werden: Another Super Verb

The verb „werden“ is a multi-tasker. It has a variety of uses, both on its own and in conjunction with other verbs.

All multi-tasking verbs seem to reserve the right to be irregular. They are important enough to be endearingly fickle. Here’s the conjugation of werden:

Conjugation of werden
ich werde wir werden
du wirst ihr werdet
er/sie es wird sie werden

Usage 1: On its own, werden means „to become„. There are also a number of idiomatic phrases in English, such as „I’m getting tired“, „he’s growing deaf“, „she’s getting angry“, „it’s turning cold“ and „she’s turning 21 tomorrow“ that can all be translated neatly with the German verb „werden“.

Usage 2: When used with the infinitive of another verb, „werden“ is the basis of the future tense in German. 

Usage 3: In a more complex grammatical form, werden can be used with the past participle of another verb to create the passive voice. This is a more advanced usage that I shall tackle another time.

 

Usage 1: werden – to become – and other meanings

Ros at Sophie's 1st birthday party

Ich werde alt. Leider. – I’m getting old. Unfortunately.

tree silhouette at night

Es wird dunkel. – It’s getting dark.

milk chocolate

Wenn du zu viel Schokolade isst, wirst du schnell dick.

If you eat too much chocolate, you’ll quickly get fat.

triplets in sandpit a

 Morgen werden wir zwei.

Tomorrow we’re turning two.

annoyed-woman

 Die Frau wird zornig.

The woman is getting/ becoming angry.

reading-girl

Meine Schwester studiert an der Universität. Sie wird Lehrerin.

My sister is studying at the university. She’s going to be/become a teacher.

As these examples show, „werden“ can be used to translate a number of everyday expressions in English. „I’m getting tired“ can be translated: „Ich werde müde.“ To say that the weather is getting worse, you can use the sentence: „Das Wetter wird schlechter.“ 

A simple equation: werden + infinitive = future tense

When you use werden with an infinitive verb, you create the future tense

  • Der Hund wird den Mann beißen.
  • The dog will bite the man.
  • Auf der Party wird er seine neue Jeans tragen.
  • At the party he is going to wear his new jeans.
Usage 2: werden – constructing the future
book-textbook

 Ich werde dieses Buch bestimmt lesen.

I will definitely read that book.

tennis

 Wir werden viel Tennis spielen.

We’ll play lots of tennis.

disgusted

Das werde ich nicht tun. – I won’t do that.

forever-together

Sie braucht dringend neue Schuhe. Vielleicht wird sie in den Schulferien ein neues Paar kaufen

She urgently needs new shoes. Maybe she’ll buy some in the school holidays.

flying-plane-112799689812B3f

In den Schulferien fliegen wir nach Vietnam. Wir werden viel Spaß haben. Ich freue mich darauf.

In the school holidays we’re flying to Vietnam. We’ll have great fun. I’m looking forward to it.

sunset-331284559411eJub

Ich liebe dich. Ich werde dich immer lieben.

I love you. I will always love you.

(Urggh, this blog is getting all soppy.)

Activity: Now put your knowledge of werden to the test by playing this Kahoot. Before you begin, memorise the conjugation at the top of this post. You’ll need it, not just for this Kahoot, but for all your future German.

If you are playing alone, you will need to create a free account at https://getkahoot.com/ .

      Screenshot of Kahoot

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.46.40 am
Game-Pin 30192

 

 •Play alone with the PREVIEW version (if you have only one device and no friends – sob!)

 •Play in class with the normal version (if you have a computer and several friends/classmates/devices)

Be careful! Playing Kahoots can be a little bit addictive. But you won’t regret it. 

Sei vorsichtig! Kahoot-Spielen kann süchtig machen! Aber du wirst es nicht bereuen.

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