There are different categories of verbs in German. One of the rarer forms is verbs with the ending “-ieren”. After reading this article, you will know how these verbs behave and how you can use them correctly.


German verbs with “-ieren”

Most likely, you already got to know the classical German verbs. They usually end with “-en” like “schlafen”, “machen”, “singen”, “lernen” and so on. You can find a detailed explanation of how to conjugate German verbs here.

There are some things that you should keep in mind when it comes to German verbs that end with “-ieren”. First of all, I can tell you that most of the verbs that end with “-ieren” in German are words that are not “real German”. Hence, it might not be surprising that it is a typical suffix for verbs, which are loanwords from other languages, and it stands for a verb that we formed out of a noun or adjective. Therefore, you might understand these verbs without any problems most of the time, even though you meet them for the very first time.


Examples for verbs with -ieren

kopieren to copy
fotografieren to take photos
diskutieren to discuss
telefonieren to phone
operieren to operate / to make a surgery
animieren to encourage / to animate
servieren to serve
reparieren to repair


How to conjugate verbs with “-ieren”

It is not very complicated to conjugate this kind of verbs as the same rules apply that you already know from the general verbs.

Let’s use the verb “kopieren” as an example. To receive the verb stem, you need to remove the “-en” and therefore, you will receive “kopier-“. Now, you add usual endings to the stem:

ich studiere

du studierst

er/sie/es studiert

wir studieren

ihr studiert

sie studieren


The past tense 

Now, you might ask yourself what you need to do if you want to use these verbs in the past tense. Also this is not very complicated, as you will see in the following.


Präteritum (Simple Past)

Also, in simple past, these verbs do not have any crazy exceptions, and therefore, you can form the usual version.

ich kopierte

du kopiertest

er/sie/es kopierte

wir kopierten

ihr kopiertet

sie kopierten


Perfekt (Present Perfect Simple) and Plusquamperfekt (Past Perfect Simple)

Besides the fact that you need to choose whether to use “sein” or “haben” – which you need to do for all verbs – using the German verbs with “-ieren” in both times is very easy. They do not get any prefix but only the letter “t” as a suffix for all persons, as you can see in the following example.


Ich habe telefoniert

du hast telefoniert

er hat telefoniert

sie hat telefoniert

es hat telefoniert

wir haben telefoniert

ihr habt telefoniert

sie haben telefoniert


Not so complicated, or?

Now that you know how to use verbs with “-ieren” at all times, you can easily integrate them into your everyday German life.


Bis bald!



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