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Das Perfekt with sein

The German present perfect tense is mostly used in cases where we would use the simple past tense in English, although sometimes it has the same meaning in both languages. You likely know that it is most often formed with the auxiliary verb haben and the past participle of the main verb:



Und wir haben über die Themen Iran und, äh, auch den Nahen Osten gesprochen.

And we spoke about the topic of Iran and, uh, also the Middle East.

Caption 58, Angela Merkel - Gemeinsame Pressekonferenz mit Barack Obama

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However, with many verbs that either express movement or a change of state, a conjugation of sein is used as the auxiliary verb rather than haben


Für zwei Wochen bin ich durchs Land gereist.

For two weeks, I traveled across the country.

Caption 20, Grete - eine Freiwillige in Israel

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Ich bin nach Berlin gekommen, um ein Praktikum zu machen am Theater.

I came to Berlin to do an internship at the theater.

Caption 21, Fine - sucht eine Wohnung

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Hier ist auch alles gut, aber da ist etwas Komisches passiert.

Everything is also good here, but something strange has happened.

Caption 44, Das Lügenbüro - Die Bewerbung

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Um dreizehn Uhr dreißig:

At one-thirty p.m.,

Die Beatles sind aufgewacht, etwas früher als zu Hause.

the Beatles woke up, somewhat earlier than at home.

Caption 11, Die Beatles - in Deutschland

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What is quite tricky is that some verbs can be used with either sein or haben depending on the context, and may take on different meanings. The second sentence below implies that the person didn't just fly in a plane as a passenger, but was at the controls themselves.


Wir sind zum Mond geflogen

We flew to the moon

Caption 2, Christina Stürmer - Seite an Seite

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Hat vieles selber gebaut, was er geflogen hat.

He built a lot of that which he flew himself.

Caption 54, Lokalhelden - Mini-Airplane

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Further Learning

Learn the definitions and past participles of the following verbs, which also take sein rather than haben in the present perfect: gehen, laufen, einschlafenrennen, joggen, wandern, klettern, fallensteigen, fahrenreiten, umziehen, fliehen, gleiten, springen, kriechen, aufstehen, sinken, schleichen, eintreten, schwimmenrutschen. Once you learn the past participles, search for them on Yabla German to see them used with the auxiliary verb sein in context.

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