The irregular verb "tun" in German

Meaning of "tun" in German

The verb "tun" means:

1.-to do, to commit, to make

Was tust du gerade?
What are you doing right now?

Heute Abend kann ich nicht mitkommen, ich habe zu tun
I can't come this evening; I have things to do


Es tut mir leid
I'm sorry

Es tut weh
It hurts

Differences between "tun" and "machen"

A frequent question is what is the difference between "machen" and "tun".

Often, they are synonyms and can be used interchangeably even though machen is more common in these cases (it depends on the region).

In a few cases, only the use of "tun" is correct, especially in fixed expressions:

Er hat zu tun
He has stuff to do

Tut mir leid
I'm sorry

Grammar of "tun"

tun is an irregular verb with haben as auxiliary verb.

Verb3rd PersonPräteritumPartizip IIMeaning
tuntuttatgetanto do

Main article: Irregular verbs

Conjugation of "tun"

Present simple (Präsens Indikativ)

ich tueI do
du tustyou do
er tuthe does
wir tunwe do
ihr tutyou do
sie tunthey do

Perfect (Perfekt)

ich habe getanI have done
du hast getanyou have done
er hat getanhe has done
wir haben getanwe have done
ihr habt getanyou have done
sie haben getanthey have done

Simple past (Präteritum)

ich tatI did
du tatstyou did
er tathe did
wir tatenwe did
ihr tatetyou did
sie tatenthey did

Subjunctive II (Konjunktiv II)

ich täte
du tätest
er täte
wir täten
ihr tätet
sie täten

Participle (Partizip)

Attention: "Tun" is one of the few irregular verbs in its "Partizip I" form.

Partizip IPartizip II

Imperative (Imperativ)

2nd person singulartu / tuedo
2nd person pluraltutdo
Polite formtun Siedo

Tu die Blumen in eine Vase und stell sie auf den Tisch
Put the flowers in a vase and put it on the table