Werden Conjugation: Making Sense of the German Verb Werden (2023)

Werden Conjugation: Making Sense of the German Verb Werden (1)

Today we are going to talk about the conjugation and use of one of the most important (and irregular) German verbs, namely werden.

We all have plans, we all want to make some changes and often need to tell others what is going to happen or what happened in the past. If you want to speak German, you’ll probably find it difficult to go about your daily life without using the verbwerden.

While it’s true that the conjugation of werden is quite complex, with decent examples and some practice you’ll get the hang of it soon enough!

To make it easier for you, we’ll need to differentiate between the auxiliary verb werden and the full verb werden. If you need to refresh your memory, the difference between auxiliary and full verbs in German can be boiled down to two bullet points:

  • Auxiliary verbs are combined with full verbs.
  • Full verbs can be combined with adjectives or nouns.

As an auxiliary verb,werden can “help” other verbs express hypotheticals and events in the future, as well as form the passive.

When used as a full verb,werdenmeans “to become” or “to turn into”. Coupled with an adjective or a noun, it candescribe plans, changes, intentions, and conditions.

So let‘s get started!

1. GermanWerden as an Auxiliary Verb

The auxiliary verb werden works just like other auxiliary verbs such as “haben” (to have) and “sein” (to be). It is combined with a full verb and is used to:

  • express things that will happen in the future
  • form passive structures

To get a better idea of how it works, let’s look at the conjugation tables as well as a few examples for each tense of the auxiliary verb werden.

Present Tense (Präsens) Werden Conjugation

Despite its name, the German present tense can describe things that will happen in the future. So even though some of the examples with the verbwerden might seem to refer to the present, they actually express what lies ahead of us.



Nächstes Jahr werde ich zur Uni gehen.
Next year I will go to college.


Sie wird ihn nicht ansprechen.
She will not talk to him.


Du wirst gewinnen!
You are going to win!

The examples above only contain a single clause, in which werden precedes the full verb (gehen, ansprechen,gewinnen).

Unlike in English, the sentence structure will change once we create a complex sentence that contains a main clause and a subordinate clause (which can be combined with dass orso dass). In this case, the order of the two verbs shifts and werden goes after the full verb:

Ich strenge mich an, so dass ich nächste Jahr auf die Uni gehen werde.
I’m working hard to go to college next year.

Sie ist so schüchtern, dass sie ihn nicht ansprechen wird.
She is so shy that she won’t talk to him.

(Video) The Verb WERDEN in Detail & its Meanings | Vollverb, Hilfsverb, Passiv, Futur & Konjunktiv

Du bist so gut, dass du gewinnen wirst!
You are so good, therefore you are going to win!

Simple Past Tense (Präteritum)Werden Conjugation

The simple past or Präteritum is used to form the passive with the verb werden. Passive structures let us express what happened to us or somebody/something else. When we combine werden with a full verb to form the passive, the full verb will always appear in the present perfect.


Er wurde ständig beim Mittagessen gestört.
He always got interrupted during lunch.

Sie wurde von Ihrem Freund sitzen gelassen.
She got dumped by her boyfriend.

Die Katze wurde von dem Hund gejagt.
The cat got chased by the dog.

Once we start forming complex sentences, we see the same change of sentence structure as in the present tense:instead of preceding it,werden follows the full verb.

Er waren so viele Leute im Büro, dass er ständig beim Mittagessen gestört wurde.
There were so many people at the office that he always got interrupted during lunch.

Sie flirtete immer mit anderen, so dass sie von Ihrem Freund sitzen gelassen wurde.
She always flirted with other guys, therefore she got dumped by her boyfriend.

Die Katze stahl den Knochen, so dass sie von dem Hund gejagt wurde.
The cat stole the bone, therefore it got chased by the dog.

Conjunctive (Konjunktiv I)Werden Conjugation

If we want to express wishes, possibilities, conditions or unreal situations, the auxiliary verbwerden takes the conjunctive form. Here, it effectively translates to “would” in English.



Ich würde gerne eine Kreuzfahrt machen.
I would like to go on a cruise.

Sie würdegerne einen Abend mit Katie Perry verbringen.
She would love to spend an evening with Katie Perry.


Hätten wir genug Geld, würden wir uns das Haus kaufen.
If we had enough money, we would buy the house.

Ginge unser Auto kaputt, würden wir das Flugzeug nehmen.
If our car broke, we would take the plane.


Es würde mich sehr traurig machen, wenn du gingst.
It would make me really sad if you left.

Es würde mich freuen, wenn alle zu meiner Feier kämen.
I would be happy if everybody came to my birthday party.


Einen solchen kurzen Rock würde sie niemals anziehen.
She would never wear such a short skirt.

(Video) Working with the German verb werden - www.germanforspalding.org

Sie würde ihre Kinder nie alleine zu Hauselassen.
She would never leave her kids alone at home.


Ich würde den Tiger nicht füttern.
I would not feed the tiger.

Sie würden das Geld nicht in den Aktienfond investieren.
They would not invest in this fund.


Hätte der Elefant Flügel, würde er fliegen.
If the elephant had wings, it would fly.

