My German tandem partner told me that a friend of him was for a half year in Brazil. He said:

Er ist ein halbes Jahr in Brasilien gewesen

What's the difference to

Er war ein halbes Jahr in Brasilien

  • In official German language (literature or newspapers) there are rules when to use which of the two forms. However for most native speakers in "everyday language" it depends on the region they come from if they prefer "war" or "ist gewesen". There is no difference in the meaning. Sep 26, 2016 at 11:47
  • @wogsland: While you are encouraged to participate in killing the grammar tag, please adhere to the guidelines imposed here. In particular removing the grammar tag should rarely be the only change to a question. Also, please do not flood the suggested-edit queue.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


They are different tenses:

  • Perfekt: Er ist gewesen
  • Präteritum: Er war

Some people say, that Präteritum is the one which is more in the past but I think that's wrong. Both tenses can be used for the same thing.

However I guess most Germans would prefer the Perfekt because it's easier.

  • 2
    Perfekt is easier?
    – Iris
    Sep 22, 2016 at 15:30
  • Well it's one word less... Sep 22, 2016 at 17:10
  • 2
    How is Perfekt one word less than Präteritum?
    – Eller
    Sep 22, 2016 at 18:39

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