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Tun 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 will talk about the verb 'tun' and how to conjugate it in the present tense. We will learn how to use it in different situations, phrases, and sentences.

The Verb Tun

You want to ask someone to do you a favor? You put your keys somewhere and can't find them? You have a lot of work to do today? In all these occasions, you will have to use the verb tun (pronunciation: toon).

Tun may be a small and silly verb, but its usage is very wide. It has a lot of different meanings, like 'to do,' 'to act,' or 'to put,' and you will stumble upon this little word often. That's why it's important to know how to use it correctly. So let's find that out in this lesson!

The Verb in the Present Tense

Tun is an irregular verb, but unlike a lot of other irregular verbs, it will not have a stem change in the present tense. There will only be slight changes in the standard endings to some plural subject pronouns. Let's see what that looks like:

Pronoun Conjugation Pronunciation Meaning
ich tue eeh TOO-eh I do
du tust doo toost you do (singular, informal)
er tut ehr toot he does
sie tut zee toot she does
es tut ehs toot it does
wir tun veer TOO-en we do
ihr tut eehr toot you all do (plural, informal)
sie tun zee TOO-en they do
Sie tun zee TOO-en you do (singular or plural, formal)

As you can see, the verb uses the standard present tense ending for singular subject pronouns (-e,-st,-t), but shortens them for the plural subject pronouns wir, sie, and Sie, by using the ending -n instead of -en. (The plural subject pronoun ihr is regular.) This happens because the stem is ending in a vowel and the 'e' in the ending before the 'n' becomes unnecessary.

You should also note that sometimes, you will stumble upon another form of the verb for the first person singular - ich tu.

Translation: What are you doing?
tun

Examples

As we already mentioned, the verb tun has a lot of different meanings. It will be used in different situations and sentences. Let's check out some of them:

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