Present Perfect Conjugation
Despite its name, the present perfect tense is used to describe events that occurred in the past. It is not used in quite the same way that English uses it. This verb tense is used in spoken German to refer to events occurring in the past that English speakers could express using either the simple past or the present perfect. For example, the sentence "Gestern bin ich gefallen" literally translates to "Yesterday, I have fallen" but should be translated as "Yesterday, I fell."
When performing present perfect verb conjugation, you must decide whether to use sein or haben as the helping verb. Generally, sein is used infrequently. It is used for intransitive events that include motion, such as "come," "go," or "fall," as well as verbs that imply transformation, such as "die," "become," or "be born." The majority of verbs use haben. Once you choose the correct helping verb, it is conjugated for the present tense.
To form the present perfect participle for weak verbs, add "ge" to the beginning of the verb and add a "t" to the stem. Thus, lernen becomes gelernt. There are some exceptions known as mixed verbs. Verbs which end in "ieren" are also exceptions. For these verbs, do not add "ge" to the beginning. Replace "ieren" with a "t". For example, fotografieren becomes fotografiert.
Strong verbs add "ge" to the beginning of the stem and end in "en". The verb stem generally changes, and strong verb present perfect participles must be memorized. Fill in the blanks for each of the verbs below to practice this challenging but heavily-used verb tense.