Conquering the Present Tense of ‘haben’ in German: A Complete Guide

Welcome to our beginner’s lesson on the vital German verb ‘haben’ (to have). This session will unravel the mysteries of its present tense conjugation. Test your skills with our interactive quiz and dive deeper into the world of German grammar.

Present Tense of "haben" - Beginner German with Herr Antrim #13

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The Many Faces of ‘haben’

‘haben’ is a weird verb, demanding different forms based on the subject. The full conjugation is listed below.

ich habeI have
du hastyou have
er, sie, es hathe, she, it has
wir habenwe have
ihr habtyou have
sie, Sie habenthey, you have
Present Tense Conjugation of ‘haben’

‘haben’ with Direct Objects

The verb “haben” always requires an object. The articles are the same as normal with feminine, neuter and plural nouns as objects.

Ich habe eine Tante.
I have an aunt.

Hast du eine Tochter?
Do you have a daughter?

Meine Mutter hat eine Schwester.
My mother has a sister.

Wir haben Eltern.
We have parents.

Habt ihr ein Kind?
Do you have a child?

Meine Großeltern haben Zwillinge.
My grandparents have twins.

Masculine Direct Objects with “haben”

If the object is a masculine noun, you need “den” for “the” and “einen” for “a” or “an”.

Ich habe einen Vater.
I have a father.

Hast du einen Sohn?
Do you have a son?

Mein Bruder hat einen Bruder… ich bin sein Bruder.
My brother has a brother… I am his brother.

Mein Vater hat Geschwister. Sie sind meine Tanten und Onkel.
My father has siblings. They are my aunts and uncles.

Wir haben einen Großvater und eine Großmutter.
We have a grandfather and a grandmother.

Habt ihr einen Neffen?
Do you have a nephew?
Side Note: The word “Neffe” (nephew) also requires an “N” at the end when it is the object of the sentence.

Meine Nichten haben einen Bruder.
My nieces have a brother.

Expressing Pain with “haben”

When some parts of your body hurt, you don’t need an article, because these pains (Schmerzen) are plural.

Ich habe Kopfschmerzen.
I have a headache.

Du hast Bauchschmerzen.
You have a stomach ache.

Er hat Halsschmerzen.
He has a sore throat.

Wir haben Zahnschmerzen.
We have a toothache.

‘haben’ as ‘to like’

Add “gern” to the sentence to change “to have” into “to like”. If you like a sport, you don’t need an article.

Ich habe Fußball gern.
I like soccer.

Hast du Basketball gern?
Do you like basketball?

Sie hat Baseball gern.
She likes baseball.

Wir haben Tennis gern.
We like tennis.

Habt ihr Golf gern?
Do you like golf?

Die Kinder haben Handball gern.
The children like handball.

“gern” with Other Verbs

You can add “gern” with other verbs to change it from the original verb to liking to do that action. Some people add an “E” to the end of “gern”. This does not change the meaning.

Ich spiele gern Schach.
I like to play chess.

Tanzt du gerne?
Do you like to dance?

Meine Schwester schaukelt gern.
My sister likes to swing.

Wir essen gerne.
We like to eat.

Arbeitet ihr gern?
Do you like to work?

Meine Großeltern erzählen gerne Geschichten.
My grandparents like to tell stories.

Mnemonic Magic: Sing Your Way to Mastery

Remember the conjugation by singing it to “Ode an die Freude” (Ode to Joy). This musical approach simplifies learning.

Haben & Sein Song - Lied - Deutsch lernen

Test Your Skills with This ‘haben’ Quiz

Dive Deeper with Herr Antrim

Eager for more? My e-book “Beginner German with Herr Antrim” offers a plethora of resources to advance your German conversations, complete with worksheets and answer keys for each lesson. If you want guided practice to go with all of that, you should join my Deutschlerner Club.

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