Conjugation of Werden - ‘to become’ - German
The verb werden is a multi-use verb, which means “to become” and “to get” (as in ‘to get older’) and “to end up” and “shall” and “will”. All sorts of words in English which describe a change into the future can be translated into “werden.”
It is also an irregular verb. This means that it doesn’t follow the rules for making a verb present tense.
As with all irregular verbs, it’s most helpful to just memorise the different conjugations of ‘werden.’
As you’ll remember from our article on the verb sein,‘conjugations’ are the different forms of the verb to put them into a tense.
Present Tense (Präsenz)
* This Sie (the formal ‘you’) requires a capital letter.
Let’s look at how we pronounce some of these words.
(For some tips on pronouncing the pronouns, such as ‘ich’ and ‘du’ please check out our article on the conjugation of sein.)
A German ‘w’ is usually pronounced like an English ‘v’ as in ‘vine.’
an -er together is pronounced as in the English word ‘air’
And ‘e’ at the end of a word is pronounced as ‘u’ as in the beginning of ‘up’ or ‘us’.
A German ‘ir’ is pronounced ‘ur’ as in ‘purr’ or the ‘ir’ in the English word ‘stir’
The most common use of ‘werden’ in the present tense is to make the future tense. ‘I am going to do something.’
You do this by using the present tense of ‘werden’ and combining it with the infinitive of another verb, which goes to the end of your clause.
Ich werde Federball spielen. I am going to play badminton.
Du wirst ‘Die Verwandlung’ lesen. You are going to read ‘The Metamorphosis.’
Er wird Musik hören. He is going to listen to music.
Wir werden dich vermissen. We are going to miss you.
Ihr werdet Mutter und Vater sein. You are going to be mother and father.
Sie werden Pizza essen. They are going to eat pizza.
Sie werden Tee trinken. You are going to drink tea.
Imperfect Tense (Imperfekt)
The imperfect tense is used far more often in writing than in speaking. Documents, novels and reports are all (usually) written in the imperfect tense. It is used to describe single, specific events that happened in the past.
Ich wurde witzig. I became witty.
Du wurdest sportlich. You became sporty.
Er wurde freundlich. He became friendly.
Sie wurde begabt. She became talented.
Es wurde gierig. It became greedy.
Wir wurden klug. We became smart.
Ihr wurdet gesprächig. You became chatty.
Sie wurden faul. They became lazy.
Sie wurden froh. You became happy.
Perfect Tense (Perfekt)