German Tenses: Present, Past, Future, and Perfect

German grammar can be challenging, especially when it comes to mastering verb conjugation and understanding the different tenses. In this article, we’ll look into the four primary tenses in German: Present, Past, Future, and Perfect. Each tense plays a distinct role in conveying actions and events in time.


Present Tense

In German, the present tense (Präsens) is used to describe actions or states that are currently happening or are habitual.


  • Ich spiele Fußball. (I play soccer.)
  • Sie liest ein Buch. (She is reading a book.)
  • Wir essen Pizza. (We are eating pizza.)


Past Tense

The past tense (Präteritum or Imperfekt) in German is used to narrate actions or events that occurred in the past.


  • Ich spielte gestern Fußball. (I played soccer yesterday.)
  • Sie las das Buch letzte Woche. (She read the book last week.)
  • Wir aßen gestern Pizza. (We ate pizza yesterday.)


Future Tense

The future tense (Futur) in German is used to express actions or events that will happen in the future.


  • Ich werde morgen Fußball spielen. (I will play soccer tomorrow.)
  • Sie wird das Buch nächste Woche lesen. (She will read the book next week.)
  • Wir werden morgen Pizza essen. (We will eat pizza tomorrow.)


Perfect Tense

The perfect tense (Perfekt) in German is formed with the auxiliary verb “haben” (to have) or “sein” (to be) and the past participle of the main verb. It is commonly used to describe actions or events that have been completed in the past.


  • Ich habe Fußball gespielt. (I have played soccer.)
  • Sie hat das Buch gelesen. (She has read the book.)
  • Wir haben Pizza gegessen. (We have eaten pizza.)