AS Grammar: Tense, Voice and Mood

AS Grammar: Tense, Voice and Mood

Grammar: Tense, Voice and Mood

Present Tense

  • The present tense is notoriously versatile in German, used not only to describe what’s happening now, but also to talk about the future and historic past.
  • To form the present tense, take the infinitive of the verb (z.B. gehen - to go), remove the -en, and add the appropriate ending.
  • The endings are -e, -st, -t, -(e)n, -(e)t, -en for ich, du, er/sie/es, wir, ihr, sie/Sie respectively.

Past Tense

  • The imperfect tense (Präteritum) is mainly used in written narratives or reports, while in spoken German the perfect tense is more common.
  • The imperfect tense is formed by taking the stem of the verb and adding special imperfect tense endings.
  • The perfect tense is used to indicate completed actions in the past. It’s formed with a present tense auxiliary verb (haben or sein) and the past participle of the main verb.

Future Tense

  • The future tense (Futur I) is used to talk about intentions and probabilities. In many situations, present tense can also be used to talk about the future.
  • It’s formulated with “werden” in the present tense and the infinitive of the main verb placed at the end of the sentence.


  • German uses active and passive voice. In the active voice, the subject performs the action of the verb. In the passive voice, the subject is acted upon.
  • The passive voice is formed with a form of ‘werden’ and the past participle.


  • The indicative mood is used for factual statements, the subjunctive I (Konjunktiv I) for indirect speech, and the subjunctive II (Konjunktiv II) mainly for expressing hypothetical situations and wishes.
  • Subjunctive I is formed by adding special endings to the stem of the infinitive, while Subjunctive II is generally formed using würden + infinitive.

Understanding the nuances of each tense, voice, and mood will significantly increase your fluency in German. Keep practicing until you feel comfortable forming and using all these constructions.