The past participle

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The past participle

Partizipien II (past participles) can be divided into 3 groups according to the way they are formed.

  • For regular verbs, the past participle is formed with ge‑ and ‑t.

kaufen gekauft

to buy bought

machen gemacht

to make made

  • For verbs that start with er‑, ver‑, be‑, hinter‑ and/or end in ‑ieren, we form the past participle without ge‑ and with a ‑t or ‑en ending:

telefonieren telefoniert

to telephone telephoned

erzählen erzählt

to tell told

betrachten betrachtet

to consider considered

verstehen verstanden

to understand understood

  • For irregular verbs, we form the past participle with ge‑ and ‑en. The stem may change:

essen gegessen

to eat eaten

gehen gegangen

to go gone

bleiben geblieben

to stay stayed

sehen gesehen

to see seen


  • If the verb stem ends in ‑d or ‑t, the past participle ends in ‑et:

arbeiten gearbeitet

to work worked

  • The past participle is used to form composite tenses (perfect, pluperfect, passive) and as an adjective:

Anna hat/hatte das Hotel von ihrer Großmutter geerbt. (Perfekt/Plusquamperfekt)

Anna has/had inherited the hotel from her grandmother. (perfect/pluperfect)

Das Hotel wird von Anna geerbt. (Passiv)

The hotel is being inherited by Anna. (passive)

Das geerbte Hotel ist wunderschön. (Adjektiv)

The inherited hotel is beautiful. (adjective)

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