Studieren Conjugation in German: Present & Past Tenses

Instructor: Jens Bargmann

Jens is a native German and has taught adults both in Germany and in the United States. He holds a doctorate in Philosophy/Ethics.

In this lesson, we will get to know the German verb ''studieren'' and conjugate it in the present and past tenses. For a student of foreign languages, this is an important verb to know.

Probieren Geht Über Studieren

The old German saying probieren geht über studieren can be loosely translated as ''Practical experience is more valuable than theoretical knowledge,'' or literally, ''trying goes above studying.'' While that may be true in some cases, in others it is not. To learn about any subject, studying is key, and if you want to do it in German, it is helpful to use the German word for studying, studieren.

Translation: It is fun to study foreign languages.

Studieren in the Present Tense

Let's look at the conjugation of studieren in the present tense active voice. This table helps us to find forms of studieren in the present time.

Subject Pronoun studieren Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
Ich studiere shtoo-DEE-rah I study
Du studierst shtoo-DEERST You study
Er/Sie/Es studiert shtoo-DEERT He/She/It studies
Wir studieren shtoo-DEE-ren We study
Ihr studiert shtoo-DEERT You (plural) study
Sie studieren shtoo-DEE-ren They study

Now, let's read a few sentences in which you might use studieren in the present tense.

  • Ich studiere Geschichte. (I study history.)
  • Was studierst du? (What do you study?)
  • Studiert ihr auch? (Do you study, too?)

Studieren in the Past Tense

The next table shows us the conjugation of studieren in the past tense. This is again in the active voice - different persons did the studying (not ''were studied'' - that would be the passive voice).

Subject Pronoun studieren Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
Ich studierte shtoo-DEER-tah I studied
Du studiertest shtoo-DEER-test You studied
Er/Sie/Es studierte shtoo-DEER-tah He/She/It studied
Wir studierten shtoo-DEER-ten We studied
Ihr studiertet shtoo-DEER-tet You (plural) studied
Sie studierten shtoo-DEER-ten They studied

Let's look at some example sentences using studieren in the past tense.

  • Als ich zwanzig Jahre alt war, studierte ich Philosophie. (When I was twenty years old, I studied philosophy.)
  • Er studierte auch. (He studied, too.)
  • Als wir in Hamburg lebten, studierten wir Medizin. (When we lived in Hamburg, we studied medicine.)

Example Conversation

Let's say you just started a student exchange program with the university in Kiel, Germany. You are sitting at dinner with your fellow exchange student Mary.

Translation: I study math. What do you study?

You: Hallo Mary! Seit wann studierst du hier? (Hello Mary! Since when do you study here?)

Mary: Ich studiere hier seit dem letzten Herbstsemester. (I study here since the last fall semester.)

You: Ich studiere Mathe. Was studierst du? (I study math. What do you study?)

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