The participle in German

To be able to speak German fluently you will have to master the German participles. It is an essential part to your learning process and you will find that once you mastered this trick you’ll have endless possibilities to use your tenses better and more fluent.

The German language is an incredibly complex maze of rules and exceptions. However, learning the participle can be rather easy if you are able to follow a few simpel rules. Let’s first check what a participle actually is and what it is used for. Secondly we will check how to form the participle with some simpel rules and last but not least we will have a list ready of the most participles in the German language.

What is the participle?

A participle is a form of a verb that can be used as an adjective or part of a verb phrase. In English It is usually formed by adding -ing, -ed, or -en to the end of the verb. In German that can be formed according to if the verb is strong or weak. See more information about this in the next paragraph.

Participles are used to express an action that is ongoing, has been completed, or will be completed in the future. They can also be used to modify nouns and pronouns in sentences. Participles are an important part of grammar and are often used in everyday speech and writing.

How to form the participle in German

The formation of participles in the German language can be a tricky task. It requires an understanding of the different verb conjugations, as well as knowledge of how to form the participle correctly.

To form the German participles you must first identify if the verb is strong or weak. To identify this you will need to know if the verb has a vowel change in the past tense. If the answer is yes, than this is considered a strong verb. If the answer is no than this is considered a weak verb.

Form the German participle according to the following rules:

Weak verbs = ge + stem + (e)t

Strong verbs = ge + stem + en *

* Stem might change vowel

However: Do not add “ge” to verbs starting with syllable be-, emp-, ent-, er-, ge-, miss-, unter, über, ver- or zer-.

These are the simple rules that apply to any regular verb in German. Meaning both weak and strong verbs. However there are also quite a few irregular verbs. Underneath we have made a list of German participles and you can now tell which ones are weak, strong and irregular verbs.

List of most commonly used participles in the German language

  1. gegangen (gone)
  2. gekommen (come)
  3. gesprochen (spoken)
  4. geschrieben (written)
  5. gesehen (seen)
  6. getanzt (danced)
  7. gegessen (eaten)
  8. getrunken (drunk)
  9. geschwommen (swum)
  10. gelernt (learned)
  11. gearbeitet (worked)
  12. gefahren (driven)
  13. geschlafen (slept)
  14. geblieben (stayed)
  15. gegeben (given)
  16. genommen (taken)
  17. gewesen (been)
  18. geboren (born)
  19. gestorben (died)
  20. gekauft (bought)
  21. verkauft (sold)
  22. verloren (lost)
  23. gefunden (found)
  24. besucht (visited)
  25. eingeladen (invited)
  26. verlassen (left)
  27. zurückgekehrt (returned)
  28. verändert (changed)
  29. verbessert (improved)
  30. verstanden (understood)
  31. gewonnen (won)
  32. verloren (lost)
  33. erlebt (experienced)
  34. erreicht (reached)
  35. gemacht (made)
  36. genossen (enjoyed)
  37. verpasst (missed)
  38. vergessen (forgotten)
  39. erzählt (told)
  40. geöffnet (opened)
  41. geschlossen (closed)
  42. abgeschlossen (completed)
  43. geliebt (loved)
  44. gehasst (hated)
  45. verliebt (fallen in love)
  46. verletzt (hurt)
  47. beendet (ended)
  48. begonnen (started)
  49. beantwortet (answered)
  50. aufgehört (stopped)
German conjugation chart

Learn more about the participle and other essential tenses with this German Conjugation chart.

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