Past participle

In German, to form the past tense, you need to use a form of ‘haben’ or ‘sein’ and a past-tense form of the actual verb being used; it turns into a special fragment, at the end of the clause, usually with ‘ge’ at the beginning and ‘-t’ at the end. You’ve probably seen them dotted around even if you are just a beginner at German:

geschickt
gespart
gelacht
gemacht
gespritzt
geschrieben
gefahren

These funny little words are what we call ‘past participles’: past-tense forms of the active verb which do not change, no matter what is the subject of the verb or the structure of the sentence. The final two in this list are irregular past participles and end with an -en rather than -t.

We do have past participle in English but tend not to recognise them as such as they don’t really look any different to other forms of the verb:

I have seen your cat.

She has spoken the magic spell.

A full lesson on forming the past tense in German is coming soon!

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