Past tense – sein, haben, werden and modal verbs

The grammar for this week combines information from week 6 (Modal Verbs), week 9 (The Regular Verb) and week 10 (Verbs-sein, haben, werden).

Last week, in week 10, I introduced these three important verbs in the present tense. Let us delve a little into conjugating the past tense for the verbs sein (to be), haben (to have) and werden (to become). In English, this would translate to was/were, had and became, respectively.

In week 6, I introduced the Modal Verbs in German and their conjugation in the present tense. Sticking with this week’s theme, let me introduce to you their conjugation in the past tense. If you go back to week 9, you will immediately notice that the modal verbs when conjugated in the past tense somewhat follow the verb-ending-rule for regular verbs that end with –ten. The only exception is the 3rd person singular form.

Important tips: All modal verbs add a ‘t’ to the verb-stem (after removing the -en at the end of the verb infinitive) and the ö becomes ‘o’. For example, verb stem for können should be könn- but it actually is konnt-. The pronunciation also changes as a result 🙂

A PDF of the information shown above can be downloaded here.

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