Forgetting for a moment about the stated fact that language evolves, would Germans be annoyed if a strong verb was used as it were weak (that is, with the common -te pattern in the past tense and the ge- prefix in the past participle)?

Moreover, would this usage affect comprehension of what the person is saying, and to which level?

As an example, imagine that I say

Gestern gehte ich ins Kino.

instead of

Gestern ging ich ins Kino.

This is something that in English happens all the time, with no particular comprehension problems, does the same stand for German?

  • 1
    It wouldn't affect comprehension, but, being myself German, I think it is safe to say that many Germans tend to patronize people making this kind of mistake and, what's even worse, instead of giving corrective feedback, they sometimes use the same incorrect forms, believing to make themselves more understandable.
    – bouscher
    Jul 18, 2013 at 14:28
  • @bouscher: you mean things like Du nix verstehen? Aber ich sprechen nix mehr schnell jetzt., right? Yes, that's terrible.
    – äüö
    Jul 18, 2013 at 14:49
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    something that in English happens all the time You sure? "Mom! Mom! Joey hurted me!" Okay, a pre-schooler can get away with it. Everybody else, though... Jul 18, 2013 at 14:55
  • @EugeneSeidel Well, yes. It's something I'm doing scientific research on so I still don't have a precise answer (as for now). In any case, this is something that may happen to non-natives for verbs they don't know as well as to an ordinary native for a verb they've never (or scarcely) heard in their life. I wouldn't relate this to kids. Jul 18, 2013 at 15:02
  • @martina: What is still not precise enough?
    – äüö
    Jul 18, 2013 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


Germans would not be annoyed but amused. It sounds funny and reminds of toddler's typical mistakes. And there won't be a comprehension problem.

But if those mistakes still happen after you've lived in Germany for a year, people would start to wonder why you're not able to get it finally...

  • although from time to time I also fall in the trap to say 'teached', probably, because of 'reached', an -ed suffix seems to be logical ;)
    – äüö
    Jul 18, 2013 at 14:33
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    I even know people who sometimes do that particular kind of mistake intentionally. For fun only, of course.
    – Em1
    Jul 18, 2013 at 14:39
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    google.com/…" ;)
    – Takkat
    Jul 18, 2013 at 14:46
  • @PeterHorvath: you're right, the year was meant for the strong verbs only
    – äüö
    May 9, 2014 at 19:51

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