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  JE PARLE FRANÇAİS
  French - German 5
 

French & German Comparative Tutorial III: Learn Two Languages Simultaneously

Rocket French | Rocket German

Common Verbs

English

French

German

English

French

German

to answer

répondre à

antworten

to mean

vouloir dire

bedeuten

to ask

demander

fragen

to meet

recontrer

treffen

to be

être

sein

to need

avoir besoin de

brauchen

to be (located)

se trouver

liegen

to open

ouvrir

öffnen

to be able to, can

pouvoir

können

to order

commander

bestellen

to be called

s'appeler

heißen

to pay

payer

bezahlen

to become

devenir

werden

to play

, act

jouer

spielen

to begin

commencer

beginnen

to pull

tirer

ziehen

to bring

amener, apporter

bringen

to push

pousser

drücken

to buy

acheter

kaufen

to put, set

mettre

setzen

to call

appeler

rufen

to rain

pleuvoir

regnen

to close

fermer

schließen

to read

lire

lesen

to come

venir

kommen

to run

courir

laufen

to cost

coûter

kosten

to say, tell

dire

sagen

to die

mourir

sterben

to see

voir

sehen

to drink

boire

trinken

to send

envoyer

senden

to drive, go, travel

conduire, aller

fahren

to shine

briller

scheinen

to eat

manger

essen

to show, indicate

montrer

zeigen

to fall

tomber

fallen

to sing

chanter

singen

to find

trouver

finden

to sit

être assis

sitzen

to fly

voler

fliegen

to sleep

dormir

schlafen

to forbid

interdire

verbieten

to speak

parler

sprechen

to forget

oublier

vergessen

to spend (time)

passer

verbringen

to get, receive

recevoir

bekommen, empfangen

to stand

être debout

stehen

to give

donner

geben

to stay, remain

rester

bleiben

to go

aller

gehen

to swim

nager

schwimmen

to have

avoir

haben

to take

prendre

nehmen

to have to, must

devoir

müssen

to thank

remercier

danken

to hear

entendre

hören

to think

penser

denken

to help

aider

helfen

to throw (away)

jeter

werfen

to know (facts)

savoir

wissen

to travel

voyager

reisen

to know (people)

connaître

kennen

to try (out)

essayer

probieren

to leave

quitter

verlassen

to understand

comprendre

verstehen

to let

laisser

lassen

to visit

visiter, rendre visite à

besuchen

to listen to

écouter

zuhören

to wait

attendre

warten

to live (be alive)

vivre

leben

to want

vouloir

wollen

to live (in)

habiter

wohnen

to wash

laver

waschen

to look for, search

chercher

suchen

to wear

porter

tragen

to lose

perdre

verlieren

to win

gagner

gewinnen

to love

aimer

lieben

to work

travailler

arbeiten

to make, do

faire

machen, tun

to write

écrire

schreiben

Many of the most commonly used verbs in both French and German are irregular.


Regular Verbs: Present and Past Tense

In French, there are three types of verbs, depending on their endings: -er, -ir and -re. All verbs in German end in -en or -n. To conjugate verbs in the present tense, remove the endings and add the following new endings. The present tense in French and German can translate as either the simple present, the present continuous, or the emphatic present, i.e. I run, I am running, I do run.

Present

French

 

German

 

-er

-ir

-re

 

-en / -n

je / j'

-e

-is

-s

ich

-e

tu

-es

-is

-s

du

-st

il/elle

-e

-it

-

er/sie/es

-t

nous

-ons

-issons

-ons

wir

-en

vous

-ez

-issez

-ez

ihr

-t

ils/elles

-ent

-issent

-ent

sie/Sie

-en

For French verbs that begin with a vowel, such as apprendre, je becomes j' so that subject and verb can be connected as one word (to faciliate pronunciation): j'apprends. It is also common for tu to become t' in informal speech, but not in formal writing: t'apprends. In informal German, the -e of the ich form is often left off as well so that there is one fewer syllable: ich hab'

For the past (imperfect) tense, all regular French verbs use the same endings. All regular German verbs use the same endings as well. This past tense translates as either the simple past, the past continuous, or used to + infinitive, i.e. I ran, I was running, I used to run. (There is another past tense in French, called the passé simple - simple past, that is rarely used in speech, but still commonly used in literature. It will appear later.)

