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Getting started with German 2
Getting started with German 2

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6.1 Checking verb forms in your dictionary

So far this week you have learned two irregular verbs essen and nehmen. These are very common ones, but of course there are others. So, how would you know whether a new verb you want to use is regular or irregular? Box 1 explains how you can use a dictionary to check not only the meaning of a word, but also some grammar.

Box 1 Using a dictionary to check verb forms

Many dictionaries indicate in the German–English section if a verb is irregular, for example by using the abbreviation unreg. (unregelmäßig).

This week you have come across the verbs essen and nehmen, which have irregular du (second person singular) and er/sie/es (third person singular) forms. You might already know some others such as fahren, schlafen, sprechen etc. In order to add more verbs to the list you need to find the pages in your dictionary that list irregular (sometimes described as ‘strong’) verbs. Dictionaries usually contain lists of irregular verbs which give the er/sie/es form and the du form.