The simple past tense of irregular verbs

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The simple past tense of irregular verbs

Reminder: we use the simple past tense to express completed actions in the past. The simple past tense is mainly used when writing and when telling stories.

Eines Tages starb die Chefin des Bandenbutt Hotels.sterben, Präteritum

One day the boss of the Brandenbutt Hotel died.

Als ihre Enkelin Anna ins Hotel kam, begann das Abenteuer.beginnen, Präteritum

When her granddaughter Anna came to the hotel the adventure started.

With irregular verbs in the simple past tense, the vowel in the verb stem always changes. There are no set rules for this, so you have to learn each verb by heart:

ich fuhr
du fuhrst
er/sie/es fuhr
wir fuhren
ihr fuhrt
sie/Sie fuhren
ich kam
du kamst
er/sie/es kam
wir kamen
ihr kamt
sie/Sie kamen

For verbs such as bringen (to bring, to take) or denken (to think) we also add a t + personal ending.

Anna dachte oft an ihre Großmutter. denken, Präteritum

Anna often thought of her grandmother.

Er brachte mir ein Geschenk. bringen, Präteritum

He brought me a present.

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