German Perfect Tense with a List of 100+ Common Past Participles

German Perfect Tense with a List of 100+ Common Past Participles

As a beginner German student, you all must have dreamed of traveling to Germany. Apart from present tense, German perfect tense is something you will have to master, if you want to have a good conversation with a native speaker. Knowing how to use the present perfect tense will surely make you a better speaker.

When and How to use the German Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense is used in spoken language instead of simple past tense. It is used to talk about an event that happened in the past. We do tend to talk about our past many times. Now you know, why it is so important to learn the German perfect tense!

The German perfect tense is built with the help of haben / sein in the present tense and past participle (Partizip II) of another verb. The helping verb (Haben / Sein) is conjugated according to the subject of the sentence and takes the second position. The past participle of the other verb is placed at the end of the sentence.

Usually, German perfect tense is formed with “haben“. Most of the verbs that take a direct object use haben. Verbs that do not indicate change of state or location also use haben.

When to use “Sein”

Verbs that express movement and change of state use sein. What exactly does this mean? Movement means when the subject physically changes the locations. For example, gehen, fahren, rennen, fliegen, kommen, reisen, laufen etc.

Change of state means when the subject’s condition changes from ‘State A’ to ‘State B’. This change of condition does not involve change of place. For example, einschlafen, aufwachen, wachsen, sterben, verwelken, werden etc.

Go through our lesson on verbs if you don’t remember how to conjugate haben and sein in present tense.

Bleiben (to stay) and Sein (to be) also use sein, even though they do not express movement or change of state.

German Perfect Tense-Conversations-All-About-Deutsch

How to construct the Past Participles

When it comes to learning a new grammar concept in German language, there are always a few exceptions. And German perfect tense is no different! The construction of past participles varies based on the types of verbs.

Weak Verbs

The past participles of weak (regular) verbs are formed by adding ‘ge‘ at the beginning and ‘t’ at the end of the verb stem. Let’s consider the verb lernen (to learn). Its past participle will be:

ge + lern + t = gelernt

If the verb stem ends in d / t / m, the past participle is formed by adding ‘ge‘ at the beginning and an et at the end. Let’s consider the verb warten (to wait). Its past participle will be:

ge + wart + et = gewartet

Past participles of the verbs ending in ‘ieren’ are formed without ‘ge’. However, we do add ‘t’ at the end of the verb stem. Let’s consider the verb studieren (to study). Its past participle will be:

studier + t = studiert

List of some weak verbs for you to memorize:-

English VerbGerman VerbPartizip II
to workarbeitengearbeitet
to breatheatmengeatmet
to formbildengebildet
to needbrauchengebraucht
to followfolgengefolgt
to askfragengefragt
to feelfühlengefühlt
to believeglaubengeglaubt
to interestinteressiereninteressiert
to buykaufengekauft
to cookkochengekocht
to livelebengelebt
to laylegengelegt
to make / domachengemacht
to note downnotierennotiert
to packpackengepackt
to talkredengeredet
to saysagengesagt
to playspielengespielt
to put / placestellengestellt
to searchsuchengesucht
to dancetanzengetanzt
to calltelefonierentelefoniert
to reside / livewohnengewohnt
to showzeigengezeigt
to be supposed tosollengesollt
to wantwollengewollt

Strong Verbs

The past participles of strong (irregular) verbs are a bit complex. The ‘-en’ of the infinitive form remains as it is. There is no ‘-t’ at the end of the verb stem. We do add ‘-ge’ at the beginning. But, here’s the complex part. The verb stem changes most of the times.

For example, the past participle of gehen (to go) is gegangen.

Sometimes, the vowels in the verb stem get rearranged. For example, the past participle of bleiben (to stay) is geblieben. Here, ‘ei’ changes to ‘ie’.

List of some strong verbs for you to memorize:-

English VerbGerman VerbPartizip II
to offerbietengeboten
to bitebeißengebissen
to bindbindengebunden
to requestbittengebeten
to roast / frybratengebraten
to breakbrechengebrochen
to eatessengegessen
to drivefahrengefahren
to fallfallengefallen
to catchfangengefangen
to findfindengefunden
to flyfliegengeflogen
to givegebengegeben
to pourgießengegossen
to grasp / grabgreifengegriffen
to stophaltengehalten
to lifthebengehoben
to helphelfengeholfen
to soundklingengeklungen
to comekommengekommen
to runlaufengelaufen
to readlesengelesen
to lendleihengeliehen
to lieliegengelegen
to takenehmengenommen
to ridereitengeritten
to smellriechengerochen
to closeschließengeschlossen
to cutschneidengeschnitten
to writeschreibengeschrieben
to swimschwimmengeschwommen
to seesehengesehen
to beseingewesen
to singsingengesungen
to sinksinkengesunken
to sitsitzengesessen
to speaksprechengesprochen
to jumpspringengesprungen
to standstehengestanden
to climbsteigengestiegen
to diesterbengestorben
to arguestreitengestritten
to weartragengetragen
to meettreffengetroffen
to drinktrinkengetrunken
to washwaschengewaschen
to becomewerdengeworden
to throwwerfengeworfen
to pullziehengezogen
to forcezwingengezwungen

Mixed Verbs

The past participles of mixed verbs are a combination of weak and strong verbs. A ‘-t’ is added at the end of the verb stem just like weak verbs. And like strong verbs, the verb stem changes.

