The preterite is only used regularly in written German (For example: In novels or stories), although is it more common in northern Germany than in the south.
For an action in the past, there are basically 2 options in German, the "Präteritum" and the Perfekt. The "Präteritum" is used:
It is formed in the following way for regular verbs:
Just like with the present indicative, if the verb stem ends in:
➜ An "–e-" is addd between the stem and the ending.
Er lebte in Spanien
He lived in Spain
Sie malte das Bild
She painted the picture
Many verbs are irregular and they do not follow the rule that was explained previously. As an example, we can look at the verb sehen (to see) where the "Präteritum" is conjugated like this:
Endings are the same for regular or irregular verbs, what changes is the stem when the Präteritum is formed.
This link shows the most important German irregular verbs and their corresponding "Präteritum".
The structure of the passive voice in the "Präteritum" consists of:
If the clause in the active voice is:
He read a book
Er las ein Buch
The equivalent clause in the passive voice would be:
A book was read by him
Ein Buch wurde von ihm gelesen
More information about the passive voice
For this lesson, we’ve chosen a precious Christmas song “Stille Nacht” (Christmas Eve), interpreted by the spectacular Greek artist Nana Mouscouri.