This week I introduce some rules regarding the Verb in German, specifically the regular verbs. This is the initial, easier step of the verb-learning process. In Week 6, I highlighted the Modal Verb, which I will blend into this week’s rules for regular verbs.
Lets look at an example I used previously in Week 2.
Ich gebe der Frau ein Buch. (I am giving the lady a book.) The verb is geben.
The first thing you see and need to remember is that the Verb in this main clause (simple sentence) always occupies the 2nd position. Yes, there are some exceptions but this is the first thing a student is taught about German sentence construction.
When dealing with a regular verb, the best way to remember its conjugation is (1) to identify the ‘stem of the verb’, which usually is done by removing the -en or -n at the end and (2) then replacing it with the following as seen below.
In the case of regular verbs that end with -den or -ten, an “e” is added before the consonant, in this case the ‘s’ or the ’t’.
In the third case, just in the second person singular “du” does a change occur.
When using a modal verb in a simple sentence, the modal verb occupies the second position and is conjugated while the verb infinitive is pushed to the end of the sentence. An example is shown below. The modal verb used is müssen and is conjugated. The verb infinitive is bleiben, which gets conjugated in the first sentence.
The complete set of pictures above can be downloaded as a pdf here.