Haben & Sein Conjugation Song

    This week’s song is about the verbs haben and sein. This is a song that teaches you the conjugation of “haben” and “sein” in the present tense in German. These are two of the most important verbs in the German language and they are also some of the most used German verbs. You can watch the song below or scroll a bit further to see these verbs in action.

    Download a copy of my “haben” and “sein” conjugation quiz with the answer key for FREE here.

    Conjugation of sein and haben

    Conjugation of sein and haben
sein - ich bin; du bist; er, sie, es ist; wir sind; ihr seid; sie, Sie sind
haben - ich habe; du hast; er, sie, es hat; wir haben; ihr habt; sie, Sie haben
    Conjugation of sein and haben

    “Sein” (to be) is the most used verb in the German language, which is why haben and sein deserve their own song. It is also one of the most irregular verbs in the language, because it disregards pretty much every rule about German conjugation.

    Sein and the Predicate Nominative

    It is also weird, because it doesn’t use a direct object. If it looks like it has an object, it probably is actually a predicate nominative, which basically is just an object after the verb that takes the nominative case. This occurs when the verb is a linking verb.

    The easy way to understand this without using grammatical jargon that not everyone can understand is to assume that the verb is an equals sign. If the meaning of the sentence doesn’t change significantly, you have a predicate nominative, which means the object of the verb is in the nominative case. Here a few examples of that.

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    Ich bin ein Mann.
    I am a man.

    Sie ist eine Frau.
    She is a woman.

    As you can see in those two examples, if you put an equals sign where the verb is, you would have “I equal a man.” While it sounds archaic, it isn’t that much different from the original with the verb “am” (bin). This can be done with some other verbs in both English and German, but this blog is about “haben” and “sein” so I will stick to that.

    Sein with Dative Constructions

    Another thing that happens with the verb “sein” is the use of a dative object instead of an accusative one. This mostly is used when we would say “to me” or “to you” in English. Sometimes translating the English phrase directly to German can be problematic. Of course, this isn’t shown in the haben and sein song above, but you can see it in the following examples.

    Ich bin heiß.
    I am hot.
    (Don’t say that. It could mean “I am in heat.”)

    Es ist mir heiß.
    It is hot to me.
    (Say this. This is what you mean when the temperature is hot.)

    Der Mann ist warm.
    The man is warm.
    (Don’t say this. It could mean “The man is gay.”)

    Dem Mann ist es warm.
    It is warm to the man.
    (Say this. This is what you mean when the temperature is warm.)

    Er ist kalt.
    He is cold.
    (Don’t say this. It could mean “He is aloof/cold hearted.”)

    Es ist ihm kalt.
    It is cold to him.
    (Say this. This is what you mean when the temperature is cold.)

    Ich bin gut.
    I am good.
    (Don’t say this. This means you aren’t a bad person.)

    Es geht mir gut.
    It is going well for me.
    (Say this. This is the answer to the question “Wie geht’s?”)

    Adjectives with sein

    While you can’t use a few adjectives with forms of “sein” and translate them directly from English to German, you can use a bunch of other ones like in the following examples.

    Er ist nett.
    He is nice.

    Sie ist gemein.
    She is mean.

    Er ist hübsch.
    He is handsome.

    Sie ist schön.
    She is beautiful.

    Er ist hässlich.
    He is ugly.

    Haben – the 2nd Most Important German Verb

    “Haben” is the second most used German verb after sein, so it is also included in the song. It is considerably easier to use, however. It is only irregular in the “du” and “er, sie, es” forms. Everything else is normal. Also, it takes a direct object doesn’t do anything strange like “sein” does.

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    The main thing to remember with “haben” is that the direct object takes the accusative case. If you are using a noun preceded by either a der-word or ein-word, it really doesn’t matter except with masculine nouns. If you are using pronouns, however, it is a bit more important as several of the pronouns change between the nominative and accusative cases.

    Ich habe einen Hund.
    I have a dog.

    Hast du eine Katze?
    Do you have a cat?

    Er hat ein Pferd.
    He has a horse.

    Sie hat Nashörner.
    She has rhinoceroses.

    Wir haben ihn.
    We have it (masculine it).

    Habt ihr mich lieb?
    Do you love me?

    Die Kinder haben Spielzeuge.
    The children have toys.

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    Did you enjoy the haben and sein song? The next song I will upload is a song about the prefix “be-“. In that song I will explain what the be- prefix does and how to use it in German sentences. Bis zum nächsten Mal. Tschüss.

    Herr Antrim

    Herr Antrim is a German teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience. In 2011 he started his successful YouTube Channel "Learn German with Herr Antrim". In 2015 he created this website to enhance the German language lessons he was providing on YouTube. He is now the author of his own e-book, "Beginner German with Herr Antrim". He has also been featured on numerous blogs and other sites.