A major part of my German language challenge with italki is to learn as many new German words as I can. I think I have been quite successful with that. But when learning new words, the engineer in me thinks it’s important to know the most used words first so you feel like you’re progressing faster. Knowing them will make you understand a lot of conversations easier and you can also use these words most of the time in day-to-day situations.

Pareto rule, folks.

In language learning this means that 80% of the words people use often make up 20% of the vocabulary of that language. So obviously it makes perfect sense to focus on knowing this 20% of words. Remember: you don’t need to know all the words to be fluent in a language.


Top 100 German Verbs

One of the first things you need to learn is any language is verbs. Here are the Top 100 German verbs that came from Randall Jones & Erwin Tschirner’s A Frequency Dictionary of German. Core Vocabulary for Learners, which lists the 4034 (!!!!) most commonly used words in German. These are the most commonly used German verbs.


1. sein to be
2. haben to have
3. werden to become
4. können can, to be able to
5. müssen must, to have to
6. sagen to say
7. machen to do, make
8. geben to give
9. kommen to come
10. sollen should, ought to
11. wollen to want
12. gehen to go
13. wissen to know
14. sehen to see
15. lassen to let, allow, have done
16. stehen to stand
17. finden to find
18. bleiben to stay, remain
19. liegen to lie, be lying
20. heißen to be called
21. denken to think
22. nehmen to take
23. tun to do
24. dürfen may, to be allowed
25. glauben to believe
26. halten to stop, hold
27. nennen to name, to call (a name)
28. mögen to like
29. zeigen to show
30. führen to lead
31. sprechen to speak
32. bringen to bring, take
33. leben to live
34. fahren to drive, ride, go
35. meinen to think, have an opinion
36. fragen to ask
37. kennen to know
38. gelten to be valid
39. stellen to place, set
40. spielen to play
41. arbeiten to work
42. brauchen to need
43. folgen to follow
44. lernen to learn
45. bestehen to exist, insist, pass (an exam)
46. verstehen to understand
47. setzen to set, put, place
48. bekommen to get, receive
49. beginnen to begin
50. erzählen to narrate, tell
51. versuchen to try, attempt
52. schreiben to write
53. laufen, to run
54. erklären to explain
55. entsprechen to correspond
56. sitzen to sit
57. ziehen to pull, move
58. scheinen to shine, seem, appear
59. fallen to fall
60. gehören to belong
61. entstehen to originate, develop
62. erhalten to receive
63. treffen to meet
64. suchen to search, look for 
65. legen to lay, put
66. vor·stellen to introduce, imagine
67. handeln to deal, trade
68. erreichen to achieve, reach
69. tragen to carry, wear
70. schaffen to manage, create
71. lesen to read
72. verlieren to lose
73. dar·stellen to depict, portray
74. erkennen to recognize, admit
75. entwickeln to develop
76. reden to talk
77. aus·sehen to appear, look (a certain way)
78. erscheinen to appear
79. bilden to form, educate
80. an·fangen to begin
81. erwarten to expect
82. wohnen to live
83. betreffen to affect, concern
84. warten to wait
85. vergehen to elapse; to decay
86. helfen to help
87. gewinnen to win
88. schließen to close
89. fühlen to feel
90. bieten to offer
91. interessieren to interest 
92. erinnern to remember
93. ergeben to result in
94. an·bieten to offer
95. studieren to study
96. verbinden to connect, link
97. an·sehen to look at, watch
98. fehlen to lack, be missing, be absent
99. bedeuten to mean
100. vergleichen to compare


If you’re learning a language, you can follow me at italki as well. Let me know if you have other fun German verbs I should know about! You can read about the rest of my painful progress learning German here.

All of me,

DJ Yabis is the poster boy of Dream Euro Trip and a modern day renaissance man. Originally from the Philippines, he loves throwing dinner parties and stalking rock stars in music festivals. Subscribe or follow his adventures LIVE on Facebook or Instagram. Learn how to plan your own eurotrip.

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