Simple Past Conjugation
The simple past is used primarily in written German, and this verb conjugation is crucial for understanding newspapers, novels, and magazines. Modal verbs and some common verbs, such as sein, are exceptions to this rule, and they are used often in their simple past forms in spoken German. The simple past expresses actions that occurred at a single point in time in the past.
To conjugate weak or regular verbs in the simple past, add "te" to the verb ending, and then add the present tense personal conjugation ending. Note that for verbs that end in "t" or "d," "ete" must be used instead of "te" for phonological reasons. Strong or irregular verbs can be challenging as their simple past formations follow no discernible patterns, and often involve stem changes and consonant changes. It takes a lot of practice to memorize the simple past forms of the most commonly used verbs. Use the following exercises to begin practicing now.