When studying German, you will quickly encounter the verb “werden.” However, since it has different functions and meanings in German, students also promptly get confused. This article explains everything to you that you need to know!
How to use the German verb werden
Students are confused because you use the verb “werden” in German on different occasions. You can use “werden” as a proper verb for building the German Futur tenses and expressing something in a passive voice. In the following, we will discuss all three options.
1) “Werden” as the main verb
If you would like to express the verb “to become,” “to get,” and “to turn out” in German, you will have to use the verb “werden”. Especially for people whose first language is English, this is the first trap because of the similarity to the German verb “bekommen”. However, in German, “werden” means “to become” and “bekommen” means “to get” – so mind the false friends here because otherwise, the conversation might become very funny ;).
Recommended study materials on the topic:
- Overview – Partizip 2 of all verb forms
- Overview – Passive tense in German
- Mindmemo – poster all German times
- German self-study book for A1-B1 (incl. answers)
- A-Grammar: Practice German grammar (incl. answers)
The conjugation pattern of “werden”
“Werden” is an irregular verb and the “e” changes into an “i” for du, er, sie and es:
Präsens (present tense)
Präteritum (simple past)
Perfekt (present perfect)
ist … geworden
Präsens (present tense): Jana wird rot im Gesicht! (Jana gets red in the face!)
Präteritum (simple past): Vor 2 Jahren wurde Max Vater. (2 years ago Max became a father.)
Perfekt (present perfect): Ich bin letztes Jahr im Mai krank geworden. (I got sick in May last year.)
2.) “Werden” in German “Futur 1 & 2”
If you wish to form the German future tenses “Futur 1” and “Futur 2” you’ll also need the verb “werden” to express “will” or “going to”. Now, as like as in English, you will at least need another verb to express what will happen. Usually, the second verb goes to the end of a sentence in German, and the future tenses do not make any exception here. Additionally, the second and third verbs will be in the infinitive forms as we already have a verb conjugated according to the referring person.
- Ich werde am Dienstag um 18 Uhr ins Schwimmbad gehen.
- Meine Freude werden dieses Jahr zu Weihnachten nach Hause fahren.
- Die Kinder in der Schule werden morgen keine Hausaufgaben bekommen haben.
- Der Koch wird die Suppe um 18:00 Uhr fertig gekocht haben.
3.) “Werden” in German passive tense
If you wish to use the German passive tense, you’ll also need the verb “werden”. In a passive construction, the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the finite verb (the verb you adjusted). The German passive tense consists of “werden” and “Partizip 2” which you already know from the Perfekt tense. Also, here “werden” follows the conjugation pattern I mentioned at the beginning of this article. However, there is one exception: In passive “Perfekt,” it becomes “worden” and not “geworden”!
Ich koche am Montag leckere Nudelsuppe.
Präsens: Leckere Nudelsuppe wird am Montag (von mir) gekocht.
Präteritum: Leckere Nudelsuppe wurde am Montag (von mir) gekocht.
Perfekt: Leckere Nudelsuppe ist am Montag (von mir) gekocht worden.
The German verb “werden”
After reading this article, I hope you finally understand the verb “werden” and can use it accordingly. If you want to know more about the topic, check out the article “Werden”, “wurden”, “worden” or “würden”?
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