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The Verb "To Be" in German - A1

Updated on April 5, 2015
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Once you know how to conjugate the verb "to be" in German and some basic vocabulary, you can already express yourself about your feelings, your location, your state of mind, your profession and your personal qualities. The verb "to be" is one of the most important German verbs. It is an irregular verb which is why you have to learn the conjugation by heart. The verb "to be" is called "sein" in German (pronounced: zine).

First, we will take a look at the German pronouns. In order to form a simple sentence in German using the verb "to be", you need to know the German personal pronouns and the conjugation of "to be".

English Personal Pronouns
German Personal Pronouns
I
ich
you (informal)
du
he, she, it
er, sie, es
we
wir
you guys
ihr
they
sie
you (formal)
Sie

The Conjugation of "To Be" in German

 
sein
ich
bin
du
bist
er, sie, es
ist
wir
sind
ihr
seid
sie
sind
Sie
sind

Once we have memorized the conjugation of sein, it is fairly easy to form sentences. The verb "to be" in German is used to talk about age, profession, feelings, qualities, state of mind and location, amongst other things. Let's take a look at some example sentences.

English
German
I am sick.
Ich bin krank.
I am 28 years old.
Ich bin 28 Jahre alt.
Ich bin Übersetzerin.
I am a translator.
Du bist nett.
You are nice. (informal)
Du bist wütend.
You are angry. (informal)
Du bist intelligent.
You are intelligent. (informal).
Er ist konzentriert.
He is focused.
Er ist interessiert.
He is interested.
Er ist überrascht.
He is surprised.
Sie ist glücklich.
She is happy.
Sie ist im Wohnzimmer.
She is in the living room.
Sie ist meine Tochter
She is my daughter.
Sie ist in der Küche.
She is in the kitchen.
We are in the car.
Wir sind im Auto.
Wir sind am Flughafen.
We are at the airport.
Wir sind am Bahnhof.
We are at the train station.
Ihr seid freundlich.
You guys are friendly.
Ihr seid höflich.
You guys are polite.
Ihr seid verrückt.
You guys are crazy.
Sie sind fleißig.
They are hard-working.
Sie sind Schüler.
They are students.
Sie sind nicht zu Hause.
They are not at home.
Sie sind pünktlich.
You are on time.
Sie sind hilfsbereit.
You are helpful.
Sie sind kreativ.
You are creative.

Asking Questions

Asking Questions in German is fairly simple. You simply place the verb in the first position and the subject of the sentence in the second position. If you want to use a question word like who, what, where, how, when, why, you place that in front of the verb. It works just like in English in this case.

 
 
Ist er zu Hause?
Is he at home?
Seid ihr in der Küche?
Are you guys in the kitchen?
Bist du froh?
Are you happy? - informal
Sind sie in der Schule?
Are they at school?
Wo sind Sie?
Where are you? - formal
Wer ist das?
Who is that?
Warum bist du noch im Büro?
Why are you still at the office?

Exercises

Now it's your turn to practice conjugating the verb "to be" and using the verbs in a sentence. Fill in the proper verbs into the gaps and don't forget to conjugate them!

1. Er _____ ein Schüler. (He is a student.)

2. Er _____ Ingenieur. (He is an engineer. Note: We don't use articles in front of professions)

3. Ich _____ müde. (I am tired.)

4. Ich _____ nervös. (I am nervous.)

5. Sie _____ Lehrerin. (She is a teacher.)

6. Sie _____ schlau. (She is smart.)

7. _____ sie in der Garage? (Is she in the garage?)

8. _____ sie im Esszimmer? (Are they in the dining room?)

9. Sie _____ in Berlin. (They are in Berlin.)

10. Es _____ kalt. (It is cold.)

11. Es _____ warm. (It is warm.)

12. Es _____ heiß. (It is hot.)

13. _____ ihr im Urlaub? (Are you guys on vacation?)

15. _____ ihr im Garten? (Are you guys in the backyard?)

16. _____ Sie im Konferenzraum? (Are you in the conference room? - formal)

17. Sie _____ sehr erfahren. (You are very experienced. - formal)

18. Wir _____ geschockt. (We are shocked.)

19. Wir _____ erschöpft. (We are exhausted.)

20. _____ du traurig? (Are you sad? - informal)

21. _____ du wütend auf mich? (Are you mad at me? - informal)

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Jennifer, this was useful on how to speak German. I do have one nitpick: in your tables, you have a mix of German and English on both sides, instead of German in one column, English in the other. I just wanted you to know. Voted up!

    • Chris Neal profile image

      Chris Neal 2 years ago from Fishers, IN

      Thanks for the informative article!