I'm studying German for a while, I know I still have a lot to learn. But I'm considering which verbs tense I should learn after Simple Present, like a study guide for verbs tense. Could someone give me a help?!

  • I should say take a short simple story and learn the first tense that occurs in the story and that you don't master. All tenses are important. A child could ask just as well: Which of the ten digits shall I learn next?
    – rogermue
    Feb 4, 2015 at 5:20
  • @rogermue For one you compare apples and oranges, for another not all tenses are equally important. Präsens is certainly much more frequent in use than, let's say, Futur II. I see good reason to ask in which order you should learn the tenses.
    – Em1
    Feb 4, 2015 at 8:37
  • Future 1 is "er wird + infinitive" and Future 2 is "er wird + infinitive perfect". What is so difficult about such structures?
    – rogermue
    Feb 4, 2015 at 11:50

2 Answers 2


Well, there's not really a rule in which order you should learn tenses, but in general–disregarding the actual language–I would learn both a future and a past tense. That basically allows you to convey if something happened in the past, happens right now or is going to happen.

Luckily, in German you can express future with Präsens. Thus, you can focus on the past tense.

As Emanuel correctly mentioned, in spoken language Germans mainly use Perfekt. I am of the opinion, however, that you shouldn't ignore Präteritum because this is used in written text very much. Since there's technically not really a difference between those tenses (both refer to a finished action in the past), it's not a real overhead.


The answer is simple:

Learn the spoken version of the past tense. And do NOT learn the preterit.

  • Downvoters... please explain yourself. Or would you seriously suggest that she not learn the spoken past? I mean... come on!
    – Emanuel
    Feb 4, 2015 at 15:59
  • Preterit is very important, think of "Ich war", "Du musstest", "Sie hatte", used very often in the spoken language.
    – Liglo App
    Feb 5, 2015 at 13:17
  • @BarthZalewski... yeah, maybe my answer wasn't clear enough. I meant that she should learn the spoken past for each verb. That can be the perfect or the preterit but for the large majority it'll be the perfect
    – Emanuel
    Feb 5, 2015 at 15:09

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