Past

French

 

German

je / j'

-ais

ich

-te

tu

-ais

du

-test

il/elle

-ait

er/sie/es

-te

nous

-ions

wir

-ten

vous

-iez

ihr

-tet

ils/elles

-aient

sie/Sie

-ten


Spelling Changes in the Present Tense

There are several spelling changes in conjugated verbs in the present tense, in both French and German. Usually these changes are made to correlate with the pronunciation of the verb.

French: Many verbs that end in -ir are conjugated with a different set of endings than those above, while some other -ir verbs are conjugated as if they were -er verbs. Verb stems that end in -c must use a cedilla (ç) under the c to make it soft in the nous form. Verb stems ending in -ge lose the final e before the endings in the nous and vous forms. Some verbs add an accent grave to an e (è) or change an accent aigu to an accent grave before the ending; verbs ending in -yer change the y to i; and some verbs double their consonant in all forms but nous and vous.

 

partir

offrir

commencer

manger

espérer

payer

appeler

je / j'

pars

offre

commence

mange

espère

paie

appelle

tu

pars

offres

commences

manges

espères

paies

appelles

il/elle

part

offre

commence

mange

espère

paie

appelle

nous

partons

offrons

commençons

mangions

espérons

payons

appelons

vous

partez

offrez

commencez

mangiez

espérez

payez

appelez

ils/elles

partent

offrent

commencent

mangent

espèrent

paient

appellent

German: For the du and er/sie/es forms only, some verbs change their stem vowel: a to ä, au to äu, e to ie, e to i. Verb stems ending in -d or -t add an extra -e before the regular endings for the du, er/sie/es and ihr forms. Verb stems ending in s, z, or ß only add -t for the du form. Verbs that end in -n instead of -en only add -n for the wir and sie/Sie forms. Verbs that end in -eln or -ern only -n for the wir and sie/Sie forms and they can drop the e before -ln or -rn in the ich form.

 

fahren

laufen

sehen

geben

arbeiten

tanzen

tun

sammeln

ich

fahre

laufe

sehe

gebe

arbeite

tanze

tue

sammle

du

fährst

läufst

siehst

gibst

arbeitest

tanzt

tust

sammelst

er/sie/es

fährt

läuft

sieht

gibt

arbeitet

tanzt

tut

sammelt

wir

fahren

laufen

sehen

geben

arbeiten

tanzen

tun

sammeln

ihr

fahrt

lauft

seht

gebt

arbeitet

tanzt

tut

sammelt

sie/Sie

fahren

laufen

sehen

geben

arbeiten

tanzen

tun

sammeln


Irregular Verb Stems in the Past Tense

French: Only one French verb is irregular in the past (imperfect) tense: être. Its stem becomes ét- for the past tense, but it still uses the regular past tense endings. In addition, some of the spelling changes in the present tense also occur in the past tense (for verb stems ending in -c and -g).

 

être - to be

commencer - to begin

manger - to eat

je / j'

étais

commençais

mangeais

tu

étais

commençais

mangeais

il/elle

était

commençait

mangeait

nous

étions

commencions

mangions

vous

étiez

commenciez

mangiez

ils/elles

étaient

commençaient

mangeaient

German: There are several irregular past stems in German. Similar to the irregular verbs in English, some of these stems cannot be predicted and must be memorized. These irregular verb stems also use slightly different endings than the regular verbs.

Irregular Endings in Past Tense

ich

-

du

-st

er/sie/es

-

wir

-en

ihr

-t

sie/Sie

-en

Irregular Stems in the Past Tense

Infinitive

Past Stem

 

Infinitive

Past Stem

 

beginnen

begann

begin

schieben

schob

push

bekommen

bekam

get, receive

schlafen

schlief

sleep

bleiben

blieb

remain

schlagen

schlug

hit

brechen

brach

break

schließen

schloss

shut

empfehlen

empfahl

recommend

schneiden

schnitt

cut

essen

eat

schreiben

schrieb

write

fahren

fuhr

drive, go, travel

schreien

schrie

cry

fallen

fiel

fall

schwimmen

schwamm

swim

fangen

fing

catch

sehen

sah

see

finden

fand

find

sein

war

be

fliegen

flog

fly

singen

sang

sing

fressen

fraß

eat (of animals)

