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Werden, Wurden & Würden

It's quite easy to get the similar-looking werdenwurden and würden confused, so we're taking a look today at the differences between them and the different contexts in which they are used. 

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To start with, wurden and würden are different grammatical moods of the verb werden

 

Heute in unserer ersten Lektion werden wir die Buchstaben des deutschen Alphabets lernen.

Today in our first lesson, we will learn the letters of the German alphabet.

Caption 2, Deutsch mit Donna Blitz - Das Alphabet

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Es soll bis über zwanzig Grad warm werden.

It should get warm, up to more than twenty degrees.

Caption 16, München - 180. Oktoberfest eröffnet

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Schön, du musst mich nur küssen und dann werde ich eine wunderschöne Prinzessin.

Fine, you only have to kiss me and I will turn into a beautiful princess.

Caption 11, CHoE Rocker - Hunde-Prinzessin

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Die Tage werden immer kürzer und immer kälter.

The days steadily become shorter and colder.

Caption 9, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten

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Oh, es wird sehr schwierig werden, meinen Titel zu verteidigen.

Oh, it is going to be very difficult to defend my title.

Caption 23, Wintersport - 7. Austrian Freeski Open

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As you can see, werden can be used in a wide variety of contexts and can be translated variously as "will," "get," "will turn into," and "become." The last example uses the future tense of the verb, wird werden, which is translated as "going to be." 

 

In contrast, wurden is the Indikativ mood (similar to the indicative or realis mood in English) of werden. This just means that the verb is used to express a known state of affairs.

 

Sie flohen aus dem Königreich und wurden nie wieder gesehen.

They fled from the kingdom and were never seen again.

Caption 85, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Das tapfere Schneiderlein

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Here, wurden gesehen is the passive voice of the German Präteritum, as is common with the combination of werden and a past participle.

 

Wahrscheinlich wurden sie im hohen Norden auf dem Eis für die Jagd verwendet.

They were probably used for hunting on the ice in the far north.

Caption 17, Unterwegs mit Cettina - Schlittschuhlaufen

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Thus, wurden is usually translated as "were," but it is also sometimes used in the same sense that the present tense werden is sometimes translated as "become." The sentence Aus Bauern wurden Arbeiter could be translated as "Farmers became workers," which has a very different verb structure but a similar meaning in the end.

 

Ähm, was würden Sie denn als ihre Stärken und Schwächen, ähm, beschreiben?

Um, what would you then, um, describe as your strengths and weaknesses?

Caption 34, Eva erklärt - Bewerbungen

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Genau. -Würden Sie uns vielleicht 'n bisschen Ihren Stand vorstellen?

Exactly. -Would you maybe present your stand to us a little bit?

Caption 47, Unterwegs mit Cettina - auf dem Bruchsaler Weihnachtsmarkt

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Thus, würden is in most contexts translated to English as "would."

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Further Learning
Watch the Yabla video about the verb werden, which goes into detail about the verb's conjugation, moods, and tenses, and go to Yabla German and see many other examples of werden, wurden, and würden used in a wide variety of contexts.

Pages, Paragraphs, Sentences, and Letters

Let's make sure we are all on the same page! If you are taking a German class in addition to your work on Yabla, these are some very important vocabulary words for referring to your textbook, or books and texts in general. 

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First of all, you need the German word for "the page":
 

Wir öffnen unser Buch, Seite vierzig.

We'll open our book, page forty.

Caption 1, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Verben der 2. Kategorie

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You will often want to refer to a particular paragraph, which can also be done using ordinal numbers rather than cardinal numbers.

 

Gemäß Artikel dreiundsechzig Absatz zwei des Grundgesetzes für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland

According to article sixty-three, paragraph two of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany,

habe ich heute Frau Abgeordnete Doktor Angela Merkel zur Bundeskanzlerin ernannt.

today I have named parliamentarian Dr. Angela Merkel as Federal Chancellor.

Captions 6-7, Bundesregierung - Vereidigung der Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel

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The word der Satz in German is a little tricky because it can mean either "sentence" or "clause" depending on the context. Take a look:
 

„Scribe“ ist das schwierigste Spiel, denn du musst den ganzen Satz selbst schreiben.

"Scribe" is the most difficult game, because you have to write the whole sentence yourself.

Caption 41, German Intro - Cettina

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Zweiter Satz: „Sie ist größer als Stefanie."

Second clause: "She is taller than Stefanie."

Caption 19, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Der Relativsatz

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The word for a letter of the alphabet is der Buchstabe, hence the verb buchstabieren ("to spell"). Ein Zeichen is a character, which could be a letter, number, or even a space (das Leerzeichen). You may recognize this word as it also means "a sign" or "a symbol."

 

Das scharfe S oder Eszett ist ein Buchstabe, der ausschließlich in der deutschen Sprache vorkommt.

The sharp S or eszett is a letter that occurs exclusively in the German language.

Caption 22, Deutsch mit Donna Blitz - Das Alphabet

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Further Learning
Make sure you are also familiar with die Zeile ("the line"), das Kapitel ("the chapter"), der Band ("the volume"), die Strophe ("the stanza"), and der Abschnitt  ("the section", "the paragraph").

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