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The Participle in German (Partizip I and Partizip II)

There are 2 participles in German:

Partizip I

Participle I, also known in German as "Partizip Präsens" (present participle).

Construction of Partizip I

Partizip I is constructed with:

(INFINITIVE OF THE VERB) + "d"

VerbPartizip I
habenhabend
könnenkönnend
singensingend
fährenfährend

There are 2 verbs that don’t follow this rule:

VerbPartizip I
seinseiend
tuntuend

sein and tun are the only verbs in German that do not end with “en” or with “rn” and that is why they form the Partizip I differently.

Use of the Partizip I

The Partizip I behaves, for all intents and purposes, like an adjective. This means it is not declined in non-attributive function and is declined in attributive function due to :

  • Weak declension
  • Mixed declension
  • Strong declension

For more info about adjective declension.

Partizip I with a non-attributive function

The Partizip I can be isolated in the clause. If this is the case, it is not declined:

Es ist dringend
It is urgent

Das sieht wirklich spannend aus
That looks really fascinating

Partizip I with weak declension

If the Partizip I is preceded by a definite article or by other particles that are characterized by weak declension, it is declined:


MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeder dringende
Termin
die dringende
Entscheidung
das dringende
Thema
die dringenden
Entscheidungen
Accusativeden dringenden
Termin
die dringende
Entscheidung
das dringende
Thema
die dringenden
Entscheidungen
Dativedem dringenden
Termin
der dringenden
Entscheidung
dem dringenden
Thema
den dringenden
Entscheidungen
Genitivedes dringenden
Termins
der dringenden
Entscheidung
des dringenden
Themas
der dringenden
Entscheidungen

Partizip I with mixed declension

If the Partizip I is preceded by an indefinite article or by other particles that are characterized by mixed declension, it is declined in this way:


MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeein dringender
Termin
eine dringende
Entscheidung
ein dringendes
Thema
einige dringenden
Entscheidungen
Accusativeeinen dringenden
Termin
eine dringende
Entscheidung
ein dringendes
Thema
einige dringenden
Entscheidungen
Dativeeinem dringenden
Termin
einer dringenden
Entscheidung
einem dringenden
Thema
einigen dringenden
Entscheidungen
Genitiveeines dringenden
Termins
einer dringenden
Entscheidung
eines dringenden
Themas
einiger dringenden
Entscheidungen

Partizip I with strong declension

If the Partizip I is not preceded by any other article or is preceded by other particles that are characterized by strong declension, it is declined like this:


MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativedringender
Termin
dringende
Entscheidung
dringendes
Thema
dringende
Entscheidungen
Accusativedringenden
Termin
dringende
Entscheidung
dringendes
Thema
dringende
Entscheidungen
Dativedringendem
Termin
dringender
Entscheidung
dringendem
Thema
dringenden
Entscheidungen
Genitivedringendes
Termins
dringender
Entscheidung
dringendes
Themas
dringender
Entscheidungen

Partizip II

Also known as “Partizip Perfekt” (past participle).

Construction of the Partizip II

Its construction depends on the verb in question:

Regular verbs without a prefix

Construction: ge - (VERB STEM) -(e)t

InfinitivPartizip IIMeaning
kauf-enge-kauf-tto buy
regn-enge-regn-e-tto rain

An "-e-" is added to some verbs between the stem and the final "-t" (for more details, see the present indicative)

Regular verbs with separable prefix

Construction: (SEPARABLE PREFIX) - ge - (VERB STEM) -(e)t

InfinitivPartizip IIMeaning
auf-rund-enauf-ge-rund-e-tto round up
ein-kauf-enein-ge-kauf-tto go shopping

Regular verbs with inseparable prefix

Construction : (inseparable prefix) - (verb stem) -(e)t

InfinitivPartizip IIMeaning
be-nutz-enbe-nutz-tto use
ent-wickel-nent-wickel-tto develop

Verbs ending with "-ieren"

 Construction: (verb stem) -t

InfinitivPartizip IIMeaning
studier-enstudier-tto study (at the University)
rotier-enrotier-t(to rotate)

Strong verbs

Most strong verbs follow the structure: ge-(VERB STEM) - en

InfinitivPartizip IIMeaning
komm-enge-komm-ento come
fahr-enge-fahr-ento drive

although a few other verbs do not follow this rule:

InfinitivPartizip IIMeaning
seingewesento be
habengehabtto have
werdengewordento become/to be

In this link you can see the participles of the main irregular verbs.

Use of the Partizip II

1. The following verb tenses are used for its construction in the indicative as well as subjunctive:

2. It is used for all of the tenses in the passive voice

Audiovisual complement

To end this article, we have Disney song for you which really touches us: "Die Schöne und das Biest" (Beauty and the Beast).




6 Comments

#6 [Mike]2016-06-26 10:39
Thanks for the explanation, one confusing moment, you wrote: «This means it can NOT be declined» but at the same time you give declination tables. So this «can NOT be» is a little bit confusing.
[germanveryeasy.com]2016-07-09 13:10
thanks for your comment. We improved the explanation

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