Fahren Conjugation in German

Instructor: Penelope Heinigk

Penelope holds a doctorate degree in German and a professional teaching license in the state of Colorado. She has taught middle school through university, online and live.

In this lesson we will learn the conjugation for 'fahren', which is the German verb for 'to drive,' as well as some nouns and verbs that contain drive. We'll also explore a little bit about German driving culture.

Fahren (to Drive)

Germans take their cars fast and serious. Fahrvergnügen is, after all, a real word meaning 'driving pleasure.' A German driver's license costs over $2000 and requires a minimum of 25-45 hours of professional instruction plus 12 hours of theory. For good reason! While it is a myth that you can drive as fast as you want on any German highway, the Autobahn does still have several stretches with an unrestricted speed limit. If you are driving more slowly, you better stay out of the left lane, or you will likely find someone close on your bumper flashing their lights.

Now that you have a taste of the German driving culture, let's learn how to conjugate the verb fahren (to drive) in the present tense.

Conjugation: Present Tense

Fahren is a stem-vowel changing verb. In the second (du) and third (er/sie/es) forms, the vowel a changes to ä. Notice how the umlaut also changes the vowel's pronunciation.

Pronoun Conjugation Pronunciation Meaning
ich fahre ish FAHR-uh I drive
du fährst doo fairst you drive (singular, familiar)
er fährt air fairt he drives
sie fährt zee fairt she drives
es fährt es fairt it drives
wir fahren vear FAHR-in we drive
ihr fahrt ear fahrt you drive (plural, familiar)
sie fahren zee FAHR-in they drive
Sie fahren zee FAHR-in you drive (singular and plural, formal)

Translation: Where are you driving?
driving

Examples

  • Er fährt immer zu schnell. (He always drives too fast.)
  • Wir fahren nach Berlin. (We are driving to Berlin.)
  • Fahren Sie gern? (Do you like to drive?)
  • Wann fährst du nach Hause? (When you are going home?)

In this last example, fahren is used to mean going, but it is implied that the person will be going by car.

Words that Contain Fahren

As you become more familiar with the verb fahren, you'll learn to recognize its influence on other verbs and nouns. You can use fahren to unlock the meaning of these words along the way.

Verbs that Include Fahren

There are many verbs that include fahren. Here are a few:

erfahren (pronunciation: AIR-fahr-in): to learn, experience

fahradfahren (pronunciation: FAHR-rahd-FAHR-in): to ride a bike

skifahren (pronunciation: SHEE-fahr-in): to ski

vorfahren (pronunciation: FOR-fahr-in): to drive ahead

bootfahren (pronunciation: BOAT-fahr-in): to drive a boat

sich verfahren (pronunciation: zeesh fair-FAHR-in): to get lost while driving

Translation: We like to drive on the highway.
BMW

Noun Forms

The noun form of fahren is Fahrt. Remember that all nouns in German are capitalized. Here are a few nouns that include Fahrt:

die Fahrt (pronunciation: fahrt): drive

die Ausfahrt (pronunciation: AUWS-fahrt): exit, such as from a highway

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