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All About the Conjugation of the German Verb “Fahren”

Whether you’re planning a road trip or want to tell your German friends about your upcoming vacation, it’s likely you will need to use the German verb “fahren” (“to drive”, “to travel”, “to go”).

This entire blog post is dedicated to the conjugation of the verb “fahren”. Let’s have a look at how it works!

Just like the German verbs “sehen” or “gehen”, “fahren” is also a stem-changing verb.

This means that the stem or the ending of the verb changes depending on the tense and the person carrying out the action.

With “fahren”, you will even encounter a couple of Umlaute.

Conjugation of the Verb “fahren” — Present Tense (Präsens)

When looking at the present tense conjugation of the verb “fahren”, you will see that the vowel “a” in the second person singular as well as in the third person singular is replaced by the Umlaut “ä”.

Singular

ich fahre I travel, drive, go
du fährst you travel, drive, go
er/sie/es fährt he/she/it travels, drives, goes

Plural

wir fahren we travel, drive, go
ihr fahrt you travel, drive, go
sie fahren they drive, travel, go

Examples:

Wir fahren morgen nach Berlin. — We’re driving to Berlin tomorrow.

Ich fahre am Montag in den Urlaub. — I’m going on vacation on Monday.

Ich dachte, du fährst nicht nach Weimar? — I thought you weren’t going to Weimar?

Fahrt ihr mit dem Zug nach München? — Are you guys taking the train to Munich?

Conjugation of the Verb “fahren” — Simple Past Tense (Imperfekt)

As explained in other posts explaining the conjugation of various German verbs, the simple past tense or Imperfekt is mostly used in formal and written language, and not so much in spoken language. The verb also changes a vowel in the simple past tense — from “fahren” to “fuhr”.

Singular

ich fuhr I traveled, drove, went
du fuhrst you traveled, drove, went
er/sie/es fuhr he/she/it traveled, drove, went

Plural

wir fuhren we traveled, drove, went
ihr fuhrt you traveled, drove, went
sie fuhren they traveled, drove, went

Examples:

Ich fuhr mit dem Zug nach Frankfurt und nahm dann ein Taxi. — I took the train to Frankfurt and then took a cab.

Sie fuhren am Freitag nach München. — They went to Munich on Friday. (Or: They drove to Munich on Friday.)

Er fuhr mit ihrem Auto. — He took her car. (Or: He drove her car.)

Wir fuhren mit ihrer Familie in den Urlaub. — We went on vacation with her family.

Conjugation of the Verb “fahren” — Present Perfect (Perfekt)

This is the more common form of describing an event in the past, especially when it comes to spoken language. Most Germans will choose to use the Perfekt instead of the Imperfekt.

In this tense, the prefix ge- is added to the standard form of the verb “fahren”. Other than that, the verb doesn’t change its stem or vowels.

Just like with some other German verbs, there is a “helping verb” that goes with “fahren” as well. In this case, it is the verb “sein” (to be).

Singular

ich bin gefahren I traveled / have traveled
du bist gefahren you traveled / have traveled
er/sie/es ist gefahren he/she/it traveled / has traveled

Plural

wir sind gefahren we traveled /have traveled
ihr seid gefahren you traveled / have traveled
sie sind gefahren they traveled / have traveled

Examples:

Ich bin am Sonntag nach Berlin gefahren. — I (have) traveled to Berlin on Sunday.

Bist du schon nach Hause gefahren? — Have you already gone home?

Wir sind mit einem Mietauto gefahren. — We traveled in a rental car.

Seid ihr schon gefahren? — Have you guys already left?

Conjugation of the Verb “fahren” — Past Perfect Tense (Plusquamperfekt)

The helping verb “sein” isn’t only used in the present perfect tense—it also appears in the Plusquamperfekt. On top of that, the prefix ge— is added here as well.

Singular

ich war gefahren I had traveled/driven/gone
du warst gefahren you had traveled/driven/gone
er/sie/es war gefahren he/she/it had traveled/driven/gone

Plural

wir waren gefahren we had traveled/driven/gone
ihr wart gefahren you had traveled/driven/gone
sie waren gefahren they had traveled/driven/gone

Examples:

Als die Kinder noch klein waren, waren sie oft nach Italien gefahren. — When the kids were still young, they had traveled to Italy a lot.

Ich war am Freitag mit dem Auto zur Arbeit gefahren. — I had traveled to work by car on Friday.

Er war mit seiner Frau in den Urlaub gefahren. — He had gone on vacation with his wife.

Ich dachte, sie war letzte Woche nach Berlin gefahren. — I thought she had traveled to Berlin last week.

Conjugation of the Verb “fahren” — Future Tense (Futur)

This tense uses the helping verb “werden” (to become). This tense is mostly used in written or formal language, since in spoken language most Germans choose to use the present tense to talk about events in the future.

So instead of saying “Ich werde morgen nach München fahren” (future tense), most people would probably say “Ich fahre morgen nach München” (present tense).

While the helping verb “werden” is conjugated here, the actual verb “fahren” doesn’t undergo any changes regardless of the person and number.

Singular

ich werde fahren I will travel/drive/go
du wirst fahren you will travel/drive/go
er/sie/es wird fahren he/she/it will travel/drive/go

Plural

wir werden fahren we will travel/drive/go
ihr werdet fahren you will travel/drive/go
sie werden fahren they will travel/drive/go

Examples:

Sie wird nicht mit uns dorthin fahren. — She will not go there with us.

Ich dachte, du wirst mit seinem Auto fahren? — I thought you would take his car?

Ihr werdet nächste Woche auf den Schulausflug gehen. — You guys will go on the school’s field trip next week.

Wir werden nicht mit dem Zug fahren. — We will not be taking the train.

Conjugation of the Verb “fahren” — Future Perfect Tense (Futur II)

The Futur II-tense describes an action that had taken place in the past but has been finalized.

Just as I have previously mentioned, this case is a bit of a rarity in German language. You might sometimes encounter it in written language, such as newspapers or books, but most people do not use it often in spoken language.

This conjugation uses two helping verbs – one is the verb “werden” (to become) and the other one is the verb “sein” (to be). While the verb “werden” is conjugated, the verb “sein” remains unchanged.

Next to that, the prefix ge- is added to the verb “fahren”.

I know it sounds very much confusing right now, but you will understand once you see the conjugation tables below.

Singular

ich werde gefahren sein I will have traveled/driven/gone
du wirst gefahren sein you will have traveled/driven/gone
er/sie/es wird gefahren sein he/she/it will have traveled/driven/gone

Plural

wir werden gefahren sein we will have traveled/driven/gone
ihr werdet gefahren sein you will have traveled/driven/gone
sie werden gefahren sein they will have traveled/driven/gone

Examples:

Bis dahin werdet ihr schon gefahren sein. — At this point, you will have already gone.

Am Freitag werde ich schon nach Stuttgart gefahren sein. — I will have already gone to Stuttgart on Friday.

Du wirst doch nicht schon gefahren sein? — You haven’t already started driving, have you?

Conjugation of the Verb “fahren” — Command Form (Imperativ)

Unlike the command form of other verbs, the Imperativ of the verb “fahren” is one you might encounter quite often — or use yourself, if you are a bit prone to road rage.

Fahr!Go, drive!

Fahrt!Go, drive! (Plural form)

I hope this guide has helped you wrap your head around conjugation of the German verb “fahren”.

As usual, you can test your knowledge below in the Clozemaster challenge — viel Erfolg!

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