Top 11-20 Most Used German Verbs

    This week’s German learning tip video is the conjugation of the top 11-20 German verbs in the present tense. If you haven’t seen the Top 10, you can click here. If you want to see how to conjugate these verbs, the video is embedded below. If you want more information about how to use these verbs, just keep scrolling.

    The #11 most used German verb according to the list from The German Professor is “wollen”, which is a modal verb and means “to want”. I covered it in a 3 Minuten Deutsch video a few weeks ago. Like most of the modal verbs in German, this modal is used a lot of the time with another verb. This other verb is pushed to the end of the sentence or clause and returns to its infinitive form. Of course, “wollen” can also be used to simply say “I want that.”

    Ich will einen Kuchen. – I want a cake.

    Willst du etwas zu trinken? – Do you want something to drink? (Note: This formulation is a bit different, because it says “something to drink” instead of “to drink something”. If you wanted to say that, you would say “Willst du etwas trinken?”, which is a slightly different question.)

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    Hans will nach Deutschland fliegen. – Hans wants to fly to Germany.

    Sophia will den Hund streicheln. – Sophia wants to pet the dog.

    Das Kind will ein Stück Schokolade. – The child wants a piece of chocolate.

    Wir wollen eure Hände sehen. – We want to see your hands. (Rammstein – Ich will reference. I also mentioned this in my lyrical analysis introduction video.)

    Wollt ihr etwas zu essen? – Do you want something to eat? (Again, this construction is a bit different because of the difference between “something to eat” and “to eat something”.)

    Der Pilot und die Flugbegleiterin wollen abfliegen. – The pilot and flight attendant want to depart.

    The #12 most used German verb on our list is “gehen”, which means “to go”. Generally, it is used only to indicate that you are traveling on foot.

    Ich gehe zur Schule. – I am going to school.

    Gehst du ins Kino? – Are you going to the movies?

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    Er geht heute einkaufen. – He is going shopping today.

    Sie geht zur Arbeit. – She is going to work.

    Das Kind geht nach Hause. – The child is going home.

    Wir gehen oft ins Fitnessstudio. – We often go to the gym.

    Geht ihr oft in Cafés? – Do you go to cafés often?

    Wohin gehen die Meiers am Wochenende? – Where are the Meiers going on the weekend?

    Next up in spot #13 we have “wissen”, which means “to know”. This is one of several words that mean to know. It is used with what I refer to as “nuggets of information”. Most people say it is used with “facts”, but that isn’t quite as encompassing as I would like. Most of the time these “nuggets” are separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma and use the word order where the conjugated verb goes to the end of the clause.

    Ich weiß nicht. – I don’t know.

    Weißt du, wie viele Sterne es im Himmel gibt? – Do you know how many stars there are in the sky?

    Mein Bruder weiß, wie man ein Auto richtig repariert. – My brother knows how to repair a car properly.

    Meine Schwester weiß, wie man ein Auto kaputt machen kann. – My sister knows how one can break a car.

    Mein Kind weiß, wie man Deutsch spricht. – My child knows how to speak German.

    Wir wissen, dass wir hier nicht sein sollen. – We know we aren’t supposed to be here.

    Wisst ihr die Antwort? – Do you know the answer?

    Sie wissen nicht, was vier plus vier ist. – They don’t know what four plus four is.

    In place #14 we have the verb “sehen”, which means “to see”. When combined with the prefix “an” it can be “to look at”. If you use it as a reflexive verb, you can say “to look at oneself”. When you add the prefix “fern”, it becomes to watch television.

    Ich sehe mich im Spiegel an. – I am looking at myself in the mirror.

    Siehst du das Schild nicht?!? – Don’t you see the sign?

    Mein Vater sieht gern die Nachrichten im Fernsehen. – My father likes to watch the news on TV.

    Meine Mutter sieht nicht fern. – My mother doesn’t watch television.

    Das Kind sieht die Schokolade. – The child sees the chocolate.

    Wir sehen “The Walking Dead” im Fernsehen. – We are watching “The Walking Dead” on TV.

    Seht ihr gern Filme? – Do you like watching films?

    Sie sehen gern “Per Anhalter durch die Galaxis”. – They like watching “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

    Next up is #15, “lassen” (to have done, let, allow). This verb is a bit strange, because it can be used with another verb to show that you are allowing something to happen or that you are leaving something in a particular state. See if you can follow the logic of the wording in the following sentences.

    Ich lasse mein Buch auf dem Tisch liegen. – I am leaving my book lying on the table.

    Warum lässt du sie einfach nicht in Ruhe? – Why don’t you just leave her in peace?

    König Ludwig lässt Schloss Neuschwanstein errichten. – King Ludwig is having Castle Neuschwanstein built. (I wrote this in the present tense, because that is the purpose of the blog, but you would probably write this in one of the past tenses, so here are those sentences, too. König Ludwig ließ Schloss Neuschwanstein bauen. or König Ludwig hat Schloss Neuschwanstein bauen gelassen.)

    Sophia lässt die Hündin nicht in Ruhe. – Sophia is letting the dog in peace.

    Das Kind lässt die Eltern schlafen. – The child lets the parents sleep.

