501 German Verbs (100 Pages) | #8 | 2022 Centobibliennial Reading

I want to log in the first 100 pages and finish the rest after posting this entry.


Basically, this is summary of 501 German verbs in all of their conjugated forms.

Henry Strutz

He was formerly an associate professor of Languages at the Southern University of New York (SUNY).


Usually the verbs in the perfect, past time, pluperfect, and future perfect time have the same +t or +n endings. That is important to keep in mind. Also, the imperfect and imperfect subjunctive are typically the same with few exceptions.

Another rule of thumb is noting how the +est and the +st endings completely defines the difference between 2nd person present indicative and 2nd person present subjunctive. There are also verbs with the i as the first vowel preceding the consonant found in the 2nd and 3rd person singular forms.

Historical Context

Strutz frequently uses examples from Goethe’s Faust, which is a seminal work of German literature. It did appear archaic, especially when it contrasted from what was on the conjugation table. Nonetheless, I did think that it was relevant to use Faust as a recurring example.


Unlike the Sterner and Bleiler book about German grammar, this book actually explained very clearly what differentiates weak and strong verbs. Basically, weak verbs deal with abstract actions that do not require any action on part of the verb itself, such as “to hope;” whereas strong verbs rely on physical action in which the verb itself is the participant, such as “to cut.”

Also, as mentioned in the Sterner and Bleiler book, there are umlauts used to differentiate between different conjugations. In this case, the umlaut is used to separate the pluperfect subjunctive from the pluperfect. They also tend to differentiate the present and present subjunctive from the imperfect subjunctive and imperfect. Sometimes, the umlaut can also completely change the meaning of a word, such as the word for “to muffle/smother” which has an umlaut. Remove the umlaut and the verb means “to steam/fume/reek.”

Also, they mentioned how there are reflexive verbs that require the “self” words. These apply to verbs that usually in English would be used in the past participle form, such “to dress” or “to wash.”

The verbs also make use of working words when getting into perfect, pluperfect, past time, and future time from. They either use “to have” or “to be.”

Another book that comes to mind is The Evolution of Grammar, in which discusses how common words or phrases get grammaticalizated into affixes. In this case, I was surprised to see that the German word for “please” is rooted in the German root “I request/beg.”

Connecting To The Previous Book

As for the German phrasebook, it definitely relates to it, especially in the ways of explaining how each conjugation works. In the case of the phrasebook, it was clearly for more simple speech and professional jargon, whereas this book gets into the complicated conjugations and nuances that the German language is capable of.

Writing Style

JürgenMatern. “Eden Project geodesic domes panorama.” Wikipedia. 12 August 2006. CC BY-SA 2.5.

The entire book leaves very little confusion behind, since the introduction descriptively explains what each conjugation means and how it relates to German grammar. I found this to be incredibly useful.

What I was confused by, however, was the point with the word “if” and the subjunctive case if there really is no need for both of them. Can they convey a particular nuance if used in the same sentence? Are they interchangeable? I did not get any answer to this.

Real-World Application

In the introduction of this book, Strutz pointed out how even the smallest grammatical infraction can make a world of difference. I do think that this is important for those who want to get into language-learning need to take into account.

Inspiration To Myself

The goal of this reading was not to study each of the words and their conjugations, rather to find the commonalities amongst them that makes learning the German language easy. It did help, since I can always rely on any consistencies that might exist in order to formulate authentic sentences without worrying about specifically unique conjugations. The worst case scenario would be that I would be corrected.

However, since I am aware that everything in the book is in the same detail, I decided to log in at 100 pages. I want to describe the commonalities that I see, before I can proceed with studying this book.


Rediscovery Recommendation

This book is definitely important for those who want to take the German language seriously.

Recommend This To…

  • Any advanced German language-learners as a reference book. I say this because there is the possibility that these proficient speakers need something to refresh their memories.


  • Bybee, Joan et al. “The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect, and Modality in the Languages of the World.” The University of Chicago Press. 1994.
  • German Business Phrase Book. Berlitz. 1996.
  • Stern, Guy and Everett F. Bleiler. “Essential German Grammar: All the Grammar Really Needed For Speech and Comprehension.” Reprinted Edition (2014). Dover Publications, Inc. 1961.
  • Strutz, Henry. “501 German verbs: Fully Conjugated in all the Tenses.” 3rd Edition. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 1998.

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