Conjugating “to be”

German Tutorial

Conjugating "to be"


One of the most important verbs in both English and German is the verb “to be.” In German, the unconjugated form of the verb is “sein”

Present Tense
I am-ich bin You are-du bist She/He/It is-sie/er/es ist We are-wir sind
You (pl.) are-ihr seid They are-sie sind You(formal) are- Sie sind

Sample Problem

1. ich bin/bist nett
2. sie sein/ist gross
3. Sie sind/bist klein
4. wir sein/sind fertig

*bonus: what does “Sie” mean in problem numbers 2 and 3


1. ich BIN nett
2. sie IST gross
3. Sie SIND klein
4. wir SIND fertig

In problem 3, “sie” refers to a single femal person. You can tell this for two reasons. One, the only conjugations of “to be” offered are “sein” and “ist”. In only extremely rare cases, do Germans use the word “sein” in it’s origional form, and never following sie. Since that onyl leaves you with “ist”, you know it has to be “she” because “they” is conjugated with “sind”
In problem 4, “Sie” means “you formal”. You know this because the “Sie” is capitalized, as it is always with “you formal” and not with “she” or “they”

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