CONJUGATING REGULAR VERBS Edit
Verb conjugation in German is more challenging than in English. To conjugate a regular verb in the present tense, identify the invariant stem of the verb and add the ending corresponding to any of the grammatical persons, which you can simply memorize:
machen (to do/make):
|English person||ending||German example||I||-e||ich mache|
|you (singular informal)||-st||du machst|
|you (plural informal)||-t||ihr macht|
|you (formal)||-en||Sie machen|
Notice that the 1st and the 3rd person plural have the same ending as "you (formal)."
NO CONTINUOUS ASPECT Edit
In German, there's no continuous aspect, i.e. there are no separate forms for "I drink" and "I am drinking". There's only one form: Ich trinke.
There's no such thing as Ich bin trinke or Ich bin trinken!
When translating into English, how can I tell whether to use the simple (I drink) or the continuous form (I am drinking)?
Unless the context suggests otherwise, either form should be accepted.
HOW DO YOU LIKE THINGS IN GERMAN? Edit
Use the verb mögen to express that you like something or someone, and use the adverb gern(e) to express that you like doing something.
mögen is used for things, animals, and people: Edit
Ich mag Bier (I like beer)
Sie mag Katzen (She likes cats)
Wir mögen dich (We like you)
Ihr mögt Bücher (You like books)
mögen is conjugated irregularly:
|I like||ich mag||you (singular informal) like||du magst|
|he/she/it likes||er/sie/es mag|
|we like||wir mögen|
|you (plural informal) like||ihr mögt|
|you (formal) like||Sie mögen|
|they like||sie mögen|
gern(e) is used for verbs/activities: Edit
Ich trinke gern(e) Bier (I like to drink beer/I like drinking beer)
Er spielt gern(e) Fußball (He likes to play soccer/He likes playing soccer)
Wir lesen gern(e) Bücher (We like to read books/We like reading books)
Sie schreibt gern(e) Briefe (She likes to write letters/She likes writing letters)
mögen cannot be followed by another verb.
(The subjunctive form (möchten) can be followed by a verb, but Ich möchte Fußball spielen translates as I would like to play soccer, not I like playing soccer.)
What's the difference between gern and gerne? They're just variations of the same word. There's no difference in terms of meaning or style. You can use whichever you like best.