‘Werden’ Conjugations

‘Werden’ conjugations translate to ‘I become / became / will become, etc.’ The infinitive verb ‘werden’ (‘to become’ in English) is one of the very first German verbs you should learn.

‘Werden’ is a common German verb that you’ll need to use in various tenses and moods in order to communicate in everyday spoken & written German.

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‘Werden’ Conjugations
Written by Laura Bennett
-   Updated:
- 14 minute read
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Learning ‘werden’ is tricky because German verbs have more conjugation options compared to English verbs –so there’s more that our brains have to remember!

Key Takeaways

  • ‘Werden’ (‘to become’) is a commonly used infinitive verb in German.
  • there are more ‘werden’ conjugation options than what we have in English.
  • you need to learn ‘werden’ conjugations for multiple tenses and moods.

How is ‘Werden’ Used in German?

Knowing how to correctly use ‘werden’ in its many diverse forms allows you to speak masterfully in German in a wide variety of contexts.

‘Werden’ allows you to talk about yourself and others ‘becoming’ (I am becoming more famous by the day; I’m becoming ill, etc.) in all manner of situations past, present, future, and hypothetical. 

Although its technical translation is ‘to become’, the German verb ‘werden’ is used in the sense of American English’s ‘am getting’ (as in ‘I’m getting sick’ vs. ‘I’m becoming ill’).

‘Werden’ is also the German verb used to create future tenses such that ‘werden’ lines up with the concept of ‘will’ in English as in ‘I will bake a cake’ (Ich werde einen Kuchen backen).

Specifically the ‘Konjunktiv II’ conjugations of ‘werden’ are also used in combination with other infinitive verbs to communicate hypotheticals (e.g. I would go [Ich würde gehen]).

Another common usage of ‘werden’ would line up with English’s ‘going to be’ as in ‘He’s going to be a doctor’ (i.e. he’s in the process of studying medicine): Er wird Arzt.

You’ll use ‘werden’ in order to …

  • ✅ Talk about emotions and other conditions (I am getting sick, angry, tired, etc.)
  • ✅ Communicate about professions (He’s [studying to become] a doctor, etc.)
  • ✅ Use other German verbs in the future tense (I will bake a cake, I will travel, etc.)
  • ✅ Create a ‘Konjunktiv II’ workaround (I would bake, I would travel, etc.)

What Are The 6 Conjugations of ‘Werden’? 

The 6 conjugations of ‘werden’ in the present tense line up with our 6 subject pronouns to give us ‘ich werde’, ‘du wirst’, ‘er / sie / es wird’, ‘wir werden’, ‘ihr werdet’, and ‘sie werden.’

There are, of course, even more forms of ‘werden’ in other tenses (and moods). 

But it’s best to first focus strictly on the present tense conjugations of ‘werden’, so let’s look at it side-by-side with the English ‘to become’:

‘Werden’ (in English)

I become
you become
he/she/it becomes
we become
they become

‘Werden’ in German is ‘to become’ in English. And in the present tense, we have two possible conjugations: ‘become’, and ‘becomes’.

In the case of ‘become’, it is recycled –that is, it’s used with multiple different pronouns (i.e. I, you, we, they). It’s only he/she/it that uses its own unique conjugation ‘becomes’.

Those same conjugations in German look like this:

‘Werden’ (Present Tense) English vs German

Werden Conjugation English vs. German in the Present Tense

Comparing German & English

It’s important to notice the patterns of similarities and differences at this point. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where does German ‘recycle’ the same conjugations?
  • Are the German & English changes to ‘werden’ (to become) occurring with equivalent pronouns?
  • Which language includes more changes compared to the other? 

‘Werden’ in the Present Tense

The present tense conjugations of ‘werden’ are ich werde, du wirst, er / sie / es wird, wir werden, ihr werdet, and sie werden.

Put into a typical conjugation table, these options are presented like this:

Present Tense Conjugation Chart:
ich werdewir werden
du wirstIhr werdet
er/sie/es wirdsie werden

You truly haven’t even begun to learn ‘werden’ until you know ALL the nominative case pronouns and which form of ‘werden’ each of them takes.

To talk about the conjugations of ‘werden’ used by the various pronouns, we have to work backward by starting with the pronouns. 

