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To ask someone if they had fun, I could say:

Hast du Spaß gehabt?

But why is it gehabt, and not gehaben? How is the participle formed?

Would I still ask it formally using gehabt?, i.e.

Haben Sie Spaß gehabt?

I thought the participle might have been conjugated like the verb is, i.e. 'gehaben' with 'Sie' and 'gehast' with 'Du', but maybe not?

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's gehabt, because haben is a weak verb, not a strong one.

The past participle for weak verbs is formed by:

ge + infinitive stem + (e)t

like machen - gemacht, haben - gehabt, kaufen - gekauft, blenden - geblendet

For strong verbs it's:

ge + perfect stem + en

like singen - gesungen, fahren - gefahren, trinken - getrunken

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Unlike the verb foms, the participle does not follow the person (there is no gehaben and no gehast). Think of it more like an adjective, which can follow case, number and genus. It is formed with suffix -t or -en, depending on whether it is a weak or strong verb, and with prefix ge- (unless the verb itself has a prefix already, thus it is 'Ich habe mich verlaufen' and not 'geverlaufen' or 'vergelaufen'; then again it is 'Ich bin weggelaufen', sigh).

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"Weg-" is a separable prefix. That's why it's different than "ver-". –  Kevin Dec 30 '12 at 22:30
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