Tenses

CA50

 

There are six tenses in the German language.

 

tenses Examples
present es funktioniert es geschieht
Präteritum es funktionierte es geschah
present perfect es hat funktioniert es ist geschehen
past perfect es hatte funktioniert es war geschehen
simple future (Future I) es wird funktionieren es wird geschehen
future perfect (Future II) es wird funktioniert haben es wird geschehen sein

 


 

 

The various tenses basically express temporal aspects. However, certain time forms have other functions; they are used, for example, to express a supposition, a request, a demand etc.

 

aspect Examples
time Er ist um diese Zeit zu Hause.
supposition Er wird um diese zeit zu Hause sein.
request Ihr werdet das Geld sofort zurückgeben.

 


 

 

Below follows a synoptic display of the frequency of tense use in practice:

 

  present past future
 
present *** * ***
 
Präteritum   ***  
 
present perfect   *** *
 
past perfect   **  
 
simple future (Future I)     **
 
future perfect (Future II)     *

 

 

* the present tense with reference to the past, the present perfect tense with reference to the future and the future perfect are only seldom used.
** the past perfect and the simple future are more frequently used.
*** most frequent is the use of the present tense with reference to the present and to the future, of the Präteritum (especially in the written language) and of the present perfect tense.