15.3.2 How do I know how to form the perfect participle?

That's a tricky question. Actually you don't know. Therefore you always find the verb tables where you are offered the different stem-forms
infinite of the verb, (3rd person singular in present tense), 3rd person imperfect and perfect participle.
They are meant to be learnt by heart, and then you'll find also the other forms easily. Nevertheless there might be some help in the following


If you don't know the imperfect, you don't know whether it's a strong or a weak verb.
Example
  schwimmen = to swim  
  There are two possibilities to say he swam.*  
  Er schwimmte or Er schwamm  
* here you see (probably not for the first time) that the English perfect participle gives often (but by far not always) a good hint on the right solution.

The right form is Er schwamm. With this we know that it's a strong verb with changes in the vowel. Most strong verbs have changes of vowel in all the forms. We still don't actually know which one will be the right vowel in the perfect participle. It is geschwommen.

to swim    
  schwimmen - schwamm - geschwommen    
  ich schwamm
du schwammst
er schwamm
wir schwammen
ihr schwammt
sie schwammen
  This verb has the change in the vowel only in imperfect (the present forms ich schwimme, du schwimmst, er schwimmt, wir schwimmen, ihr schwimmt, sie schwimmen is not effected)

to open    
  öffnen = öffnete = geöffnet  
  ich öffnete
du öffnetest
er öffnete
wir öffneten
ihr öffnetet
sie öffneten
  This verb has no change in the vowel in imperfect; it is a weak verb. So we know the perfect participle will most likely not have a change in the vowel.

to drive    
  fahren = fuhr = gefahren  
  ich fuhr
du fuhrst
er/sie/es fuhr
wir fuhren
ihr fuhrt
sie fuhren
  This verb has a change in the vowel in imperfect and seems to be a strong verb; still there is no change in the vowel in participle perfect. s... happens.

to write    
  schreiben = schrieb = geschrieben  
  ich schrieb
du schriebst
er/sie/es schrieb
wir schrieben
ihr schriebt
sie schrieben
  This verb has a change in the vowel in imperfect; this means it is a strong verb and it also has (even the same) change in the perfect participle.

to bring    
  bringen = brachte = gebracht    
  ich brachte
du brachtest
er/sie/es brachte
wir brachten
ihr brachtet
sie brachten
  This verb has a change in the vowel in imperfect; this means it is a strong verb and it also has (even the same) change in the perfect participle.

As you see there are lots of different possibilities. So I'd suggest to become good friend with your verb table.





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