And in order to understand nominative case (i.e. subject) pronouns, we need to talk about the grammar concept of ‘persons’.

What are ‘persons’?

The ‘persons’ (I, you, they, etc.) are split into two categories that interact with each other: 

There are 3 subcategories of ‘persons’ (1st Person, 2nd Person, and 3rd Person) and each of these has a ‘singular’ and a ‘plural’ variant. 

When we intersect this information on Y and X axes, we get these ultra-familiar English subject pronouns:

English Subject Pronouns Chart

Now, here is the German version of the same table of subject pronouns: 

German Subject Pronouns Chart

German & English Pronouns Side-by-Side

Where do English and German line up and where are there differences?

English and German have 1-to-1 equivalents for all pronouns … except that German has extra pronouns for ‘you’ (highlighted).

FULL German Subject Pronouns Chart
2nd (informal)duihr

Understanding the ‘ihr’ plural of ‘du’ is straightforward enough: Americans might relate it to the concept of y’all. We’re simply talking to multiple ‘you’s at the same time.

But what is the deal with the singular and plural ‘Sie’?

Formal vs. Informal ‘You’

If you took high school Spanish, you’ve already been exposed to the idea of ‘you’ having an informal version and a formal version (e.g. ‘tu’ [informal] and ‘Usted’ [formal]).

It’s the exact same idea in German.

We need to use the formal ‘you’ when we address …

  • someone we don’t intimately know 
  • someone to whom we want to show additional respect
  • someone in a relative position of authority 

Of course, these separate categories have some obvious potential overlaps in that many times we perceive others as authority figures whom we also genuinely respect and with whom we wouldn’t go out to a pub for a beer because we don’t know them intimately enough.

When to Use the Formal ‘Sie’

As you can see in the table, if you’re using the formal address ‘Sie’, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking to one person or multiple –the pronoun AND its conjugation of ‘werden’ stays the same:

German Subject Pronoun & ‘Werden’ Conjugations Chart:
1stIch werdewir werden
2nd (informal)du wirstihr werdet
(formal)Sie werdenSie werden
3rder/sie/es wirdsie werden

In German, you generally need to use this formal version of ‘you’ if you’re talking with…

  • professionals (e.g. clerks, police officers, doctors, plumbers, etc.) 
  • leaders (e.g. priests, politicians, choir directors, bosses, etc.)
  • elders (e.g. anyone clearly at least a generation older than you are)

Examples of ‘Werden’

Knowing how to use ‘werden’ in the present tense for all the 1st, 2nd (formal and informal) and 3rd persons, singular and plural, is exactly what you should know for now. 

1st Person, Singular & Plural

Ich werde Feuerwehrmann. (I am going to be a firefighter.)
Ich werde immer nervös. (I always get nervous.)

Wir werden Feuerwehrmänner. (We are going to be firefighters.)
Wir werden immer nervös. (We always get nervous.)

2nd Person (Informal), Singular & Plural

Du wirst Feuerwehrmann. (You are going to be a firefighter.)
Du wirst immer nervös. (You always get nervous.)

Ihr werdet Feuerwehrmänner. (You are going to be firefighters.)
Ihr werdet immer nervös. (You always get nervous.)

2nd Person (Formal), Singular & Plural

Sie werden Feuerwehrmann. (You are going to be a firefighter.)
Sie werden immer nervös. (You always get nervous.)

Sie werden Feuerwehrmänner. (You are going to be firefighters.)
Sie werden immer nervös. (You always get nervous.)

3rd Person, Singular & Plural

Der Junge wird Feuerwehrmann. (The boy is going to be a firefighter.)
Der Junge wird immer nervös. (The boy always gets nervous.)

Die Jungen werden Feuerwehrmänner. (The boys are going to be firefighters.)
Die Jungen werden immer nervös. (The boys always get nervous.)


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Comparing German & English

There are several interesting points to make on the above examples so that you can further your general knowledge of German beyond specifics of ‘werden’.

