The perfect tense is used to express things that have happened in the past in general. It is the most commonly used past tense in German.
It is used in letters, emails and spoken German.
It is used to describe something that you have done, but maybe do often and are likely to do again, eg:
This is different from the imperfect tense, which is used more often in written German for narratives and accounts of events, and to talk about one particular incident in the past, eg:
The perfect tense could be described as the most interesting of the German past tenses as, apart from the subject that always has to be used, there are two distinct parts to it. You also get to play with the word order.
The basic ingredients for the perfect tense are:
ich (SUBJECT) habe (AUXILIARY VERB) gelernt (PAST PARTICIPLE)
wir (SUBJECT) haben (AUXILIARY VERB) gewonnen (PAST PARTICIPLE)
der Junge (SUBJECT) ist (AUXILIARY VERB) gegangen (PAST PARTICIPLE)
For many years, the Brandenburger Tor was the main city gate separating East and West Berlin. However, since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the Brandenburg Gate has now come to represent freedom, German unity and European harmony.
The Brandenburger Tor is one of most iconic constructions in Germany and is recognised throughout the world. It is one of the most visited sites – Sehenswürdigkeiten – in Berlin.