For example, the past participle of wissen (to know) is gewusst.

List of some mixed verbs for you to memorize:-

English VerbGerman VerbPartizip II
to burnbrennengebrannt
to bringbringengebracht
to thinkdenkengedacht
to knowkennengekannt
to name / mentionnennengenannt
to runrennengerannt
to sendsendengesandt
to turnwendengewandt
to be allowed todürfengedurft
to be able tokönnengekonnt
to likemögengemocht
to have tomüssengemusst

There are two Partizip II forms of senden and wenden. Senden – gesandt / gesendet. Wenden – gewandt / gewendet

German Perfect Tense-Students in Class-All-About-Deutsch

Separable Verbs

As the name suggests, the prefixes of these verbs are separable. The past participle of separable verbs is formed by adding ‘-ge’ after the prefix. The rules of weak, strong and mixed verbs apply to these verbs as well. Let’s consider the verb zumachen (to close / shut).

zu + ge + mach + t = zugemacht (We add ‘-ge‘ between the prefix and verb stem.)

List of some separable verbs for you to memorize:-

English VerbGerman VerbPartizip II
to offeranbietenangeboten
to arriveankommenangekommen
to beginanfangenangefangen
to callanrufenangerufen
to adaptanpassenangepasst
to lookaussehenausgesehen
to go outausgehenausgegangen
to pronounceaussprechenausgesprochen
to try outausprobierenausprobiert
to get upaufstehenaufgestanden
to stop / endaufhörenaufgehört
to wake upaufwachenaufgewacht
to openaufmachenaufgemacht
to burn downabbrennenabgebrannt
to departabfahrenabgefahren
to pick upabholenabgeholt
to cancelabsagenabgesagt
to contributebeitragenbeigetragen
to shopeinkaufeneingekauft
to inviteeinladeneingeladen
to tumblehinfallenhingefallen
to bring alongmitbringenmitgebracht
to take alongmitnehmenmitgenommen
to pondernachdenkennachgedacht
to preparevorbereitenvorbereitet
to suggestvorschlagenvorgeschlagen
to introducevorstellenvorgestellt
to cover / tuckzudeckenzugedeckt
to agreezustimmenzugestimmt

Inseparable Verbs

As the name suggests, the prefixes of these verbs are inseparable. The past participle of inseparable verbs is formed without ‘-ge’. The rules of weak, strong and mixed verbs apply to these verbs too. Let’s consider the verb besuchen (to visit).

besuch + t = besucht (We do not add ‘-ge‘ here.)

List of some inseparable verbs for you to memorize:-

English VerbGerman VerbPartizip II
to receivebekommenbekommen
to answer / replybeantwortenbeantwortet
to startbeginnenbegonnen
to usebenutzenbenutzt
to paybezahlenbezahlt
to recommendempfehlenempfohlen
to feelempfindenempfunden
to dismiss / fireentlassenentlassen
to relaxentspannenentspannt
to decideentscheidenentschieden
to inventerfindenerfunden
to recognize / identifyerkennenerkannt
to allow / permiterlaubenerlaubt
to experienceerlebenerlebt
to expecterwartenerwartet
to belong togehörengehört
to appeal to / likegefallengefallen
to wingewinnengewonnen
to disobeymissachtenmissachtet
to suspectmisstrauenmisstraut
to connectverbindenverbunden
to forgetvergessenvergessen
to comparevergleichenverglichen
to sellverkaufenverkauft
to loseverlierenverloren
to understandverstehenverstanden
to shatter / snapzerbrechenzerbrochen
to destroyzerstörenzerstört

Here are a few German perfect tense example sentences:-

  • Ich habe den deutschen Satz verstanden. (I understood the German sentence.)
  • Gestern ist er nach London geflogen. (Yesterday he flew to London.)
  • Wir haben am Morgen unsere Hausaufgaben gemacht. (We did our homework in the morning.)

German Grammar Quiz

Do you want to practice what you learned in this lesson? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of German Perfect Tense.


If you enjoyed learning this lesson, also check out the topic Past Tense in German on your favorite blog “All About Deutsch”.

Want to learn more about German Perfect Tense? Have a look at this article on ThoughtCo.

PS – On this blog, you will find grammar lessons just like this one, vocabulary lists divided subject-wise as well as articles related to countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland and a lot more. Keep scrolling, keep learning!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Illa Sherling

    Hallo, Danke für den Beitrag. Hat wirklich Spass gemacht zu lesen, sehr Informativ, gerne mehr davon 🙂

  2. All About Deutsch

    Vielen Dank, Illa. Das freut mich sehr! 🙂

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