  • Notice how ‘werden’ is used in the sense of ‘getting’ (in an abstract and not concrete sense) such that we could replace the ‘get’ with ‘become’ (i.e. The boys always become nervous). But if we were to talk about ‘getting’ something concrete (e.g. I’m getting a new couch), we would have to use a different verb in German, for example ‘kaufen’ (to buy).
  • Almost every English noun pluralizes simply with ‘s’ (e.g. firefighter -> firefighters), but German has SEVEN different options that we have to know how to choose between! Did you notice ‘Junge’ (boy) change to ‘Jungen’ (boys)? That added ‘n’ is one of the German plural options. You may have also noticed specifically the -er plural used to change Feuerwehrmann into Feuerwehrmänner. And –yep– that umlauted ‘a’ is part of the pluralizing process here, too! Learn more about noun plurals here.
  • Did you notice the ‘der Junge’ (the boy) vs. ‘die Jungen’ (the boys)? ‘Der’ and ‘die’ (as well as 4 additional options!) both mean ‘the’ in English. That there are 6 different ways to say ‘the’ in German is a feature of The German Case System.

Skills You’ll Need to Use ‘Werden’ Conjugations:

‘Werden’ makes it possible to relay information you’re not necessarily vouching for, make a polite suggestion (or give a bossy command), and talk about yourself and others ‘becoming / getting’ (I getting sick, getting exhausted, etc.) in all manner of situations past, present, future, hypothetical. 

On top of that, particular conjugations of ‘werden’ (i.e. the infinitive, present tenses conjugations, simple past tense conjugations, and Konjunktiv I conjugations) are a vital element in other verbs forming various tenses and moods. 

The bottom line: you can’t masterfully speak German if you don’t understand how to use the various conjugations of ‘werden.’

You’ll use ‘werden’ in order to …

  • ✅ Talk about emotions and other conditions (I’m getting sick, angry, tired, etc.)
  • ✅ Communicate about professions (He’s becoming a doctor, etc.)
  • ✅ Use other verbs in future tense (I will sing, I will dance, I will sleep, etc.)
  • ✅ Put those same verbs in the future perfect tense (I will have slept, etc.)
  • ✅ Speak about hypotheticals (I would sing, if only …)
  • ✅ Give a command or make a suggestion (e.g. become a doctor!)

Building Blocks You Need For ‘Werden’

‘Werden’ conjugations empower you to express yourself in a LOT of different ways. You need to correctly wield ‘werden’ in a variety of contexts in order to speak German capably, comfortably, and confidently.

To correctly use ‘werden’ in various tenses and moods, you need to build these foundational skills:

  1. Know the subject [i.e. nominative] pronouns for all singular & plural persons.
  2. Learn the present and simple past tense conjugations of ‘werden’ for all persons.
  3. Learn the ‘werden’ conjugations for the subjunctive mood.
  4. Understand how to formulate 2 past perfect tenses with ‘werden’ as a helping verb.
  5. Understand how to formulate the future perfect tense using ‘werden’ in its infinitive form.
  6. Use ‘werden’ (conjugated) as a linking verb connected to predicate nouns & adjectives.

Terminology Explained

subject pronouns are the words ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘we’ and ‘they’ in English. German has these same options BUT also three more! These pronouns are categorized as ‘persons’ that are either singular (e.g. ‘I’) or plural (e.g. ‘we’). 

conjugations are slight changes to a verb that line up with different ‘persons’ –for example, ‘I eat’ (base verb) vs. ‘he eats’ (with the added ‘s’). English generally has only these two conjugations, but German typically uses four conjugations.

tense & mood are simply variants of a verb such as present tense (‘I eat’), past tense (‘I ate’), future tense (‘I will eat’), and subjunctive mood (‘I would eat, [if]…’). German and English have all the same verb tenses and moods and they function similarly.

helping verbs are used in German and English past tenses paired with a mained verb (e.g. I have eaten). In English, the helping verb is always a form of ‘to have’, but in German, we have two options: ‘haben’ (to have) and sein (to be).

linking verbs allow us to refer to the same subject twice, as if the verb is an ‘equal sign’ (e.g. This woman is a doctor.) Linking verbs connect the subject (woman) to a predicate noun (doctor) or to a predicate adjective (e.g. This woman is rich.)

“HELP! This Feels Overwhelming!”

This can understandably feel like a LOT, but the good news is that you DON’T have to fully master all the applications of ‘werden’ right now as a beginner learner –which also means you don’t have to have all the relevant lingo totally down yet, either.

