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July 18, 2024, 12:42:38 pm

Author Topic: 'Wurde' oder 'War'  (Read 13106 times)  Share 

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clarke54321

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'Wurde' oder 'War'
« on: January 02, 2017, 10:20:16 pm »
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Hey fellow German learners,

As 'wurde' and 'war' both mean 'was,' how do I know which to use?

For example:

As 'Er wurde krank' means 'he became sick' (as werden is to become) and 'Er war krank' means 'he was sick,' is the only difference the 'became' and 'was' part?

Is there any rule on which is more appropriate with certain contexts?

Vielen Dank!  :)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 10:25:33 pm by clarke54321 »
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Paulrus

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Re: 'Wurde' oder 'War'
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2017, 10:34:47 pm »
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Hey!
Like you pointed out, 'wurde' is the preterite form of 'werden', but 'war' is the preterite of 'sein'. I guess I'd translate 'er wurde krank' as 'he got sick', referring to the action of becoming sick, whereas 'er war krank' just means he was in the state of sickness.

So something like this would refer to 'becoming' sick - "Er wurde krank, nachdem er aus der Kälte nicht herauskam" (he got sick after he didn't come out of the cold) vs. "Letzten Winter war er oft krank" (he was often sick last winter)
In terms of how you'd know which to use, they map pretty much perfectly onto the English usage.

Hope that helps!  :)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 10:44:31 pm by Paulrus »
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Alter

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Re: 'Wurde' oder 'War'
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2017, 10:42:23 pm »
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Hey fellow German learners,

As 'wurde' and 'war' both mean 'was,' how do I know which to use?

For example:

As 'Er wurde krank' means 'he became sick' (as werden is to become) and 'Er war krank' means 'he was sick,' is the only difference the 'became' and 'was' part?
I think this is the difference between what is known as Zustandspassiv and Vorgangspassiv in German, and it is a difference that we don't really acknowledge in English, because the meaning is mostly the same.

Essentially, with Zustandspassiv (sein), you care about a state, and the past participle of the verb sort of acts as an 'adjective'. In Vorgangspassiv (werden), emphasis is placed on the process of being 'verb'ed.

An example I found online:
Quote
Vorgangspassiv
Die Häuser wurden gebaut. = The houses were being built. The focus is on the process of the building, rather than the result.

Zustandspassiv
Die Häuser waren gebaut. = The houses were built. The focus is on the result of the building process, rather than the process itself.

Does this clarify at all?

edit: I'm too slow for Paulrus :P
tl;dr: statal vs processual passive
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 10:44:13 pm by Alter »
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clarke54321

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Re: 'Wurde' oder 'War'
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 04:42:38 pm »
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Thanks for the explanations!  :D
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