Conjugation of Werden in German: Past & Future Tenses

Instructor: Sandra Salajic

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.

In this lesson, we will talk about the German verb 'werden' (to become, to turn into) and how to conjugate and use it in the past and future form. You will see examples of how to correctly use the verb alone or as part of different tenses.

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:

Pronoun Verb Meaning
ich wurde I became
du wurdest you became
er wurde he became
sie wurde she became
es wurde it became
wir wurden we became
ihr wurdet you became
sie wurden they became
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.)

Translation: The house was built.

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:

Pronoun Verb Meaning
ich werde I become
du wirst you become
er wird he becomes
sie wird she becomes
es wird it becomes
wir werden we become
ihr werdet you become
sie werden they become
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.

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