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Additional Strong Verbs in the Preterite


I. Theory

Strong verbs are irregular German verbs and thus, the past tense forms of strong verbs are formed differently than other “weak” verbs. Strong verbs undergo a vowel change (ei>ie , e>o, etc.) in their preterite forms. Additionally, strong verbs do not take a -te ending in the first and third person singular like weak verbs.

Die Kinder halfen ihrer Mutter beim Kochen. (helfen: e>a)
The children helped their mother cook.

Der Kapitän *blieb auf dem Schiff. (bleiben: ei>ie)
The captain remained on the ship.

(*) Note the lack of the -te third-person singular ending.

II. Types of Vowel Changes in Strong Verbs

This lesson will cover several different vowel changes to demonstrate the forms found in the preterite. 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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