“To have” (“haben”) and “to be” (“sein”) – (German-DE)

“To have” and “to be” are the bread and butter of a new language, and so it’s a good place to start when you’re looking at learning your first verbs. You’ll also learn the personal pronouns here, and get accustomed to the idea of writing out verbs in their conjugations, i.e. the different forms the verb takes depending on the subject of the sentence.

The infinitive of a verb is its “to” form, such as “to have”, “to play”, and is usually the form you use when talking about the verb as a concept. There are three grammatical “persons”: first, second, and third. Each of these persons has a singular form and a plural form, giving a total of six combinations. The first person contains the speaker, i.e. “I” in the singular, or “we” in the plural. The second person is the person you are addressing, i.e. “you” in the singular to one person, or to a group of people, that doesn’t include the speaker. The third person is neither the speaker nor the addressee; in the singular, it can be “he”, “she”, or “it”, and in the plural “they”. It’s a good idea to get used to the terminology, if you’re not already familiar, for personal pronouns, so when you hear “second person plural” you know exactly what it refers to – plural “you”, in this case.

First person singular ich I
Second person singular du
Sie (formal)
Third person singular er
First person plural wir we
Second person plural ihr
Sie (formal)
Third person plural sie they

The polite form of “you”, “Sie”, is always capitalized, and is conjugated in the same way as its third person counterpart “sie” (“they”). Note that “sie” meaning “she” is conjugated differently, in the same way as “er” (“he”).


ich habe I have
du hast you have
er/sie/es hat he/she/it has
wir haben we have
ihr habt you have
sie haben they have

In many languages, “to be” is the most irregular verb. For example, in English, where most verbal forms only change for the “he/she/it” form (by adding -s, e.g. “he plays”), “to be” has many different and odd forms, “I am”, “we are”. “Sein” is also an irregular verb in German.


ich bin I am
du bist you are
er/sie/es ist he/she/it is
wir sind we are
ihr seid you are
sie sind they are

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