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See also: Bräuchen



From Middle High German brūchen, from Old High German brūhhan, from Proto-West Germanic *brūkan (use, employ, consume). Cognate to English brook and Dutch bruiken.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbʁaʊ̯xən/, /ˈbʁaʊ̯xn̩/
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  • Hyphenation: brau‧chen


brauchen (weak, third-person singular present braucht, past tense brauchte, past participle gebraucht, past subjunctive (prescribed) brauchte or (always used in speech, common in writing) bräuchte, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive) to need, to be in need of, to require
    Ich brauche deine Hilfe.I need your help.
    Ich brauche nie lang.It never takes me long. (literally, “I never need long.”)
    Dafür brauchen wir dringend eine politische Lösung.For this, we urgently need a political solution.
  2. to need to, to have to (in negation or with the adverb nur (just, only))
    Du brauchst nicht auf mich (zu) warten.You don’t need to wait for me.
    Sie braucht mich nur an(zu)rufen.She just needs to call me.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Traditionally, brauchen has been a weak verb in standard German with a regular past subjunctive brauchte. However, the irregular form bräuchte has since found its way from the dialects into the standard. It is already the only common form in spoken German,[1] and is gradually becoming dominant in writing as well (although some grammars may still discourage this usage).
  • If the verb is used with another verb in the perfect or pluperfect tense, the infinitive replaces the past participle (ich hätte es nicht zu machen brauchen).
  • In colloquial German, the verb may be even further assimilated to modal verbs by taking a bare infinitive instead of a zu infinitive (du brauchst nicht schreien instead of standard du brauchst nicht zu schreien) and sometimes by taking an endingless third-person singular present (er brauch, instead of er braucht). Both of these are properties of modal verbs, cf. er soll gehen, er muss bleiben.
  • In archaic usage, in the sense of "to be in need of" or "to require", brauchen could take a genitive object instead of an accusative one.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]



From Middle High German brūchen, from Old High German brūhhan, from Proto-West Germanic *brūkan.

Cognate with German brauchen, Dutch bruiken, English brook, West Frisian brûke.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbʀæu̯χen/, [ˈbʀæˑʊ̯χən]


brauchen (third-person singular present braucht, past participle gebraucht, past subjunctive bräicht or bréicht, auxiliary verb hunn)

  1. to need


Irregular with past tense
infinitive brauchen
participle gebrauch
auxiliary hunn
conditional imperative
1st singular brauchen bräicht bréicht
2nd singular brauchs bräichts bréichts brauch
3rd singular braucht bräicht bréicht
1st plural brauchen bräichten bréichten
2nd plural braucht bräicht bréicht braucht
3rd plural brauchen bräichten bréichten
(n) or (nn) indicates the Eifeler Regel.