The short “E” sound in German is almost identical to the short “E” in English as used in words like every, pen, and met. In addition to the normal rule of using the short “E” before multiple consonants, you also use the short “E” when it is the non-stressed syllable at the end of a word. This most commonly occurs in German verbs. The long “E” sound in German is most closely related to the long “A” sound in English. Just be careful that you don’t add that “W” or “Y” sound to the end of the vowel like English speakers often do. 

Short “E” Examples 

Preceding Multiple Consonants:

das Wetter [ˈvɛtɐ] - weather 

besser [ˈbɛsɐ] - better

essen [ˈɛsn̩] - to eat 

die Beere [ˈbeːʀə] - berry 

Long “E” Examples

Preceding a Single Consonant:

der Weg [veːk] - way, path 

beten [ˈbeːtn̩] - to pray 

sehen [ˈzeːən] - to see

Double “E”:

der See [zeː] - lake 

das Meer [meːɐ̯] - sea, ocean 

die Beere [ˈbeːʀə] - berry 

Preceding the Letter “H”:

sehr [zeːɐ̯] - very 

stehen [ˈʃteːən] - to stand 

gehen [ˈɡeːən] - to go 

Complete and Continue