Present Tense of “sein”

In this Beginner German lesson, you will learn how to conjugate and use the German verb “sein” in the present tense. You will also learn how to identify nationalities and occupations with the verb “sein”.

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

This lesson is a part of Herr Antrim’s new e-book “Beginner German with Herr Antrim“. Within the e-book, this lesson includes a worksheet and answer key to practice the skills you are about to learn.

You can also get the extra materials for this lesson about the present tense of the German verb “sein” including a worksheet with answer key and mp3 files along with the text guide to help you practice your pronunciation by clicking here.

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Beginner German with Herr Antrim

Present Tense Conjugation of “sein”

“Sein” is one of the most irregular verbs in the present tense. In English it means “to be”. It is incredibly irregular, which makes it difficult to conjugate. It is also one of the most important verbs in the German language.

sein – to be
ich bin – I am
du bist – you are
er, sie, es ist – he, she, it is
wir sind – we are
ihr seid – you are
sie, Sie sind – they, you are

“sein” with Adjectives

You can use “sein” with an adjective to describe people and things.

Ich bin hübsch.
I am handsome.

Du bist klug.
You are smart.

Er ist stark.
He is strong.

Wir sind fleißig.
We are hard working.

Ihr seid faul.
You are lazy.

Sie sind rothaarig.
They are red-haired.

“sein” with Nationalities

Simply add the nationality of the person or persons to the sentence to describe them that way. Just don’t use an article like “ein” or “eine”.

Ich bin Amerikaner.
I am an American.

Du bist Deutscher.
You are a German.

Sie ist Schweizerin.
She is Swiss.

Wir sind Österreicher.
We are Austrians.

Ihr seid Franzosen.
You are French.

Sie sind Spanier.
They are Spaniards.

Amerikaner vs Amerikanisch

A: Ich bin amerikanisch.
A: I am American.

B: NEIN! Das sagt man nicht so. Sag lieber “Ich bin Amerikaner.” Du bist nicht amerikanisch. Dein Akzent ist amerikanisch. Dein Auto ist amerikanisch. Aber du bist Amerikaner.
B: NO! You don’t say that like that. Say instead “I am an American.” You are not American. Your accent is American. Your car is American. But you are an American.”

If you are looking for the German names for other nationalities, I have a video linked here that I made a while ago that showcases several of the popular countries my viewers live in.

“sein” with Occupations

You can do the same thing with occupations. Again, no articles like “ein” or “eine”.

Ich bin Lehrer.
I am a teacher.

Bist du Anwältin?
Are you a lawyer (female)?

Er ist Schauspieler.
He is an actor.

Wir sind Verkäufer.
We are salespeople.

Seid ihr Krankenpfleger?
Are you nurses?

Meine Brüder sind Mechaniker.
My brothers are mechanics.

FREE A1/A2 Materials

“sein” with Nouns

If you are identifying an object, you do need an article. To say “the”, use “der”, “die”, or “das” based on the gender of the noun. If you want to say “a” or “an” and the noun is masculine or neuter, use “ein”. When it is feminine, use “eine”. If it is plural, you often don’t need an article, but if you need/want to say “the”, say “die”.

Ich bin ein Mann.
I am a man.

Du bist eine Frau.
You are a woman.

Das ist ein Pferd.
That is a horse.

Der Mann ist der Verbrecher.
The man is the criminal.

Die Frau ist die Mutter.
The woman is the mother.

Wir sind das Volk.
We are the people.

Ihr seid Kinder.
You are all children.

Das sind die Stühle.
These are the chairs.

Fun Fact of the Day

“sein” is one of two verbs in the German language which can have two subjects. For example: All of the examples in the last group of examples. These nouns are technically called “predicate nominatives”, as they are in the nominative case. The only other verb that can do this is “werden” when it is used as a meaning verb. Then it translates as “to become” or “turn into”.

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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. *This site uses Amazon Affiliate links. If there is a link that leads to Amazon, it is very likely an affiliate link for which Herr Antrim will receive a small portion of your purchase. This does not cost you any extra, but it does help keep this website going.