German Misc. Basics: Lesson 2

So far we have covered 4 verbs: sein, haben, sagen, and erwarten. Why not add a verb ending with -ieren?

The word for to study is studieren

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Remember that -ieren verbs don’t add the ge prefix.

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The word for to drive is fahren

Fahren is a strong verb, or what I call a hard verb. So he/she/it, or simply 3rd person singular, uses the ä for the vowel change. Thus, fahren becomes fährt. Download the German keyboard if you haven’t done so already. Ä is located on the " key. Entering in German keyboard into Google should lead you into the right direction. Microsoft Word has virtually any language available, and you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes.

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Fahren does its own thing for the past participle. Remember before I told you to use ge as a prefix if there are no inseparable prefixes and/or ending in ieren? Well, fahren uses gefahren as the past participle, not gefährt. Thus, you would say Er ist gefahren.

If you recall from the last lesson, one can’t just always use haben as the auxiliary. For reading purposes it’s fairly simple, as one doesn’t have to think about whether or not to use haben or sein as the auxiliary. Say you come across this:

Er ist in Amerika gestorben

Gestorben is the past participle of sterben. Sterben means to die. Now, from reading this, one wouldn’t think, oh, this means he is died in America. Rather, one would logically think He has died in America or He died in America. So for reading purposes or in passive learning, this issue of whether or not to use haben/sein isn’t terribly vital.

However, one should be aware of a few rules which may help you for speaking or writing purposes.

1. Transitive verbs use haben. This means verbs taking a direct object.

2. Verbs of motion use sein

3. Change of physical state use sein, such as the example above with sterben.

4. Some verbs will always take sein, so really it’s best to look up the verb in a dictionary to determine if it takes sein or haben.

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The word for to Frankfurt is nach Frankfurt

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Now, let’s see what happens when you insert a direct object such as a car into the sentence Er ist nach Frankfurt gefahren.

The word for car is das Auto.

If you throw the car into the sentence, car becomes a direct object. What are you driving? The car! And recall one of the rules about haben taking transitive verbs. So, even though you are going through motion, fahren still is taking das Auto as the direct object.

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This is all for now.

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