werden: A Super Verb

A Multitasking Verb: werden

This page was updated in September 2022.

The verb werden has a variety of uses, both on its own and in conjunction with other verbs.


First Usage: werden on its own – to become, to get, to turn

Sie werden alt, aber sie haben immer noch enge Freunde.

They are growing old, but they still have close friends.

Die Sonne geht unter. Es wird langsam dunkel.

The sun is going down. It’s getting dark.

Morgen werden wir zwei Jahre alt.

Tomorrow we are turning two.

Die Frau wird zornig.

The woman is getting angry.

The Conjugation and Usage of werden

All important verbs tend to be irregular; werden is no exception. Here’s a conjugation table:

werden – to become
1st Personich werdewir werden
2nd Persondu wirstihr werdet
3rd Personer / sie /es / man wirdsie werden
Formal AddressSie werden

Usage 1: As a Stand-Alone Verb

On its own, werden means “to become, to get or to turn”. There are many idiomatic phrases in English that can be translated neatly with werden.

  • Ich werde müde. → I’m getting tired.
  • Er wird langsam taub. → He’s growing deaf. *Note: taub can also mean numb
  • Es wird kalt. → It’s turning cold
  • Das Wetter wird schlechter. → The weather is getting worse.

Usage 2: Creating the Future Tense

When conjugated and used in conjunction with the infinitive of another verb, werden is the basis of the future tense in German. This is the pattern: werden (conjugated) + infinitive = future tense.

  • Der Hund wird ihn beißen. → The dog is going to bite him.
  • Sie wird dir bestimmt helfen. → She’ll help you for sure.
  • Ich werde dich nie im Stich lassen. → I will never let you down.

Usage 3: Creating the Passive Voice

When conjugated and used in conjunction with the past participle of another verb, werden is the basis of the passive voice in German. This is the pattern: werden + past participle = passive voice. This is a more complex grammatical structure. Here are just a few examples.

  • Der Kühlschrank wird endlich repariert. → The fridge is finally being repaired.
  • Die korrupten Politiker werden interviewt. → The corrupt politicians are being interviewed.
  • Viele Flüchtlinge werden in Australien schlecht behandelt. → Many refugees are badly treated in Australia.

Online Activities

Quiz: Conjugating werden and using it as a stand-alone verb

This quiz will allow you to practise the conjugation of werden, both in a conjugation table and in example sentences.

Kahoot: The use of werden as a stand-alone verb and to create the future tense

This Kahoot covers the first two usages of werden as outlined above.

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