Sandra has a master's degree in teaching German. She has taught middle and high school German, and worked on different on- and offline courses with kids and adults.
The Verb Werden
If you have already been learning German for a while, you probably noticed the verb werden appearing everywhere. It's because this verb has many different meanings and functions. It is also an important part of building other tenses. It can be used as a Vollverb (main verb), for building the future and the passive tense in German.
Today, we will take a look at the verb in the past and future forms and how and when to use it correctly. So let's begin!
Werden in the Past Tense
We want to see how this verb werden behaves in the past tense. Let's take a look at all its forms in Präteritum:
|Sie||wurden||You became (singular formal)|
As you can see, the verb werden changes its stem in the past forms from 'e' into 'u' for all singular and plural pronouns. Besides that, the verb uses these additional endings in Präteritum: -e, -st, -t, -en, -t, -en.
Let's take a look at a few example sentences:
- Mein Bruder wurde Direktor seiner Firma letzte Woche. (My brother became director of his company last week.)
- Ich wurde Arzt. (I became a doctor.)
This form sounds a little formal and will mostly be used in stories or newspapers.
More often, you will see this verb used in a passive form in the past. That means that the subject is not doing something, but rather that something is happening to him. To form such a sentence, you will use the past form of the verb werden and the Partizip II (past participle) of another verb. For example:
- Das Haus wurde gebaut (The house was built.)
- Das Gedicht wurde von Goethe geschrieben. (The poem was written by Goethe.)
- Sie wurde geimpft. (She has been vaccinated.)
Werden in the Future Tense
When forming the Futur I in German, you will use the verb werden in the present tense plus the infinitive form of another verb.
In case you forgot, here is the verb werden in the present tense:
|Sie||werden||You become (singular formal)|
Watch out for the stem change in the second and third person singular (du, er, sie, es): werden - sie wird and the missing letter 'd' in the second person singular: du wirst.
Here, the verb werden will not necessarily mean 'to become,' but will be used as an auxiliary or helping verb. The other verb that comes in the infinitive will carry the meaning of the sentence.
Let's look at some examples:
- Ich werde das Mittagessen kochen. (I will cook the lunch.)
- Du wirst sehr viel Geld verdienen. (You will earn a lot of money.)
- Wir werden ein Auto kaufen. (We will buy a car.)
The other verb in the infinitive form will always come at the end of the sentence.
In case you were curious, it is also possible to use werden as the auxiliary verb and the main verb in the future form, but it will look a little silly and is rarely used.
Ich werde Arzt werden. (I will become a doctor.)
As you can see, this sentence sounds a little strange and has more werden than it actually needs.
In the past tense, werden changes its stem from 'e' into 'u' : werden - wir wurden. More often, you will use this verb in the passive form in the past, together with another verb in Partizip II: Das Haus wurde gebaut. (The house was built.)
In the future form, the verb will be used in the present tense as an auxiliary verb, together with another verb in the infinite form: Ich werde das Mittagessen kochen. (I will cook the lunch.)
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