Stellen Conjugation in German

Instructor: Sandra Salajic

Sandra has a master's degree in teaching German. She has taught middle and high school German, and worked on different on- and offline courses with kids and adults.

In today's lesson, we are going to talk about the verb ''stellen'' which means 'to put' or 'to place.' We will learn how to conjugate the verb in the present tense and use it in different sentences and situations.

Let's Put It This Way

You want to put the book on the bookshelf, place the flowers on the table, or set the alarm clock? In all these situations you will need to use the verb stellen and know how to conjugate it.

The verb stellen (SHTEH-lehn) means 'to put,' 'to position,' 'to place' or 'to set.' It is a regular verb and can be used in a lot of different situations. Let's first take a look at how to conjugate the verb in the present tense.

Conjugation of Stellen

Pronoun Conjugation Pronunciation Meaning
ich stelle eeh SHTEH-leh I put
du stellst doo SHTEHLST you put (singular)
er stellt ehr SHTEHLT he puts
sie stellt zee SHTEHLT she puts
es stellt ehs SHTEHLT it puts
wir stellen veer SHTEHL-ehn we put
ihr stellt eehr SHTEHLT you put (plural)
sie stellen zee SHTEHL-ehn they put
Sie stellen zee SHTEHL-ehn you put (singular and plural formal)

The verb stellen is a regular one. Regular verbs form the present tense by removing the infinitive ending -en and adding the present tense endings -e, -st, -t for singular and -en, -t and -en for plural.

The verb stellen will follow these exact rules when forming the present tense, so you shouldn't have any problems while building the present tense.

You should remember that the verb stellen will always be accompanied by the accusative after two-way prepositions (in, auf, neben, vor, ...).

Also be careful with the pronunciation of the verb stellen (STEH-lehn), because it is pronounced with a short first 'e.' If you pronounce it with a long first 'e' it sounds similar to another verb - stehlen - which means 'to steal!'

Translation: She puts the vase on the table.


Let's take a look at some of the meanings of the verb stellen and how to use it in different sentences:

'To put,' 'to place' or 'to position'

Most of the time, you will use the verb with the meaning 'to put' or 'to place' something somewhere, like in these sentences:

  • Meine Großmutter stellt das Buch zurück in ihr Regal. (My grandmother puts the book back on her shelf.)
  • Sein Vater stellt die Vase mit den Blumen auf den Tisch. (His father places the vase with the flowers on the table.)
  • Der Hausmeister stellt den Besen in den Schrank. (The janitor puts the broom in the closet.)

'To set'

You can also use it with the meaning 'to set' or 'set up,' like for example the alarm clock:

  • Er stellt jeden Tag die Uhr auf 8 Uhr. (He sets the alarm clock every day at 8 o'clock.)

'To pretend'

You can pretend or act like you are dumb, tired, sick or something else. In this situation, the verb stellen will be used with the reflexive pronoun sich:

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