A Test, Ducks & Conjugation


A Test, Ducks & Conjugation

I wanted to run this by German language educators and learners and get your thoughts. (See below.)

As I was looking for a Eselsbrücke (donkey bridge), to help German students with present tense, regular verb conjugation.

  • Note: Eselsbrücke (“donkey bridge”) is the German word that refers to any mnemonic device or phrase that is used to remember facts or information. 

Despite receiving a healthy amount of input, I notice that (some) of my students need – and ask for – a little more support to fully get the endings. So, I came up with this “verb chart” to help facilitate the learning process. (I essentially moved the pronouns around from the standard order.)

E ich
ST du

EN wir
T ihr
EN sie-they / Sie-formal “you”

Here are my thoughts:

  • T-E-ST = singular pronouns (& the word “test” is a singular noun)
  • EN-T-EN (German word for ducks = Enten) = plural pronouns (& the word “Enten” (ducks) is a plural noun.
  • Plus, it allows me to tell my students that conjugation in German is nothing more than “a test and ducks“.

Note: I try not to convolute grammar too much. So, I incorporate “pop up” grammar when it is appropriate. For example, if we are reading something and we come across this sentence – Er schwimmt gern. – I may ask something quick and simple like: “Why is there a “t” at the end of the verb schwimmt?”

However, here are some things you could say with the above “chart” to help build a Eselsbrücke (donkey bridge):

  • I am icky. (ich-e)
  • You are dust. (du-st)
  • To help with the order of the plural pronouns:
    • We are the head of the duck. (wir – en)
    • You (all) are the middle of the duck. (ihr – t)
    • They are the feet of the duck. (sie – en)

German Language Educators and Learners: Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Do you think it is helpful in this order?
  • Or, do you think it is not helpful, as students will most likely encounter the “standard verb chart order” more often as they move through their studies with different educators?
  • Any other thoughts / comments?



  1. Jennifer Paul on February 28, 2024 at 1:22 am

    I never thought to rearrange the pronouns. That order has always been such a constant for my learning. But I kind of like Test Enten. I like to offer different ways for the kids to think about things, so maybe I’ll try it. I use ich-e dust. Like icky dust and the kids like that.

  2. Eric Richards on February 28, 2024 at 1:43 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and commenting! I appreciate it!

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