Hättet ihr den Führerschein, würdet ihr jetzt fahren.
If you had your driver’s license, you would drive now.

Many sentences above involving conditional structures can be translated with an if-clause (if …,then…). This is especially common when talking about possiblities, emotions, and actions.

2. German Werden as a Full Verb

On top of the auxiliary verb, we also have the full verb werden which appears in combination with an adjective or a noun. In English, we usually say “to become sth” or “to turn into sth” to express the same thing.

Depending on the tense, the full verb werden is used to talk about changes, plans, intentions and emotions.

Present Tense (Präsens)Werden Conjugation

Just like the auxiliarywerden, the full verbwerden in the present tense can be used both to talk about the present and the future.



Wenn ich groß bin, werde ich Feuerwehrmann.
When I grow up, I’m going to be a fireman.


Changes of condition:

Maria wird immer rot, wenn sie an ihren Liebsten denkt.
Maria always blushes when thinking of her sweetheart.

Changes in life:

Markus wird heute arbeitslos.
Starting today, Markus will be unemployed.


Vor jeder Prüfung wird sie sehr aufgeregt.
She gets excited before each exam.

Simple Past Tense (Präteritum)Werden Conjugation



(Video) Intermediate German #46: Everything You Need to Know About Werden

Changes of condition:

Der Himmel wurde dunkel.
The sky became dark.

Changes in life:

John wurde Vater.
John became a father.


Er wurde wütend, als sie sein Angebote ablehnte.
He got angry when she rejected his offer.

Perfect Tense (Perfekt)Werden Conjugation

Ichbin geworden
Dubist geworden
Er/Sie/Esist geworden
Wirsind geworden
Ihrseit geworden
Siesind geworden

Realization of plans/intentions:

Als ich groß war, bin ich Feuerwehrmann geworden.
When I grew up, I became a fireman.


Changes of condition:

Der Teig ist nach dem Backen ganz schön groß geworden.
The dough grew really big after baking.

Changes in life:

Die Nachbarn sind heute Millionäre geworden.
The neighbors became millionaires today.

Future Tense (Futur I)Werden Conjugation

Ichwerde werden
Duwirst werden
Er/Sie/Eswird werden
Wirwerden werden
Ihrwerdet werden
Siewerden werden


Eines Tages werde ich der Präsent der Welt werden!
One day I will become the president of the world!


Changes of condition:

Dieser Baum wird ganz schön groß werden.
This tree will grow very big.

Changes in life:

Ihr werdet noch Weltmeister werden!
You will be world champions!

Sentences in this tense each use two forms of “werden”, which might seem a bit confusing. The important thing to remember is that the first one is the auxiliary verb werden (will/be going to), which expresses the future tense, while the second is the full verb werden (to become).

(Video) Learn German | Das Verb "werden" | German for beginners | A2 - Lesson 15

Future Perfect Tense (Futur II)Werden Conjugation

I like to think of this tense as expressing the past in the future. When we use werden in the future perfect tense, we imagine that we’re already in the future and we’re looking back at what happened at a certain point in time in the past.

Ichwerde geworden sein
Duwirst geworden sein
Er/Sie/Eswird geworden sein
Wirwerden geworden sein
Ihrwerdet geworden sein
Siewerden geworden sein


Wenn du mit deinem Studium anfängst, werde ich schon damit fertig geworden sein.
By the time you will have begun your studies, I will have finished them already.


Changes of condition:

In 100 Jahren wird der Mammutbaum schon ganz schön groß geworden sein.
100 years from now, the giant sequoia will have become gigantic.

Changes in life:

In 20 Jahren werde ich sicher auf schon Oma geworden sein.
In about 20 years I will surely have become a grandma, too.

Pluperfect Tense (Plusquamperfect)Werden Conjugation

This tense is used to talk about events that happened in the past before a certain past incident. The Pluperfect of werden usually described changes and progress.

Ichwar geworden
Duwarst geworden
Er/Sie/Eswar geworden
Wirwaren geworden
Ihrwart geworden
Siewaren geworden


Changes of condition / progress:

Nachdem er Nachhilfestunden genommen hatte, war er richtig gut in Mathe geworden.
After taking private lessons, he had become really good at mathematics.

Changes in life:

Vor einem Jahr war die Kandidatin Bundeskanzlerin geworden.
One year ago, the candidate became the chancellor.

Imperative Mood (Imperativ)Werden Conjugation

The purpose of this tense is to express demands and orders. It has only 2nd person singular and plural forms since these are the only grammatical persons we can issue orders to.

Duwerde/werd (colloquial)


Sie werden jetzt doch nichtrot!
Don’t you blush now!

Werd erwachsen!
Grow up!

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Werden Conjugation: Making Sense of the German Verb Werden (2)


Where does werden go in a sentence? ›

In this case, the order of the two verbs shifts and werden goes after the full verb: Ich strenge mich an, so dass ich nächste Jahr auf die Uni gehen werde. I'm working hard to go to college next year. Sie ist so schüchtern, dass sie ihn nicht ansprechen wird.

Is werden a regular verb? ›

Notice that werden is irregular. It is a stem vowel changing verb. The e changes to i in the second person (du form) and third person (er/sie/es form).

