Verbs: Active and Passive Voice
When we speak of verbs, one term we use is "voice." We speak of the "active voice" and the "passive voice."
When we use the active voice, the subject does the acting:
The dog bites the boy.
The subject (the dog) is doing the acting (biting).
Der Hund beißt den Jungen.
When we use the passive voice, the subject is passive; that is, the subject is receiving the action:
The boy is being bitten by the dog.
The subject (the boy) is receiving the action (biting).
Der Junge wird von dem Hund gebissen.
When we speak of verbs, we use the term "person." We speak of first, second, and third person singular and plural.
|first person||I — ich||we — wir|
|second person||you — du||you — ihr|
|third person||he — er|
she — sie
it — er, es, sie
|they — sie|
Remember that the second person formal takes the same form as third person plural; just capitalize the words (you — Sie).
When we speak of verbs, we use the term "tense." We speak of present, past (imperfect), present perfect, past perfect, future, and future perfect.
We can use all persons and all tenses in both active and passive voice. The examples that follow are given in third person singular. Remember that the imperfect and present perfect are often interchangeable in German when they aren't in English.