I've found out a rule in which if an English verb is regular, its German translation is regular as well and the other way around:

To see: sehen ; to drink: trinken ; to go: gehen ...

Seems to be true, does anyone know examples of contradictions?

1 Answer 1


Counterexamples German regular, English irregular:

bauen, baute, gebaut - build, built, built

füttern, fütterte, gefüttert - feed, fed, fed

machen, machte, gemacht - make, made, made

Counter examples German irregular, English regular:

bitten, bat, gebeten - beg, begged, begged (or ask)

bleiben, blieb, geblieben - stay, stayed, stayed

waschen, wusch, gewaschen - wash, washed, washed

Why the relationship is still true as a rule of thumb:

Apart from the common germanic heritage, there is the general rule that words are irregular if they are used very often, and the really common words like "go", "come", "be", "have" etc are the same in both cultures.

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    Well, the general rule is, that they stay irregular if they are used very often. Irregular verbs which are not used often tend to be transformed to regular ones over time. But that does not mean, that often used verbs have a tendency to be irregular. They just stay irregular if they already are. Nov 26, 2011 at 12:44

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