Past Participle in German - Partizip 2


In German, the past participle is called "Partizip 2" or "Partizip Perfekt". It is used as part of certain verb forms, but also as an adjective, an adverb, or a noun.

How to Form the Past Participle

Strong Verbs

For strong verbs, use the following rule:

ge + (often changed) verb stem + en


gehen - ge-gang-en (go - gone)

singen - ge-sung-en (sing - sung)

stehen - ge-stand-en (stand - stood)

Weak and Mixed Verbs

For weak and mixed verbs, use this rule:

ge + (often changed) verb stem + t


lachen - ge-lach-t (laugh - laughed)

bringen - ge-brach-t (bring - brought)

brauchen - ge-brauch-t (need - needed)

Weak and Mixed Verbs whose Verb Stem Ends with "-n", "-t" or "-d"

If the stem of a verb ends with "-n", "-t" or "-d", the "-t" becomes "-et". This is not the case for "-nn", or if two vowels (ei, eu, etc.) or an elongated vowel (äh, oh, etc.) precede the "n".

For these verbs, use the following rule:

"ge" + verb stem + "-et"


richten - ge-richt-et (direct - directed)

reden - ge-red-et (talk - talked)

segnen - ge-segn-et (bless - blessed)

Verbs with the Ending "-ieren"

For most verbs with the ending "-ieren" forming the past participle is very simple. You do not need the prefix "ge-".

This is how it works:

verb stem + "-t"


radieren - radier-t (erase - erased)

marinieren - marinier-t (marinade - marinaded)

rasieren - rasier-t (shave - shaved)

A Few Exceptions:

verlieren - verloren (lose - lost)
frieren - gefroren (freeze - frozen)

Verbs with a Prefix

To form the past participle of verbs with a prefix we need to distinguish between separable and inseparable verbs.

1) Separable Verbs with a Prefix

For separable verbs with a prefix, the past participle is formed as follows:

Prefix + ge + (sometimes changed) verb stem + -t


einkaufen - ein-ge-kauf-t (shop - shopped)

abholen - ab-ge-hol-t (pick up - picked up)

ausdenken - aus-ge-dach-t (make up - made up)

2) Inseparable Verbs with a Prefix

For inseparable verbs with a prefix, the past participle is formed as follows:

prefix + verb stem + -t


verehren - verehr-t (worship - worshipped)

bedeuten - bedeute-t (signify - signified))

erwarten - erwarte-t (expect - expected)

Unfortunately, there are exceptions in which the past participle is formed in a completely different way, but do not lose heart - learn them by heart instead. One by one!


beziehen - bezogen (put (clean sheets on the bed) - put (clean sheets on the bed))

erheben - erhoben (elevate - elevated)

geraten - geraten (turn out - turned out)

How to Use the Past Participle

Verb Forms

1) Present Perfect

The most common way to use the past participle is as part of the present perfect, a past tense Germans usually use when they talk about the past. To form the present perfect, we need to add the right form of "haben" (to have) or "sein" (to be).


auxiliary: sein, 1. person singular: bin
verb: gehen (go), past participle: gegangen (gone)

Gestern bin ich tanzen gegangen. - Yesterday I went dancing.

auxiliary: haben, 3. person singular: hat
verb: machen (do),past participle: gemacht (done)

Heute morgen hat Miriam Yoga gemacht. - This morning Miriam did some yoga.

2) Subjunctive 2

The past participle is also commonly used as part of the subjunctive 2. For this, we need to add the right form of "haben" or "sein" in the subjunctive mood.


auxiliary: sein, 1. person plural, subjunctive: wären
verb: fahren (drive), past participle: gefahren (driven)

Wir wären ja gerne schneller gefahren, aber es ging nicht. - We would have liked to drive faster but it was impossible.

auxiliary: haben, 2. person plural, subjunctive: hättet
verb: tanzen (dance), past participle: getanzt (danced)

Die Musik war so gut, ihr hättet bestimmt auch mitgetanzt. - The music was so good I bet you would have danced with us, too.

3) Passive Voice

The past participle is also used for the passive voice. In this case we need to add the right form of the auxiliary "werden".


auxiliary: werden, 3. person plural: wurden
Verb: ändern (change), past participle: geändert (changed)

Die Regeln wurden erneut geändert. - The rules have been changed again.

auxiliary: werden, 3. person singular: wurde
verb: kontrollieren (control) past participle: kontrolliert (controlled)

The mechanism was controlled by three switches. - Der Mechanismus wurde von drei Schaltern kontrolliert.

4) Future Tense 2

The future tense 2 also uses the past participle. (As it is an awkward form it is rarely used in reality, however.) First, the right form of the auxiliary "werden" is added, then the infinitive of "haben" or "sein" - depending on which of the two is used to form the present perfect tense of the verb.


1. auxiliary: werden, 2. person singular: wirst
2. auxiliary: sein, infinitive: sein
verb: erben (inherit)
past participle: geerbt (inherited)

Du wirst in 10 Jahren schon eine Million geerbt haben. - In 10 years you will have inherited one million (Euros).

1. auxiliary: werden, 3. Person Singular: wird
2. auxiliary: haben, infinitive: haben
verb: lesen
past participle: gelesen

Ende des ersten Studienjahres wird Alfred bereits 200 Fachbücher gelesen haben. - At the end of his first year at university, Alfred will have read 200 books about the subject.


The past participle can also be used as an adverb and describe other verbs, sentences, or adjectives. It always stays the same and is not subject to declension.


Die Schüler trugen gekonnt ihre Klavierstücke vor. - The students skillfully presented their tunes on the piano.
Frisch angekommen machte er sich sofort an die Arbeit. - Freshly arrived, he set to work at once.


If the past participle is used as an adjective - a word that describes nouns - it is subject to declension, just like the noun it describes.


Roderich lieferte ein gekonntes Bachpraeludium ab. - Roderich delivered a skillful Bach prelude.
Ihre pink gefärbten Haare flatterten im Abendwind. - Her pink-dyed hair fluttered in the evening breeze.
Sogar ein angemalter Haase sprang im Ostergarten umher. - Even a painted rabbit was hopping about the easter garden.


If the past participle is used as a noun it is subject to declension like any other noun.


Der Betrunkene erlitt keine Verletzungen. - The drunk did not suffer any injuries.
Ein Besessener kann sich nicht helfen. - The obsessed cannot help himself.
Wir sahen viele Tätowierte in der Bar. - We saw many tattooed (people) inside the bar.
Eine der frisch Geschminkten sah sich gerade im Spiegel an. - One of the freshly made-up (women) was looking at herself in the mirror.