Unit 8: Werden, Relative Clauses
1. The Verb Werden
This verb is one of the most important verbs in the German language to master because it has a range of quite different uses and meanings. Three are covered in this unit, another (passive voice) in the next unit, and another in Unit 15 (subjunctive). So it is important for you to practice distinguishing the different usages.
When used by itself as a simple, “full” verb, werden means “to become,” “to turn into,” or in colloquial English, “to get,” as in:
Wir werden nicht älter, wir werden nur besser.
We don’t get older, we just get better.
It has an irregular conjugation:
Simple past tense:
Werden uses the auxiliary verb sein and the past participle geworden. Examples using the third person singular and plural are:
Er ist alt geworden.
He has become old. / He became old.
Sie sind alt geworden.
They have become old. / They became old.
Diese Maschine war zu alt geworden.
This machine had become too old.
Diese Maschinen waren zu alt geworden.
These machines had become too old.