How to translate "-ing" gerund verbs to German

eg. "I began study-ing German two years ago"

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I would like to say

" I began studyING german 2 years ago". What is the best way to say it? The ING gerund in English conveys that one continued the practice and I am wondering what the equivalent in German is.

While I am on the topic of imperfect tense what is the best way to also say

"The German people and their values HAVE always fascinated me"


Jenny L
German does not have the equivalent of the progressive (ING) form.

Usually it's just translated with the present simple:

I'm reading a book. Ich lese ein Buch.
OR We're driving to Amsterdam next weekend. Wir fahren nächstes Wochenende nach Amsterdam.

If you're using the ING as a gerund (substantiviertes Verb):

I began studying 2 years ago. Ich habe vor 2 Jahren angefangen zu studieren.

I like reading. Ich lese gern.

There's another way to do it so that you're actually using the verb in the noun form, but it's 5:30 in the morning, I haven't had coffee yet and my brain hasn't turned on. I'm sure others can list better examples.

Edit: I guess here's an example where you have the verb as a noun in German:

Driving in winter isn't always easy. Das Autofahren im Winter ist nicht immer leicht.

Sorry, bad example I guess.
Owain Glyndwr
there are some slang/informal uses of German that translate as the ING verb form.

ie. Ich bin am fahren. or. Ich bin am lesen.

You might here this form more often in the Rheinland than in the south. I wouldn't recommend using it, especially in written German, but you will hear it.
For the continuous present or whatever it's called, I'd say: Ich lerne deutsch seit 2 Jahren.
Following OG's thoughts.. you could also say 'Ich bin seit 2 Jahren beim Lernen'. Not sure how to incorporate the 'deutsch' here though, as the word after beim should be capitalised, maybe 'Ich bin seit 2 Jahren beim Deutschlernen'?

This site is should answer all of your questions. I highly recommend it for understanding and learning German.

It's also a good resource for ESL/EFL instructors.
It seems rather old fashioned to suggest a book these days, but when I was at university, Hammer Grammar was the definitive work, and I certainly found it very useful.
I still have Hammer's Grammar at home, as well as the workbook, and I don't find it an easy guide at all; there are much better books out there for beginners.
I agree...hated that thing at Uni. I now have this one which I find much more user-friendly.
I'd say: Ich habe seit 2 Jahre studiert

whether thats acceptable or not I have no idea

but it's 5:30 in the morning
still got that crazy routine Wahnsinn
Ich habe vor 2 Jahren mit dem Deutsch Unterricht angefang?
Maybe the suggestions below might help

I began studyING german 2 years ago
Ich habe vor zwei Jahren angefangen, Deutsch zu lernen
Seit zwei Jahren lerne ich Deutsch

The German people and their values HAVE always fascinated me
Die Deutschen und ihre Werte (alternatively: Wertvorstellungen) haben mich schon immer fasziniert

If you want to express that you are doing something at this very moment, I would suggest to use an adverbial phrase, e.g. "Ich lese jetzt gerade ein Buch", "Ich bin gerade dabei, ein Buch zu lesen". I would not use forms like "Ich bin ein Buch am lesen" even in spoken language, as this is really bad German
Whereas 'ich bin beim Buchlesen' is fine.
maybe 'Ich bin seit 2 Jahren beim Deutschlernen'?
Deutschlernen is fine, but I would use "am" instead of "beim". "Beim" suggests you're attending at some physical place, but "am" has the additional meaning that one merely indulges in thoughts.
Thanks everyone for your inputs!

How would german approach "ing" when describing something in the past such as..

He was caught lyING on his CV.

She was seen surfING the net at work.
German Grammar doesn't use the gerund. When using the gerund as a nouns just translate it as the German infinitive (you can also do this in English):

I like eating pizza. Ich mag Pizza essen. I like (to eat) pizza.

For everything else combine together and use the equivalent form of the ing:

English simple + progressive = German simple.

I speak English + I am speaking English = Ich spreche Englisch.

English perfect + perfect progressive = German perfect.

I have spoken English + I have been speaking English = Ich have Englisch gesprocken.

So to answer your question you have to realise what you have.

He was caught lying on his CV. and She was seen surfing the net at work.

Both of these sentences are in the passive. They are actually passive sentences in the simple past.

So you would have to use the German passive construction to write these. But, as for the gerund, you would use it as the noun example above.

If however, you had a sentence that was using a gerund as a verb in the past you would use the equivalent German form (combined as mentioned above):

He was lying. in german is just 'He lied on his CV.' Er lügt an deinem Lebenslauf.

I will be flying to Frankfurt tomorrow. = I fly to frankfurt tomorrow. Ich fliege nach Frankfurt morgen.

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