Well that’s just perfect! — Using das Perfekt in German

A few weeks ago one of our Facebook followers asked me to write about using the perfect (das Perfekt)in German. This post is mean to be an answer to that question and a detailed continuation of the posts “Understanding German Verbs 1 & 2.

While there are many things that make German a rather complicated language, one of its advantages over English is that it has fewer tenses. For instance German generally disregards all continuous forms (to be + ing; z.B. I’m reading a book). In German “Ich lese ein Buch.” can mean “I’m reading a book.” or “I read a book.” by simply putting a time phrase in the sentence it could even be a future form. But let’s get back to das Perfekt. In spoken German, das Perfekt is most often used for talking about past events and unlike in English the referred to event does not need to have happened in the recent past.

We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/well-thats-just-perfect-using-das-perfekt-in-german/



  1. Past perfekt is always the one that gets me! Thanks for reminding me to practice!

  2. Thanks for this extensive introduction! For the Swiss and Vorarlberg dialects, “das Perfekt” is even more important, as there is no such thing as “past tense” in Swiss and Vorarlberg German. A Swiss who wants to say “ich war”, will simply use the perfect, saying “ich bi gsy” (ich bin gewesen). As there is no past tense, the “Plusquamperfect” in Swiss German uses two “Partizip II”: the High German “ich war gegangen” becomes “Ich bi gange gsy” (*ich bin gegangen gewesen)

  3. […] That means they always stay on the front of the verb and that when you build the past participle (Partizip II) you do not place a ge between the prefix and the stem, nor do they take any ge at […]

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