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Strong Verbs in the Perfekt


I. Theory

Strong verbs are irregular German verbs and thus, the past participles of strong verbs are formed differently than other “weak” verbs. All strong verbs take an -en ending, rather than -t. Additionally, most strong verbs undergo a vowel change (ei>ie , e>o, etc.). Lastly, most strong verbs retain the ge- prefix in this past form like most other verbs.

Hast du schon den Aufsatz geschrieben? (schreiben: ei>ie)
Have you already written the essay?

Ich habe heute nicht mit ihm gesprochen. (sprechen: e>o)
I haven’t spoken with him today.

Note: In both of these examples, we see that in the English equivalents as well, the past participle of these verbs (written/spoken) are irregular.

II. Types of Strong Verbs

This lesson will cover several different strong verbs to demonstrate the various forms found in the Perfekt. By familiarizing oneself with these changes, a student can learn to recognize patterns in how these verbs change, although memorizing the past forms of the most frequently seen verbs is also recommended.

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