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Learning German Online - Interactive German Lessons for Students and Teachers
Lesson 6: Eating and drinking

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Irregular verbs (I)

So far, you only got to know one irregular verb namely the verb "sein" (to be). In fact, sein is the most irregular verb in German (and probably in most other languages, too).

In German, we can define four classes of irregular verbs:
1) sein (to be)
2) verbs irregular in the all singular forms
3) irregular verbs with stem change e->i or e->ie
4) irregular verbs with stem change a->ä


You already know the first class (the verb "sein" = to be). You also already know two members of the second class namely the two auxiliaries "werden" (will; future tense) and "möchten" (would like).
On the previous page, we confronted you with the following new irregular verbs, which also belong to the second class and which are also auxiliaries like "werden" and "möchten":
- müssen (must)
- sollen (shall) and
- haben (to have)

We will now add yet another irregular verb to this list:
- wollen (to want)

and then look at how these four new irregular verbs are conjugated. To make it a little easier for you to memorize the irregular forms of these new verbs, the following rule might help you:

RULE: All irregular verbs in German except for the verb 'sein' (to be) are only irregular in the singular forms. Thus, the plural forms of all irregular verbs (except 'sein') can be conjugated exactly the same way as the plural forms of any regular verb.


We will now look at all the four irregular verbs from above. Please pay attention to the plural forms as you will see that they are completely regular. So actually, you only have to memorize the three singular forms of each of these new verbs.

 müssen (must)
PersonSingularPlural
1stich muss
(I must)
wir müssen
(we must)
2nddu musst
(you must)
ihr müsst
(you must)
3rder/sie/es muss
(he/she/it must)
sie müssen
(they must)


 sollen (shall)
PersonSingularPlural
1stich soll
(I shall)
wir sollen
(we shall)
2nddu sollst
(you shall)
ihr sollt
(you shall)
3rder/sie/es soll
(he/she/it shall)
sie sollen
(they shall)


 haben (to have)
PersonSingularPlural
1stich habe
(I have)
wir haben
(we have)
2nddu hast
(you have)
ihr habt
(you have)
3rder/sie/es hat
(he/she/it has)
sie haben
(they have)


 wollen (to want)
PersonSingularPlural
1stich will
(I want)
wir wollen
(we want)
2nddu willst
(you want)
ihr wollt
(you want)
3rder/sie/es will
(he/she/it wants)
sie wollen
(they want)

Did you notice that the plural forms of these verbs are completely regular? Also, like for regular verbs, the forms for "wir" and "sie" (they) are the same as the infinitives of these verbs.

There are a few more verbs that belong to this second class of irregular verbs (e.g. "wissen" = to know), but we will deal with those in another lesson.
Let's rather do some exercises now on what we just learned.


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pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12        vocabularies       Exercises [A] [B] [C] [D] [E]

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      Lesson 1
      Lesson 2
      Lesson 3
      Lesson 4
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       Lesson 6
      Lesson 7
      Epilogue I
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