The Verb Sein (Be)


In this lesson of the Learn German course, you'll learn the very common German verb sein which means be.

You'll also learn the German subject pronouns, as well as some some more useful German phrases used in everyday conversations.

Online flashcards and a quiz are included in this lesson to help you learn the German verb sein and the phrases included in this lesson.

The Verb Sein

The verb sein means to be, and is very irregular. The conjugation of the present tense of sein is shown in the following table.

sein to be
ich bin I am
du bist you are (one person familiar)
er ist he is
sie ist she is
es ist it is
wir sind we are
ihr seid you are (more than one person familiar)
Sie sind you are (polite)
sie sind they are

Notice that there are three different subject pronouns for you.

Du is the familiar singular form of you in German. It is used when adressing one friend, close family member, or child.

Ihr is the familiar plural form of you. It is used when talking to more than one friend, close family member, or children.

Sie is the polite version of you and is used to address any number of people. If unsure, this is the version that you should use. Notice that this is the same as the pronoun for both she and they. Sie is always capitalized when it means you.

German Phrases

Here are some more useful German phrases.

Sound Ja. Yes.
Sound Nein. No.
Sound Bitte. Please.
Sound Danke. Thanks.
Sound Wie geht's? How are you?
Sound Wie geht es Ihnen? (formal) How are you?
Sound Mir geht es gut, danke. (I'm) good, thanks.
Sound Entschuldigung. Excuse me.
Sound Ich verstehe. I understand.
Sound Ich verstehe nicht. I don't understand.


Here are some flashcards to help you learn the German verb sein, as well as the phrases included in this and the previous lesson.

Read German

Read the following conversation between Stefan, Lukas, and Hannah. Note that Lukas and Hannah use the polite version of you, since they have just met. Some people will use the informal version of you even if they have just met. To be safe you should use the polite version of you when talking to people you have just met.


Stefan und Hannah gehen zum Mittagessen in ein Restaurant. Unterwegs sehen sie Stefans Freund Lukas.

Stefan: Hallo Lukas. Wie geht's?

Lukas: Gut.

Stefan: Dies ist Hannah. Sie kommt aus Bremen.

Lukas: Freut mich Sie kennen zu lernen.

Hannah: Auch schön Sie kennen zu lernen. Haben Sie Hunger? Wir gehen zum Mittagessen.

Lukas: Ich habe Hunger, aber ich muss wieder arbeiten. Vielleicht sehen wir uns später.

Hannah: Tschüss.

Stefan: Lass uns gehen. Jonas ist schon da.


Stefan and Hannah are walking to a restaurant for lunch. On the way they see Stefan's friend Lukas.

Stefan: Hi Lukas. How's it going?

Lukas: Good.

Stefan: This is Hannah. She is from Bremen.

Lukas: Nice to meet you Hannah.

Hannah: Nice to meet you too. Are you hungry? We're going for lunch.

Lukas: I'm hungry, but I have to go back to work. Maybe I'll see you later.

Hannah: Bye.

Stefan: Let's go. Jonas is already there.


In this online quiz you'll practice the different forms of the present tense of the verb sein as well as the phrases included in this and the previous lesson.