When the following sentence (in English) is translated to German:

The man offered the actor the car.

It becomes:

Der Mann bot dem Schauspieler das Auto an.

"Offered" in German is "angeboten". Yet, in the previous sentence, it is "bot".

Why is this the case? When should "angeboten" be used, and when should "bot" be used?

  • 1
    I would like to add that angeboten is a "Partizip zwei" for anbeiten, You would start it with lowercase "a". The related noun would be "Angebot" (with uppercase "A")
    – Khadim Ali
    Jan 22, 2019 at 15:45
  • 11
    it's not "bot". it's "bot an". that "an" is part of the verb.
    – ths
    Jan 22, 2019 at 22:40

3 Answers 3


The verb is, in its infinitive form (the form you need to look it up in a dictionary):

to offer = anbieten

Like in

I want to offer you a drink.
Ich möchte dir ein Getränk anbieten.

The form for Perfekt, as you correctly found out, is:


I did offer you a drink.
Ich habe dir ein Getränk angeboten.

But this verb is a separable verb. It has a prefix (an∙) that in many situations has to be detached from the main part of the verb and moved to the end of the sentence. This is the case in Präteritum, which is another form of past tense. Here we have:

bot an

I offered you a drink.
Ich bot dir ein Getränk an.

  • I did offer you a drink. Shouldn't that be I have offered you a drink?
    – JAD
    Jan 23, 2019 at 10:58
  • 2
    @JAD German Perfekt and Präteritum don't correspond to English present perfect and past simple. (In meaning, that is.) That said, it should probably either be I have offered you a drink or I offered you a drink.
    – sgf
    Jan 23, 2019 at 12:09
  • A small addition from a native speaker: "bot" will seldom be used in informal conversation between younger people. It sounds a little too formal for everyday talk.
    – Falco
    Jan 23, 2019 at 14:33

That "offered" means "angeboten" is only half of the truth.

"Offered" in English can be the perfect participle, or it can be past tense.

The perfect participle of "anbieten" (to offer) is "angeboten":

He has offered the car.
Er hat das Auto angeboten.

But the translation of "offered" when it means past tense is different and depends on number and person:

I offered
Ich bot an

You (familiar) offered
Du botest an

You (polite) offered
Sie boten an

He/She/It offered
Er/Sie/Es bot an

We offered
Wir boten an

You (guys) offered
Ihr botet an

They offered
Sie boten an

  • Finally, They offered is identical to You (polite) offered.
    – mkrieger1
    Jan 23, 2019 at 10:08

Your example uses the simple past (Präteritum). You could rewrite it using the present perfect (Perfekt)

Der Mann hat dem Schauspieler das Auto angeboten

The Perfekt is used more often in speech and the Präteritum more often in writing

The verb anbieten is a separable verb

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