A2 Grammar: Tense, Voice and Mood

A2 Grammar: Tense, Voice and Mood

Tenses in German: An Overview

  • Tenses indicate the time reference of an action or state expressed by the verb.
  • German has six tenses: Present (Präsens), Present Perfect (Perfekt), Simple Past (Präteritum), Past Perfect (Plusquamperfekt), Future (Futur I), and Future Perfect (Futur II).
  • Each tense is used to refer to actions at different times and under different aspects.

Present Tense (Präsens)

  • Represents actions that are happening in the present or general truths.
  • Formed by conjugating the verb according to the subject of the sentence.
  • E.g. Ich spiele (I play)

Present Perfect Tense (Perfekt)

  • Used for actions that have been completed in the recent past; the focus is on the result or outcome of the action.
  • Formed with the present tense of haben or sein, and the past participle of the main verb.
  • E.g. Ich habe gespielt (I have played)

Simple Past Tense (Präteritum)

  • Used to talk about events in the past that are completed and not linked to the present.
  • Formed by changing the endings of the verb.
  • E.g. Ich spielte (I played)

Past Perfect Tense (Plusquamperfekt)

  • Used to describe an event or action that took place before another past action.
  • Created using the simple past of haben or sein and the past participle of the main verb.
  • E.g. Ich hatte gespielt (I had played)

Future Tense (Futur I)

  • Projects actions that will occur in the future under normal circumstances.
  • Formed using werden and the infinitive of the verb.
  • E.g. Ich werde spielen (I will play)

Future Perfect Tense (Futur II)

  • Used to refer to an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
  • Formed using werden, the past participle of the verb, and the infinitive of haben or sein.
  • E.g. Ich werde gespielt haben (I will have played)

The Voice in German Grammar

  • German has an active and a passive voice. In the active voice, the subject performs the action; in the passive voice, the subject is acted upon.

Active Voice

  • The action is performed by the grammatical subject of the sentence.
  • E.g. Die Katze (the subject) frisst den Fisch (the object).

Passive Voice

  • The grammatical subject is the receiver of the action. Formed with werden and the past participle of the verb.
  • E.g. Der Fisch wird von der Katze gefressen.

The Mood in German Grammar

  • Indicative, subjunctive and imperative are the moods in the German language.

Indicative Mood

  • The indicative mood is used for statements of fact and questions.
  • E.g. Sie geht morgen zur Schule (She is going to school tomorrow).

Subjunctive Mood

  • The subjunctive mood is used for hypothetical or doubtful actions.
  • In German, Subjunctive I is primarily seen in newspapers and reports, while Subjunctive II is used for hypothetical statements or polite requests.
  • E.g. Subjunctive I: Man sage, dass… (It is said that…)
  • E.g. Subjunctive II: Ich hätte gern… (I would like…)

Imperative Mood

  • The imperative mood is used to give commands or make requests.
  • E.g. Spiel nicht die Musik so laut! (Don’t play the music so loud!)

Maintaining a consistent practice will strengthen your understanding of tense, voice, and mood in German. It’s beneficial to expose yourself to various text types in German to understand their application better.