    Wir lassen die Hündin nie mehr alleine. – We are never leaving the dog alone again.

    Lasst ihr die Hausaufgaben oft in der Schule? – Do you leave your homework at school often?

    Die Schüler lassen sich die Haare schneiden. – The children have their hair cut.

    The #16 most used German verb is “stehen”, which means “to stand”. This verb is used a lot to illustrate the two-way prepositions (Wechselpräpositionen) by contrasting it with “stellen” (to place). It is always used in these examples with the dative case, because it shows the location of something. It is also used with the preposition “auf” to indicate that you like something. In those examples, the preposition “auf” is used with the accusative case.

    Ich stehe in meinem Zimmer. – I am standing in my room.

    Stehst du auf starke Männer? – Do you like strong men?

    Meine Frau steht an der Haltestelle. – My wife is standing at the bus stop.

    Mein Mann steht neben mir. – My husband is standing next to me.

    Das Salz steht schon auf dem Tisch. – The salt is already on teh table.

    Wir stehen auf gute Bücher. – We like good books.

    Warum steht ihr noch hier? – Why are you still standing here?

    Die Tassen stehen auf dem Schalter. – The cups are standing on the counter.

    In the #17 spot we have the verb “finden”, which means “to find”. It can also be used to mean “to think of”. It sounds a bit old fashioned if one formulates a sentence like this in English, but it can be done. For example: I find you boring. Most people would just say “I think you are boring.”

    Ich finde meine Schuhe immer, wo mein Hund sie gelassen hat. – I always find my shoes where my dog left them.

    Findest du diesen Film besser als das Buch? – Do you think this film is better than the book?

    Der Kritiker findet alles schlecht. – The critic thinks everything is bad.

    Die Frau findet nur eine Socke in der Waschmaschine. – The woman only finds one sock in the washing machine.

    Das Kind findet den Ball. – The child finds the ball.

    Wir finden den Flugsteig neben dem anderen Flugsteig. – We find the (flight) gate next to the other (flight) gate.

    Wie findet ihr Herr Antrims neue Webseite? – What do you think of Mr. Antrim’s new website?

    Die Schüler finden Herrn Antrim langweilig. – The students think Mr. Antrim is boring.

    Next up is “bleiben” in place #18. This verb means “to remain” or “to stay”. It can be used with a variety of adverbs to explain how one is staying (e.g. awake, loyal, etc.).

    Ich bleibe bis Mitternacht wach. – I am staying up until midnight.

    Bleibst du mir immer treu? – Will you always remain loyal to me?

    Der Mann bleibt im Auto. – The man stays in the car.

    Die Lehrerin bleibt in ihrem Klassenzimmer. – The teacher stays in her classroom.

    Das Fenster bleibt offen. – The window is staying open.

    Meine Frau und ich bleiben für immer jung. – My wife and I will remain young forever.

    Bleibt ihr im Schwimmbad? – Are you staying in the pool?

    Die Kinder bleiben im Park. – The children are staying in the park.

    The #19 most used German verb is “liegen” (to lie). This verb is also used to illustrate the two-way prepositions (Wechselpräpositionen). This verb has a very close relative in the verb “legen”, which means “to lay”. This is a problem for English speakers who don’t pay attention to the difference in English. These two verbs are used very differently. The verb “liegen” cannot be used with a direct object, but “legen” has to be used with a direct object. When used with one of the two-way prepositions “liegen” will take the dative case, but “legen” will use the accusative case.

    Ich liege auf dem Sofa. – I am lying on the sofa.

    Liegst du auf dem Fußboden? – Are you lying on the floor?

    Der Teller liegt auf dem Tisch. – The plate lies on the table.

    Die Serviette liegt auf dem Tisch. – The napkin lies on the table.

    Das Buch liegt auf dem Bett. – The book is lying on the bed.

    Mein Hund und ich liegen auf dem Teppich. – My dog and I are lying on the rug/carpet.

    Warum liegt ihr auf dem Dach? – Why are you lying on the roof?

    Die Münzen liegen auf dem Grund. – The coins are lying on the ground.

    The last one on our list for today is the verb “heißen” (to mean, be called) in place #20. This verb is one of the first verbs that a lot of German learners memorize, because it is used when asking for someone’s name and for answering the same question. It can also be used to indicate the meaning of something.

    Ich heiße Herr Antrim. – I am Mr. Antrim.

    Wie heißt du? – What is your name?

    Er heißt Bob. – He is Bob.

    Sie heißt Sophia. – She is Sophia.

    Das heißt, dass er nicht mehr hier ist. – That means that he isn’t here anymore.

    Wir heißen Bob und Sophia. – We are Bob and Sophia.

    Wie heißt ihr? – What are your names?

    Die Kinder heißen Sophia und Jojo. – The children are called Sophia and Jojo.

    If you want a copy of these verbs conjugated in the present tense, you can find a PDF file here.

    What’s next?

    I will be talking about the 21-30 most used German verbs on the list from The German Professor in two weeks. Next week’s Wednesday video and blog will be about the song “Was wäre wenn” by Thomas Godoj.

    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.