It is a common mistake many German students and Germans speaking English like to do: They hit the hey of false friends. As like as in real life, false friends guide you in the wrong direction, and the same applies to languages. After this article and the free worksheet, you will be a pro using “bekommen” and “werden”.
The issue of “bekommen” and “werden”
English and German share many similar verbs. Often, this leads to the assumption that a word which sounds identical has to have the same meaning. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and the two verbs “bekommen” and “werden” are the perfect example of this.
The meaning of the two verbs
“Bekommen” means “to get” and “werden” means “become” or “will” in the sense of future tense. Now, many people tend to use both verbs precisely the wrong way around. Consequently, they will say things like “Ich bekomme ein Student”. This sentence is false for two reasons: 1. It leads to the assumption that you get a student (like literally get one). 2. The verb “bekommen” is always followed by an Accusative case. Therefore, the sentence should be: “Ich werde (ein) Student”. In contrast, Germans like to say things like: “I become money” in English instead of “I get money” because they have the same assumption just the other way around.
As a result, mixing up these two verbs is mostly a reason for a misunderstanding or others laughing about you.
Examples for “bekommen” and “werden”
Bekommen – to get
We use this verb order to express that you got sth. for instance:
- Ich bekomme Geld. (I get money.)
- Er bekommt einen Anruf. (He gets a phone call.)
- Wir bekommen ein Geschenk. (We get a present.)
- werden – to become / will (future tense)
Werden – to become
We use this verb to express that your status changes as in “become”:
- Ich werde Vater. (I become father.)
- Wir werden Ärzte. (We become doctors.)
Besides, we also use this verb to express that something will happen in the future (remember this means that we need a second verb):
- Ich werde um 6 nach Hause kommen. (I will come home at 6.)
- Wir werden nächstes Jahr viel Urlaub haben. (We will have a lot of vacation next year.)
Now, after reading this article, you should know when to use which verb correctly. You can also practice your skills with this free worksheet “How to use “bekommen” und “werden” in German” – this way, you can avoid unpleasant misunderstandings and finally express what you want to say.
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