Vowel changes in strong verbs

Some strong verbs take the same endings as weak verbs, but the spelling and the vowel sound change in the du and er/sie/es forms.

The rest of the verb does not change at all.

These changes are important, as they alter the way the word is pronounced.

Add i

Some verbs change the vowel sound by adding an i in the second and third person singular, eg lesen (to read) and sehen (to see).

lesen – to read

  • ich lese

but

  • du liest
  • er liest
  • sie liest
  • es liest

Add an umlaut

Some verbs change the vowel sound by adding an umlaut in the second and third person singular, eg fahren (to travel), tragen (to wear or carry) and waschen (to wash).

fahren – to travel

  • ich fahre

but

  • du fährst
  • er fährt
  • sie fährt
  • es fährt

Swap e for i

Some verbs change the vowel sound by swapping e for i in the second and third person singular, eg essen (to eat) and vergessen (to forget).

vergessen – to forget

  • ich vergesse

but

  • du vergisst
  • er vergisst
  • sie vergisst
  • es vergisst