die Verb-Endungen – Teil 2A

Howdy stranger!!! 🙂

In the last post I’ve talked about how to conjugate 99.999 % percent of all German verbs in present tense… and today we are going to deal with the remaining 0.001%. This post is divided in 2 parts:

Teil 2A – The 3 German Verbs for “to know”

Teil 2B – Modal Verbs

The 3 German Verbs for “to know”

Yes, there really are 3 German verbs that can be translated as “to know” in English!!! The two main German verbs that mean “to know” are ,,kennen” (“to know a person, be familiar with”) and ,,wissen” (“to know a fact, know when/how”). A third verb, ,,können“, is a modal verb that express the idea of knowing how to do something. Often such sentences can also be translated using “can” or “is able to”.


Knowing PEOPLE or being familiar with things.


Possible ‘thing’ objects of kennen:
Ich kenne… das Buch, den Film, das Lied, die Gruppe, den Schauspieler, die Stadt, usw.
I know (am familiar with)… the book, the movie, the song, the group, the actor, the city, etc.

Sample sentences:

Ich kenne ihn nur vom Ansehen. I only know him by sight.
Sie kennt mich nur dem Namen nach. She only knows me by name.
Ich kenne Anna schon seit Jahren. I’ve known Anna for years.
Kennst du ihn/sie? Do you know him/her?
Den Film kenne ich nicht. I don’t know that film.


Das kenne ich schon. I’ve heard that (all/one) before.
Das kennen wir hier nicht. We don’t put up with that here.
Sie kennen keine Armut. They don’t have/know any poverty.
Ich kenne mich hier nicht aus.1 I don’t know my way around here.
Wir lernten uns in Berlin kennen.2 We met in Berlin.
1 sich auskennen = to know one’s way around
2 kennen lernen = to become acquainted, get to know


Knowing information, FACTS.


Although it is not a modal verb, the conjugation of the irregular verb wissen follows the same pattern as the modal verbs.

Often used with interrogatives: wann, wie, wo, warum, usw.

Sample sentences:

Wer weiß? Who knows?
Ich weiß, wo er ist. I know where he is.
Wissen Sie, wie spät es ist? Do you know (have) the time?
Ich weiß (es) nicht. I don’t know.
Weißt du, wann der Zug abfährt? Do you know when the train is departing?


Sie weiß immer alles besser. She always knows better.
Was ich nicht weiß, macht mich nicht heiß. What I don’t know won’t hurt me.
Ich weiß nichts davon. I don’t know anything about it.
Ich weiß Bescheid. I know about it. (I’ve been informed.)


knowing HOW to do something.


Usually used with languages, implying someone “can” speak, read, write and understand it. Otherwise limited to “can” or “to be able.”

Sample sentences:

Er kann schwimmen. He knows how to swim.
Können Sie Englisch? Do you know English?
Er kann Deutsch. He knows German.


Man kann nie wissen. You (just) never know.

Next time, I will talk about Modal Verbs in German.
Till then take care. 😉

One thought on “die Verb-Endungen – Teil 2A

  1. Pingback: die Verb-Endung – Teil 2B | Deutsch jeden Tag

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