sinken

sank

sink

frieren

fror

freeze

sitzen

saß

sit

gebären

gebar

be born

sprechen

sprach

speak

geben

gab

give

springen

sprang

jump

gehen

ging

go

stehen

stand

stand

geschehen

geschah

happen

stehlen

stahl

steal

gewinnen

gewann

win

steigen

stieg

climb

halten

hielt

hold

sterben

starb

die

hängen

hing

hang, suspend

tragen

trug

wear

heben

hob

lift

treffen

traf

meet

heißen

hiess

be called

treiben

trieb

play sports

helfen

half

help

treten

trat

step

kommen

kam

come

trinken

trank

drink

lassen

liess

let, allow

tun

tat

do

laufen

lief

run

verbieten

verbot

forbid

leiden

litt

suffer

vergessen

vergaß

forget

leihen

lieh

lend

verlassen

verliess

leave

lesen

las

read

verlieren

verlor

lose

liegen

lag

recline

versprechen

versprach

promise

lügen

log

lie, fib

verstehen

verstand

understand

nehmen

nahm

take

verzeihen

verzieh

forgive

reiten

ritt

ride (horseback)

wachsen

wuchs

grow

riechen

roch

smell

waschen

wusch

wash

rufen

rief

call

werfen

warf

throw

scheinen

schien

shine

ziehen

zog

pull

Haben, werden, wissen, and a group of verbs called the "mixed verbs" all have irregular stems in the past tense, but they still use the regular endings!

Irregular Stems + Regular Endings in the Past Tense

 

haben

werden

wissen

bringen

denken

kennen

brennen

nennen

rennen

wenden

ich

hatte

wurde

wußte

brachte

dachte

kannte

brannte

nannte

rannte

wandte

du

hattest

wurdest

wußtest

brachtest

dachtest

kanntest

branntest

nanntest

ranntest

wandtest

er/sie/es

hatte

wurde

wußte

brachte

dachte

kannte

brannte

nannte

rannte

wandte

wir

hatten

wurden

wußten

brachten

dachten

kannten

brannten

nannten

rannten

wandten

ihr

hattet

wurdet

wußtet

brachtet

dachtet

kanntet

branntet

nanntet

ranntet

wandtet

sie/Sie

hatten

wurden

wußten

brachten

dachten

kannten

brannten

nannten

rannten

wandten

Some of the modal verbs in German follow the rules for regular stem + regular ending, while others use an irregular stem + regular ending.

Past Tense of Modals

 

können

müssen

dürfen

sollen

wollen

mögen

ich

konnte

mußte

durfte

sollte

wollte

mochte

du

konntest

mußtest

durftest

solltest

wolltest

mochtest

er, sie, es

konnte

mußte

durfte

sollte

wollte

mochte

wir

konnten

mußten

durften

sollten

wollten

mochten

ihr

konntet

mußtet

durftet

solltet

wolltet

mochtet

sie

konnten

mußten

durften

sollten

wollten

mochten


Pronominal / Reflexive Verbs

Pronominal verbs are also called reflexive verbs, and they require an extra pronoun in the conjugations. These verbs reflect actions that are done to the subject (the subject and object refer to the same person), so many of them involve the body. Other verbs are considered pronominal simply for grammatical reasons. Reflexive verbs are rare in English, so many times the reflexive pronoun in French or German is not translated into English. For verbs that show reciprocal actions, English tends to use each other.

English

French

German

myself

me

mich / mir

yourself

te

dich / dir

himself/herself/itself

se

sich

ourselves

nous

uns

yourselves

vous

euch

themselves

se

sich

The main difference between the languages is that French places the reflexive pronoun BEFORE the conjugated verb, while German places it AFTER.

Il se lave. / Er wäscht sich. He washes (himself).
Je me réjouis de te voir. / Ich freue mich, dich su zehen. I'm happy to see you.

Another difference is the use of dative reflexive pronouns in German (mir and dir instead of mich and dich). If a sentence already has an object in the accusative case (a direct object), then the reflexive pronoun in German must be in the dative case (an indirect object).

Je me lave les cheveux. / Ich wasche mir die Haare. I'm washing my hair.

Reflexive Verbs in French & German
(Not all verbs that are reflexive in French are reflexive in German and vice versa!)