The ideal place to start is by learning just the German subject pronouns and the present tense conjugations of ‘werden’. We covered this in depth above, but here is the table with both pieces of information, again, here:

werden conjugation table

Repetitious, simple sentences (like the examples I gave you above in an earlier section) will help you drill these present tense ‘werden’ conjugations into your memory. 

And since all the subject pronouns are exactly the same no matter what German verb conjugations we’re learning, we’ll get lots of mileage out of learning our ‘ich’ and ‘du’, etc.

If you’re beyond a beginner level already, you’ll see those ‘ich’s and ‘du’s repeated again and again in the following tables of ALL the ‘werden’ conjugations. 


Learning all of this is a big task for almost every German learner.

I’ll teach you step-by-step.

Get Started Now

‘Werden’ Conjugations in ALL Tenses & Moods

‘Werden’ is used in 6 tenses (of the indicative mood), and in two additional moods (the subjunctive and imperative). We use ‘werden’ to talk about ‘becoming’ in the past, present, and future (e.g. I became, I become, I will become). ‘Werden’ is also used to say ‘I wouldbecome’ (subjunctive) or to give a command such as ‘become a doctor!’’

For those of you who are ready for it, here are the full conjugation tables for ‘werden’:

Indicative (Indikativ)

The indicative mood is how we talk most of the time: about real facts. The book has become quite popular. I became irritated with the slowly moving train. She is becoming an excellent cook. Etc.)

The indicative mood subcategories into SIX tenses in both English and German. Most of these tenses are used very similarly. 

It’s essential to learn the Present Tense first, and then the Present Perfect. After that, you’ll get the most utility out of the Simple Future, then Simple Past, then Past Perfect, and then Future Perfect.

Present (Präsens)

‘WERDEN’- Present Tense (Präsens) Table
1stich werd(e)⁵wir werden
2nddu wirstihr werdet
3rder wirdsie werden

Simple Past (Präteritum)

‘WERDEN’- Simple Past (Präteritum) Table
1stich wurde/ward⁶wir wurden/warden⁶
2nddu wurdest/wardest⁶ihr wurdet/wardet⁶
3rder wurde/ward⁶sie wurden/warden⁶

Present Perfect (Perfekt)

‘WERDEN’ – Present Perfect (Perfekt) Table
1stich bin gewordenwir sind geworden
2nddu bist gewordenihr seid geworden
3rder ist gewordensie sind geworden

Past Perfect (Plusquamperfekt)

‘WERDEN’ – Past Perfect (Plusquamperfekt) Table
1stich war gewordenwir waren geworden
2nddu warst gewordenihr wart geworden
3rder war gewordensie waren geworden

Simple Future (Futur I)

‘WERDEN’ – Simple Future (Futur I) Table
1stich werde werdenwir werden werden
2nddu wirst werdenihr werdet werden
3rder wird werdensie werden werden

Future Perfect (Futur II)

‘WERDEN’ – Future Perfect (Futur II) Table
1stich werde geworden seinwir werden geworden sein
2nddu wirst geworden seinihr werdet geworden sein
3rder wird geworden seinsie werden geworden sein
Important Notes on German Tenses

Although German and English HAVE all the same tenses, they aren’t necessarily all used the same way.

In German …

  • The Present Tense covers three different English options: for example, I eat, I do eat, I am eating would ALL simply be ‘Ich esse’ in German. 
  • The Present Perfect Tense (which would technically translate to, e.g. I have eaten) actually correlates with English’s simple past (i.e.  I ate) in terms of usage.
  • The Simple Future tense is frequently avoided in favor of the Present tense and a time adverbial. 

Imperative (Imperativ)

The imperative mood is used in both English and German for giving commands. Note that a ‘du’ or ‘ihr’ subject is generally omitted, but that a ‘wir’ and ‘Sie’ must be present.

‘WERDEN’- Imperative (Imperativ) Table
1stwerden wir!
2nd Informalwerd(e)⁵ [du]!werdet [ihr]!
2nd Formalwerden Sie!werden Sie!

Subjunctive (Konjunktiv)

The subjunctive mood is used in both English and German (but much more frequently in German!) to communicate hypothetical (i.e. not factual [indicative]) situations. 

