When I hear Germans speak - but sometimes in writing too - I observe that the trailing "-e" from verbs in 1st singular person is often omitted:

"Ich geh mal schnell zur Tanke."
"Ich krieg noch einen Kaffee, bitte."
"Das hab ich doch schon immer gesagt."
"Ich freu mich schon auf Morgen".

Is these merely a dialect variation or are there general rules on when we can omit the "e" in spoken German? Is this colloquial only or are there occasions when we also do this in written standard German?


1 Answer 1


It's not a mere dialect variation. It's done in the standard language and it is not limited to the 1st person plural.

Omitting unstressed syllables/vowels is called Elision. It is done, because people are lazy. The official term for being lazy while speaking is "Sprachökonomie" (language economy).

If you can omit a syllable without changing the meaning of the word and without risking that other people will not understand you, then most people will omit it. You save breath/time and get the same result.

In your examples you can indicate the missing vowel by adding an apostrophe:

"Ich geh' mal schnell zur Tanke."

But this is not necessary in this case. This is more common if you omit stressed vowels, what is also done from time to time:

's ist schon spät. (Es ist schon spät.)

Here "'s" is combined with "ist" while speaking, sounding like "sist".

  • 2
    Or, economizing even further: sis or sischo spät. ;)
    – musiKk
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 15:15
  • 3
    Being drunk is optimizing economy on all levels, @musiKk ;) Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 15:21
  • 1
    You... you are funney. Iseewatchadidthere. I love you! cries :P
    – musiKk
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 20:33
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    I think in spoken German "ich hab'" rather than "ich habe" is way more common. It is not acceptable in formal written language and in informal written text the apostrophe should be used, simply to show that the author is aware of the vowel omission.
    – Jules
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 9:27
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    No need to escalate. The section you are citing deals with apostrophes and its usage in the German language. It doesn't comment on whether the given examples are appropriate in a formal context. I rest my case. I'd say, that using these omissions is inappropriate in texts like uni coursework/thesis ("Ich hab mal eben drei Experimente durchgefuehrt") or official correspondence. Just as you wouldn't use English contractions ("don't") in these scenarios. So I challenge your claim, that it is acceptable in a formal context. It is correct in colloquial and in informal, written standard German.
    – Jules
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 17:21

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