English

French

German

English

French

German

to ask about, get info

se renseigner

sich erkundigen nach

to get undressed

se déshabiller

sich ausziehen

to be afraid of

avoir peur de

sich fürchten vor

to get up

se lever

aufstehen

to be bored

s'ennuyer

sich langweilen

to get upset, annoyed

s'énerver

sich aufregen

to be called

s'appeler

heißen

to get used to

s'habituer à

sich gewöhnen an

to be interested in

s'intéresser à

sich interessieren für

to have a good time

s'amuser

sich vergnügen

to be pleased

se réjouir

sich freuen

to hurry

se dépêcher

sich beeilen

to break (body part)

se casser

sich brechen

to imagine

s'imaginer

sich vorstellen

to catch a cold

prendre froid

sich erkälten

to lie down

s'allonger

sich hinlegen

to complain about

se plaindre

sich beklagen über

to relax

se détendre

sich erholen

to fall asleep

s'endormir

einschlafen

to remember

se souvenir de

sich erinnern an

to fall in love with

tomber amoureux de

sich verlieben in

to rest

se reposer

sich ausruhen

to feel (well)

se sentir (bien)

sich (wohl) fühlen

to shave

se raser

sich rasieren

to get along

s'entendre avec

sich verstehen mit

to sit down

s'asseoir

sich setzen

to get angry

se fâcher

sich ärgern

to take care of

s'occuper de

sich kümmern um

to get dressed

s'habiller

sich anziehen

to train/practice

s'entraîner

trainieren

to get hurt

se faire mal

sich verletzen

to wake up

se réveiller

aufwachen

to get married

se marier

heiraten

to wash up

se laver

sich waschen


On / Man

To express an unspecific agent (such as one, you, they, or people in general in English), use on in French and man in German as the subject pronoun. These subjects can also be used as a way to avoid the passive mood, though it is much more common in French than in German.

On parle espagnol. / Man spricht Spanisch. We speak Spanish. / Spanish is spoken.


Plaire / Gefallen & Manquer / Fehlen

Plaire and gefallen mean to like (literally: to be pleasing to) and manquer and fehlen mean to miss (literally: to be missing to), but the word order is the opposite of English. The English subject becomes the indirect object in French and German, while the English object becomes the subject. Remember that French pronouns are placed BEFORE the conjugated verb, while they are placed AFTER in German.

Ça me plaît. / Das gefällt mir. I like it. (literally: It is pleasing to me.)
Ses devoirs ne lui plaisent pas ? / Die Hausaufgaben gefallen ihm nicht? He doesn't like his homework? (literally: His homework doesn't please him?)
Tu me manques. / Du fehlst mir. I miss you. (literally: You are missing to me.)
Ils me manquent. / Sie fehlen mir. I miss them. (literally: They are missing to me.)


Separable & Inseparable Prefixes in German

A lot of German verbs include prefixes, which may or may not separate from the base infinitive when conjugated. Inseparable prefixes are quite easy to deal with because they always remain attached to the root of the verb. They are essentially unstressed syllables. It is only in the perfect tenses that you need to be aware of inseparable prefixes.

Separable prefixes, on the other hand, have different rules for verb tenses and subordinating clauses, which will be expanded on below. The main idea is that the separable prefix is removed from the root verb and placed at the very end of the clause or sentence in the present tense in simple sentences. This is somewhat similar to phrasal verbs in English that include a preposition or adverb, such as take out, look over, put down, etc. Most separable prefixes in German are also prepositions, so they should look familiar. (Separable prefix verbs in German don't always translate as phrasal verbs in English though.)

Separable Prefixes

 

Inseparable Prefixes

ab-

mit-

 

be-

an-

nach-

 

emp-

auf-

vor-

 

ent-

aus-

vorbei-

 

er-

bei-

weg-

 

ge-

ein-

zu-

 

miss-

fern-

zurück-

 

ver-

los-

zusammen-

 

zer-

German Verbs with Separable Prefixes

abholen

to pick up

ausmachen

to turn off

abräumen

to clear (the table)

aussehen

to look like, appear

abtrocknen

to dry (dishes)

