is replaced by the appropriate new ending for the sentence.

The endings you use for each pronoun are as follows:

  • ich – e
  • du – st
  • er/sie/es – t
  • wir – en
  • ihr – t
  • sie – en
  • Sie – en

We can now try this out with a full verb table.

Pronoun Stem Ending Completed form
ich mach e mache
du mach st machst
er/sie/es mach t macht
wir mach en machen
ihr mach t macht
sie mach en machen
Sie mach en machen

This form is the basis of verb construction across the whole German language. Knowing this basic rule will help you with verb construction.

In most cases, the stem of the verb does not change. However there are some cases where it does. This is the difference between weak verbs and strong verbs. The strong verbs are covered in our blog German Strong Verbs.

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