Questions tagged [tenses]

Zeitformen (Tempus) – relating to the form of a verb that tells when the action takes place

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67
votes
5answers
104k views

When to use Perfekt and Präteritum?

What’s the guideline as to when to use Perfekt and Präteritum? I was always taught that the simplest rule is Präteritum (mostly) for written forms, and Perfekt is most common in spoken language. But ...
17
votes
5answers
6k views

Usage of Perfekt and Präteritum in the spoken language

I have read the question When to use Perfekt and Präteritum? but it doesn’t answer my question. I am looking for a rule for beginner/intermediate level learners which tells when to use perfect (...
31
votes
4answers
27k views

Why doesn’t German have a present continuous tense?

German language doesn’t have a present continuous/progressive tense like English, Dutch or Spanish. German has no present progressive tense (am going/are buying). The German Präsens ich kaufe can ...
6
votes
1answer
405 views

Consecutio temporum in German prepositions

Just wondering if nachdem is the only preposition which induces a change in the tenses: Nachdem wir gegessen hatten, bin ich nach Hause gefahren. As far as I know, here it wouldn't be correct to ...
14
votes
2answers
509 views

Herr X war gestern gestorben

Über den Tod von Helmut Schmidt wird ja auch in den österreichischen Medien ausführlich berichtet. In einer Nachrichtensendung des ORF sagte heute ein Sprecher: Der Tod des deutschen ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Tense and Aspect

Most linguists recognize two tenses in English, present and past, although other verb forms are often mistakenly described as tenses. I walk is present tense and I walked is past tense. A form such as ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Warum Perfekt anstelle von Präteritum und seit wann?

Seit welcher Zeit und warum wird im ge­spro­chenen Deutsch lieber Per­fekt anstatt Präteritum benutzt, z.B. lieber Ich habe gesehen als Ich sah? Warum hat sich die kompliziertere Form eingebürgert?
7
votes
2answers
410 views

Das Futur und Präsens um die Vergangenheit zu beschreiben

In der letzten Gradingperiode dieses Schuljahres musste meine Deutschklasse einen Aufsatz über ein Thema unserer Wahl schreiben. Meiner ging um Anzeichen des Kalten Krieges in Nachkriegsdeutschland. ...
18
votes
7answers
669 views

Using Plusquamperfekt to indicate a completed action in the past

I’d sometimes like to indicate a completed action in the past by using the Plusquamperfekt, as indicated in the title. Whenever I do this, I seem to get strange looks. I have a feeling that I am ...
5
votes
3answers
576 views

Is “Er ist gehend” or “Er ist am gehen” proper German?

Is "Er ist gehend" possible in german? As in "Right now he is going". I realize that adding another word, as in "Er ist gehend nass geworden", makes more sense, but still "Er ist gehend" doesn't ...
6
votes
2answers
740 views

How to describe the near future in German?

In German there are 6 tenses as far as I know, but I always wonder how to describe very near future e.g. I’ll be showing you (something) in this video. What are the best words to tell the above ...
5
votes
3answers
719 views

Why is “Ich wusste, dass aus dir mal was wird” grammatically correct?

In the sentence Ich wusste, dass aus dir mal was wird (see this question), "wusste" is in past tense and "wird" is in present tense. Why is this grammatically correct? I thought it would be either: ...
5
votes
1answer
584 views

How do we use perfect tense in passive voice?

Was wird am meisten gebraucht in der Passivform der Vergangenheit? Präteritum oder Perfekt? Perfekt habe ich noch nie gehört im mündlichen Gebrauch. Oder habe ich nicht gut aufgepasst? Also, was ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

“present continuous” form - have vs having

German doesn't differentiate between present tense and present continuous tense as English language does. For instance, Ich esse Brot means, "I eat/am eating bread". The same applies to the verb "...
4
votes
5answers
11k views

How do you communicate in German a continuous action in the past?

Things like: I used to go to that library over there. I was playing my guitar when she entered the room. I've done a bit of research, and it looks like the German Perfekt is used for one-off events, ...
3
votes
1answer
792 views

German modal verbs in perfect tense - two ways?

So when using a modal verb in the perfect tense, I've notice two different types of constructions: 1) Ich habe arbeiten müssen. 2) Ich muss gearbeitet haben. It seems like the first means "I ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Differences between “muss gut gewesen sein” vs. “musste gut sein”

What is the difference between "muss gut gewesen sein" and "musste gut sein"? For example, I was told Das Konzert muss wirklich gut gewesen sein. I have three questions: What is this tense of ...
5
votes
1answer
173 views

How does the tense affect the meaning of a construction with “sobald”?

Hello there im learning German and I have read these three sentences that were built with Temporalen Konnektoren and the case here is with sobald (“unmittelbare Abfolge”): Sobald Paula eine neue ...
5
votes
6answers
535 views

Perfect tense to describe future events

From Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Die Celler Polizeiinspektion wird noch eine Weile brauchen, bis sie den Hergang der Ereignisse am Montagabend rekonstruiert hat. Why is the perfect ...
3
votes
2answers
228 views

Morgen + Präteritum. Verwirrt über die Interpretationsweise

Ich wurde gerade auf einem Deutschlernserver gebeten, zu erklären, wie man den Satz Morgen musste alles stimmen. zu interpretieren hat. Der Satz erscheint mir vollkommen natürlich und liest sich von ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Translation of indirect speech in English

Direct speech: Kurt hat mir am Telefon gesagt: »Wir unternehmen einen Ausflug.« Indirect speech: Kurt hat mir am Telefon gesagt, er unternehme einen Ausflug. Kurt hat mir am Telefon gesagt, ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Modal verbs: preterite or perfect?

I was told that while speaking people generally use perfect instead of preterite. Is it also common for modal verbs? Which is used in which cases? Ich konnte ... or Ich habe gekonnt ...
1
vote
1answer
7k views

What is the difference between 'ist gewesen' and 'war' [duplicate]

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
257 views

I'll call you - Ich rufe dich an (why no *werde* here?) [duplicate]

Is it possible to use the present simple to talk about the future, when the context makes it clear? More examples Ich komme um 9 an. Ich mach das morgen. Ich gehe am Mittwoch dort hin. Ich sehe dich ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

jmd. etwas zukommen lassen (gewähren) - Konjugation

I play with the verbal form jmd. etw. zukommen lassen in the sense of gewähren and I am not sure about conjugation in the passive form: Er wird den Vorrang zukommen gelassen. Er wurde den Vorrang ...