https://www.duolingo.com/MatthieuPo19

" I was" + verb in german

I had some questions using the past tense in german. I wanted to say "I was eating," and ",ich habe gegessen" seems to be the main way to translate it, though translating it seems to be more of "I ate." Is it possible to say "Ich war gegessen"? I've never seen this before, so maybe the proper way of saying "I was eating" would be "Ich war essen"? Can we use this construction in german to make any verb a past tense to create "I was + verb." Thank you.

May 18, 2018

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/7hAu0bvY

you can say "Ich war essen" for "i was eating" but most people would understand that you ate out at a restaurant in this case.

now in german we do hardly use the "to be" verb with eating we mostly go with "to have" when it comes to eating.

german has different past tenses...

in spoken language the most common past tense is the Perfekt...

typical for the Perfekt is the word "habe" for "to have" and "bin" for "to be" (in1. person sing. for the other forms look at a conjugation table)

wich you already built correctly as:

" Ich habe gegessen." (i have eaten)

then there is the Präteritum wich is mainly used in written language. to build the Präteritum you need the past tense form of the verb.

essen in 1.person sing. past tense is "aß"

so the same sentence in Präteritum would be:

"Ich aß" (i ate)

then we are having the Plusquamperfekt. it shows that the event happened a loong time ago and it is also mainly used in written language (just like the Präteritum).

to form the Plusquamperfekt you need the word "hatte" for "to have" and "war" for "to be". (in1. person sing for the other forms look at a conjugation table)

so it would be:

"Ich hatte gegessen". (i had eaten)

now to the phrase "Ich war gegessen": it would implie that someone ate you ( ich war gegessen = i was eaten)

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthieuPo19

Thank you, do germans use the war+ infinitive structure or do they use the perfekt for "I was + verb"?

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/7hAu0bvY

i am not quite sure if i get what you were asking for right now...

Perfekt= pronoun+ habe* or bin + participle II of the verb

Präteritum= pronoun + past tense form of the verb

Plusquamperfekt= pronoun + hatte* or war + participle II of the verb

*just as before i only used 1 .person sing.

in order to say i was eating we usualy use the Perfekt with to have. since the verb essen in german mostly goes with to have and not with to be.

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthieuPo19

That answers my question, thank you.

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/sriajuda
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I wanted to say "I was eating," and ",ich habe gegessen" seems to be the main way to translate it, though translating it seems to be more of "I ate."<

The problem here is the English continuous form, which does not exist in German. You can use a circumscription:

"Ich war am Essen." or "Ich war dabei, zu essen." (BTW: "Essen in my first Example is not a proper noun, but the gerund of the verb "essen". This can be quite confusing, as "das Essen" also is the proper noun for "food")

Is it possible to say "Ich war gegessen"?<

Not really. If intended as a translation of "I was eaten" you'd rather say "Ich wurde gegessen." This is different with different verbs. It seems to me that the grammatical construction does not work when the sentence implies that you are not alive any more. Examples:

OK:

"Ich bin geschafft" - "I am done in" "Ich bin genervt" - "I am annoyed" "Ich bin geschlagen" - "I am beaten"

Bad:

"Ich bin gegessen." "Ich bin getötet"

May 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ahau.3
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I have eaten= Ich habe gegessen

I ate= Ich aß (fml)

I was eating= Ich war am Essen

I was eaten= Ich war gegessen lol

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/birgit72635
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I am sorry ahau, it isn't that easy. ;-))

I have eaten = ich habe gegessen, ich aß (the first one is used in spoken language, the second in written form)

I ate = ich habe gegessen, ich aß

I was eating = ich habe gegessen, ich aß and sometimes you could say: ich war am Essen (als das Telefon kliingelte )

I was eaten = ich wurde gegessen (hier you need the passive voice as you do in English)

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ahau.3
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Ok, thank you :)

May 20, 2018
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