Is werden a modal verb in German? ›

As it is a modal verb, it also has irregularities in its verb conjugation: ich will. du willst. er will.

Is werden future tense? ›

The structure of a sentence in the future tense is as follows: subject + conjugated form of werden werden, Präsens + rest of sentence + infinitive verb. Anna wird nach Berlin kommen. Anna will come to Berlin.

What is a werden? ›

"werden" means "to become". And it's used to build the future.

Is werden haben or sein? ›

Intransitive verbs

There are three important verbs that do not fit into the intransitive verb rule and have to use sein as the auxiliary verb: bleiben (to stay), werden (to become) and sein (to be). They do not express movement but they must take sein.

Does werden take nominative? ›

for predicate nouns: when the main verb is sein or werden, use the nominative for both subject and predicate nouns.

How do you use the word where in a sentence? ›

Where is most commonly used as an adverb to define a location or position. It can also be used informally as a conjunction in place of the words "that" or "whereas." As such, "where" is commonly used to ask questions like "Where are my socks?" or make positional statements like, "Home is where the heart is."

What is the German verb to be? ›

Sein (to be) is a very important verb, and it is used in many different situations, including describing people and things, giving opinions and saying where you are. Sein is irregular. This means that it doesn't follow the same pattern as regular verbs. Think about to be in English.

What are regular verbs in German? ›

Regular verbs are verbs that exhibit no changes in their stem in the present or past tenses. Most regular verbs are action words. For example, in both English and German, “to play” (“spielen”) is regular because the form of the stem remains the same.

What are German modal verbs? ›

The modal verbs in German are: können (can, to be able to), müssen (must, to have to), wollen (will, to want to), sollen (should, am to, ought to, to be supposed to), dürfen (may, to be allowed to), mögen (to like, to like to).

What are the 23 modal verbs? ›

Helping verbs, helping verbs, there are 23! Am, is, are, was and were, being, been, and be, Have, has, had, do, does, did, will, would, shall and should. There are five more helping verbs: may, might, must, can, could!

What are the 8 modal verbs? ›

In the standard varieties, the modal verbs can, could, will, would, may, might, must, shall, and should form a so-called 'closed class', as this group developed in the history of English – in the period known as 'Early Modern English' – and has remained largely unaltered since.

What is the perfect tense in German? ›

The perfect tense is formed with an auxiliary verb – sein (to be) sein, Präsens or haben (to have) haben, Präsens – and the past participle: subject + auxiliary verb + other information + past participle. Anna ist gestern mit dem Auto gefahren. Anna drove the car yesterday.

What is the difference between Werden and sein? ›

Therefore the werden-passive describes an action taking place which affects the meadow, whereas the sein-passive merely describes its state.

How do you politely address someone in German? ›

"Guten Tag" (Good day) or “Hallo” (Hello) are the most common verbal greetings used in Germany. In the South, some people may say “Grüß Gott” (literally translating as 'Greet God'). In formal situations, one should address another person with their title and last name, “Herr” (Mr.) for men and “Frau” (Mrs.)

What is the difference between würde and Wäre? ›

Both are 'moods' - expressing irreal situations, like a wish or something that didn't happen (yet) - of the verbs sein and werden respectively. Generally, wäre means 'would (like to) be' and würde means 'would (like to) become / do'.

Where is Werden used? ›

“Wurden” is the Präteritum (simple past) of the verb “werden”. This means that we use it when we would like to express that something became something or when we would like to express a passive sentence in the simple past tense in German.

Is Werden a Nominativ verb? ›

Nominative Verbs

bleiben (pronounced: BLY-bin): to stay, remain. heißen (pronounced: HIGH-sin): to be called or named. werden (pronounced: VAIR-din): to become.

How do you answer Wie Heisst du? ›

First of all teach the phrases "Wie heisst du?" ("What's your name?") and the answer "Ich heisse...." ( "My name is...")

What is the difference between Wenn and Wann? ›

if it answers to “what?” then use wann, if it answer to “what time?”, then use wenn. Pretty simple, actually.

How do you flirt with a guy in German? ›


It was love at first sight! Ich möchte nicht stören, aber ich musste dich einfach ansprechen! Ich kann mit dir so viel lachen! Mir kommt es vor als würden wir uns schon seit Ewigkeiten kennen!

What is the difference between heiße and Heißen? ›

In the present tense singular, it has only two forms: heiße (ich) and heißt (du, er/sie/es). However, as you see in the conjugation chart, the present tense plural is heißen in all but one instance. While studying the present tense, you might also consider studying the verb mood Subjunctive I (der Konjunktiv).

What is Konjunktiv I in German? ›

The Subjunctive I (Konjunktiv I) is the verb form we use in news reports when statements are repeated as indirect speech. Example: Direct speech: Er sagte: „Ich habe kein Interesse an den Diamanten.” Indirect speech: Er sagt, er habe kein Interesse an den Diamanten.

What is the difference between SEHR and Viel? ›

Viel can mean many, much and a lot but it is always about quantity. On the other side, there's the word sehr. The English counterpart of that is very and the core focus of those is intensity.


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