Forms of irregular (strong) verbs


The second group of verbs are the words whose conjugation in the past tenses and in the present tense looks completely different than for regular verbs. They are also called strong verbs (starke Verben). The forms of these verbs must be learned because they are conjugated irregularly both in Präteritum and Perfekt past tenses. In their conjugation most often changes the root of the word itself for both past tenses. See the examples:

rufen (to call):
ruft, rief, hat gerufen

gehen (to go):
geht, ging, ist gegangen

sprechen (to talk, to speak):
spricht, sprach, hat gesprochen


Form Partizip Perfekt / Partizip II (needed, among others, to build the Perfekt tense) is built using the prefix 'ge-', irregularly formed verb root and ending -en (ge-ruf-en). The exception are inseparably compound verbs - we do not add the prefix 'ge-' to them.

The Präteritum form for the first- and third- person singular has no ending (ich rief, er rief), unlike regular verbs (ich machte, er machte).

For the purposes of this course (to simplify the whole topic), we will divide verbs only into regular and irregular, and we will also call strong verbs irregular verbs.

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