austragen

to deliver

abwischen

to wipe clean

auswandern

to emigrate

anfangen

to begin

ausziehen

to take off clothes

ankommen

to arrive

einkaufen

to shop

anmachen

to turn on

einladen

to invite

anrufen

to call up

einpacken

to pack up

anschauen

to look at

einschlafen

to fall asleep

ansehen

to look at, watch

einsteigen

to board

anziehen

to put on clothes

fernsehen

to watch TV

anzünden

to light (candles)

mitkommen

to come with

aufhören

to stop

mitnehmen

to take with

aufmachen

to open

vorbeikommen

to come by

aufräumen

to tidy up (clothes)

vorschlagen

to suggest

aufstehen

to get up

vorstellen

to introduce

aufwachen

to wake up

weggehen

to go away

aufwischen

to mop up

wegstellen

to put away

ausfüllen

to fill in (the blanks)

zuhören

to listen to

ausgeben

to spend

zumachen

to close

ausgehen

to go out

zurückkommen

to come back

ausleeren

to empty

zusehen

to observe

Sie macht das Fenster auf. She opens the window.
Er zieht sich an. He gets dressed.

Unter and über can function as separable prefixes, but they are much more commonly used as inseparable prefixes. When prefixes are stressed, they are separable; when they are not stressed, they are inseparable. The stress on the following verbs in not on the prefix, so they are all inseparable: unterhalten - to entertain, unternehmen - to undertake, überholen - to overtake, and übersetzen - to translate.


Imperative / Commands

Forming commands is quite easy if you remember the present tense conjugations of verbs. Only a few of the forms change for the command (in blue). Negative commands follow the regular word order rules of placing ne...pas around the verb in French (or just pas after in informal French) and nicht after the verb in German.

 

French

German

English

tu / du

Reste

Bleib!

Stay! (informal / singular)

nous / wir

Restons

Bleiben wir!

Let's stay!

vous / ihr

Restez

Bleibt!

Stay! (plural)

vous / Sie

Restez

Bleiben Sie!

Stay! (formal)

The informal/singular you loses its ending for the command in both languages (no -s and no -st), however, the -s reappears in French with object pronouns (va becomes vas-y). German verbs that require an umlaut in the informal you form do not use it in the command (laüfst becames lauf!), but verbs that change e to i or ie do use this form in the command (gibst becomes gib!). The we/let's and formal you add wir and Sie, respectively, after the verb in German. Notice that all German commands are written with exclamation points, and French requires a hypen between the command and object.

Prend-le ! / Nimm es! Take it!
Dis-moi ! / Sag mir! Tell me!
Ne parlez pas ! / Sprecht nicht! Don't speak!

Irregular Commands

 

French

German

 

être - to be

avoir - to have

savoir - to know (facts)

sein - to be

tu / du

Sois

Aie

Sache

Sei!

nous / wir

Soyons

Ayons

Sachons

Seien wir!

vous / ihr

Soyez

Ayez

Sachez

Seiet!

vous / Sie

Soyez

Ayez

Sachez

Seien Sie!

Pronominal verbs as commands have the same verb + pronoun word order if they are affirmative; but in the negative, French moves the pronoun before the verb, while German keeps it after.

Asseyons-nous ! / Setzen wir uns! Let's sit down!
Ne vous fâchez pas ! / Ärgern Sie sich nicht! Don't get angry!


Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction that begins a dependent clause depends on the rest of the sentence to make sense. For example, "because I was sick" does not make sense on its own and it requires another clause (the independent clause): I went home because I was sick. Notice that "I went home" can exist on its own, which is why it is called independent. In French and German, just as in English, either the independent or dependent clause can begin the sentence; however, the word order must change in German.

For sentences of type 1) independent clause, + subordinating conjunction + dependent clause: The conjugated verb in the dependent clause goes to the very end - even after the infinitive.
For sentences of type 2) subordinating conjunction + dependent clause, + independent clause: The conjugated verb is first in the independent clause, followed by the subject.

1. Sie geht in die Stadt, weil sie ein Geschenk kaufen will. She's going into the city because she wants to buy a present.
2. Weil sie ein Geschenk kaufen will, geht sie in die Stadt. Because she wants to buy a present, she's going into the city.

Verbs with separable prefixes reattach the prefix when they are in dependent clauses:

Er kommt früh nach Hause zurück. He'll come back home early. [independent clause]
Ich denke, dass er früh nach Hause zurückkommt.
I think that he'll come back home early. [dependent clause]


 
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