When do I use "geheiratet" and "verheiratet"?

When do I use geheiratet and verheiratet Cover NEW

"Geheiratet." Nein. "Verheiratet." Ich weiss es nicht!

I know how it goes, these two can be really tricky, however they are similar enough to English that you can learn a couple of associations to help you keep them apart in your mind.

Sometimes you simply need rote memorization, and sometimes you need a way of remembering which one is which. Sometimes this is an Eselsbrücke (a "donkey-bridge" or a mnemonic device), sometimes you need an association, and sometimes you need a picture in your mind.

Read on to learn a few techniques to tell "geheiratet" and "verheiratet" apart and keep them apart!

Zuerst: verheiratet

This *should* be the word you learn first and you can learn it in combination with other adjectives:

ledig - single   verheiratet - married
geschieden  - divorced      verwitwet - widowed

These words all describe one's relationship status, and often you learn these four words together when you're learning how to fill out a form. In speech or regular writing you might say or write sentences like this:

  • Ich bin ledig. Ich bin nicht verheiratet.
    • I am single. I am not married.
  • Ich bin seit drei Jahren verheiratet.
    • lit. I am married for three years. (I have been married for three years.)
  • Mein Bruder ist geschieden.
    • My brother is divorced.
  • Leider ist sie verwitwet.
    • Unfortunately she is widowed.

verheiratet + sein

It may be helpful for you to remember that verheiratet goes with the verb sein. That way you can clearly categorize it in your mind as an adjective because it always goes with the verb sein.

Use a picture to help you learn it better

1. Find a picture of a group of friends or simply gather several pictures of different friends together.

2. For each individual (or pair) say or write a sentence like:

  • Susi ist verheiratet. Susi ist seit drei Jahren verheiratet.
  • Johann ist verheiratet. Johann ist mit Anna verheiratet. Johann und Anna sind verheiratet.
  • Detlef ist ledig. Detlef ist nicht verheiratet.

Aber "geheiratet" ist anders.

N.B. If you find these two words confusing, I highly recommend that you wait to learn "geheiratet" until you learn the Perfekt (past tense) in German! If you haven't learned the Perfekt yet, simply wait until you get there. (It's OK not to learn everything all at once.)

"hat geheiratet"

You must use the helping verb "haben" in order to use "geheiratet," as this is part of the past tense. You are talking about the point in time in which someone got married.

  • Renata hat am Samstag geheiratet. Was für ein schönes Fest!
  • Jörg hat im Juli 2013 geheiratet. Das war vor sechs Jahren schon.
  • Meine Eltern haben in 1986 heimlich in Las Vegas geheiratet. Verrückt!

Use a picture to help you learn it better

Gather a photo or two (or four) and describe the photos! Write or say sentences like:

  • Das sind meine Eltern. Meine Eltern haben 1972 geheiratet. Das war in Italien.
  • Das sind meine Freunde Dagmar und Olaf. Sie haben letztes Jahr in Norwegen geheiratet. Die Hochzeit hat viel Spaß gemacht!
  • Das ist meine Tante. Sie hat nie geheiratet. Sie hat nur gearbeitet und jetzt ist sie pensioniert.


Verheiratet describes one's relationship status and can only be used with "sein."

Geheiratet is part of hat geheiratet and refers to a point in time in which someone/a couple of someones got married.

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