Sunday, 30 September 2007

The future tense & the verb werden

Hallo all,

It's been longer than I intended yet again, but I've finally managed to finish another episode of German GrammarPod. This episode is about the future tense and also about the verb werden in general.

The future tense is pretty simple in German. Most of the time you can just use the present tense form. But where this would be ambiguous, you add the verb werden (conjugated into one of its present tense forms) in the same way English adds the verb will to make the future tense.

also has another couple of important uses. When used as a main verb instead of an auxiliary verb, then it means to become or a related verb. It also has another use as an auxiliary verb: instead of the future, it can be used to create the passive.

Whether it's being used to form the future or the passive can be seen from the form of the main verb that's used with it. When it's used to mean the future, then the main verb will be in the infinitive. If it's a passive, then the main verb will be in the form of a past participle.

To listen to the podcast directly on your computer, click here.


Timothy said...

Hi there,

Listening to your podcast I heard you say you have a theory about irregular verbs... the more frequently used the more they stay irregular. You might like to read this research:

You're pretty much on the money :-)

Your podcasts are great!



Laura said...

Hi Timothy,

Thanks for that link - I liked it twice as much because the University of Reading was involved in the research and that's where I did my German degree :)


Bill said...

Thanks for this podcast which I've just caught up with. I've been learning and using German for many years, but you made sense of two things I have noticed but never heard said or seen written before:
1. The very common use of the present tense to indicate the future.
2. The distinction between the passive of action and the passive of state - I've always just treated the latter as if it were just 'to be' + adjective, but never quite felt happy with that.
I was also challenged by your notion that in some usages of English people don't use shall and will for the future tense. I look forward to future podcasts on the use of wollen and sollen and how these relate to will, shall, would and should.

Anonymous said...


I noticed that you didn't say one of the "werden" when you gave this example: "Es wird gesagt, dass wir alt werden werden." While the sentence with only one "werden" is still correct, the example with two "werden" is certainly more interesting.

I thought about using "werden" as a main verb in the passive but didn't find any examples. I think the closest thing to "werden" in passive are impersonal constructions such as "Es wird Zeit." (engl.: "It's getting time.")



Brightstar said...

Hi Germangrammarpod,
Have you stopped adding pods? What a pity. I find them very interesting.

I'm learning German on my own and I found the following blog of value to me.
Although it doesn't teach you how to be fluent in German it does help insides on nuances of the language assisting no natives to understand the background and application of language usage.

Laura said...

Hi Brightstar, I'm afraid haven't got any immediate plans to do more. I don't have much free time and when I do get some time I can spend on German GrammarPod, I'm currently devoting it to the video versions.