The subjunctive can be used to communicate a present or future likelihood (but not certainty) OR a complete impossibility in the past, present, or future. 

The subjunctive is also used for expressing polite requests vs. the commands of the imperative mood.

Present Subjunctive (Konjunktiv I) 

‘WERDEN’- Present Subjunctive (Konjunktiv I) Table
1stich werdewir werden
2nddu werdestihr werdet
3rder werdesie werden

Past Subjunctive (Konjunktiv II) 

‘WERDEN’- Past Subjunctive (Konjunktiv II)  Table
1stich würdewir würden
2nddu würdestihr würdet
3rder würdesie würden

Perfect Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Perfekt) 

‘WERDEN’ – Perfect Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Perfekt) Table
1stich sei gewordenwir seien geworden
2nddu seiest gewordenihr seiet geworden
3rder sei gewordensie seien geworden

Past Perfect Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Plusquamperfekt) 

‘WERDEN’ – Past Perfect Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Plusquamperfekt) Table
1stich wäre gewordenwir wären geworden
2nddu wärest gewordenihr wäret geworden
3rder wäre gewordensie wären geworden

Future Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Futur I) 

‘WERDEN’ – Future Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Futur I) Table
1stich werde werdenwir werden werden
2nddu werdest werdenihr werdet werden
3rder werde werdensie werden werden

Future Perfect Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Futur II)

‘WERDEN’ – Future Perfect Subjunctive (Konjunktiv Futur II) Table
1stich werde geworden seinwir werden geworden sein
2nddu werdest geworden seinihr werdet geworden sein
3rder werde geworden seinsie werden geworden sein

Common Confusion

What are the 3 forms of ‘werden’? 

The 3 forms of ‘werden’ that clue us into the various conjugations we’ll need for various persons are ‘wird’ (present tense), ‘wurde’ (simple past tense), and ‘ist geworden’ (present perfect tense). Learn more about the 3 forms of German verbs here.

‘Werden’ or ‘wurden’?

‘Werden’ is the present tense and ‘wurden’ is the simple past tense. Both of these options are in their infinitive forms, so you’d have to conjugate them to match (‘agree’) with whatever person (e.g. I, you, he, etc.) you’re using. See full conjugation tables above.

‘Ist geworden’ or ‘wurde’?

‘Ist geworden’ and ‘wurde’ are two past tense forms of the infinitive ‘werden’ (to become). In spoken and written German, you are most likely to hear / use ‘wurde’.

‘Ist geworden’ is a form of the present perfect tense –this tense always involves a past participle (‘geworden’ for the infinitive verb ‘werden’ [to go]) and a helping verb (in this case, ‘ist’: the 3rd person singular form of the infinitive verb ‘sein’ [to be] in the present tense).

 ‘Wurde’ is the form of the simple past tense used for the 1st and 3rd persons singular. See above for the full conjugation tables for both of these tenses for all persons.

‘Werden’ (to become) is one of 10 German verbs that are preferred in the simple past tense vs. the present perfect tense along with ‘sein’ (to be), ‘haben’ (to have) and the modal verbs (including both ‘mögen’ and its subjunctive derivative ‘möchten’).

What is the difference between ‘wird’ and ‘werden’?

The difference between ‘wird’ and ‘werden’ is a matter of which ‘person’ they pair with.

‘Werden’ is the infinitive form of the verb (‘to become’). The infinitive form is used in the present tense by the 1st person plural (‘wir’ [we]), the 2nd person singular / plural, formal (‘Sie’ [you]), and the 3rd person plural (‘sie’ [they]).

‘Wird’ is the present tense form of ‘werden’ used by ‘er / sie /es’ (he / she / it), exclusively. See full conjugation tables here.

Rapid Q&A

‘Werden’ and ‘wurden’ conjugations

See full conjugation tables for ‘werden’ and ‘wurden’ above.

‘Werden’ past tense conjugation?

The base form of ‘werden’ in the past tense is ‘wurden’, but this must then be conjugated for all persons.

See full conjugation tables for ‘wurden’ above.

What are the past forms of ‘werden’?

The base form of ‘werden’ in the past tense is ‘wurden’, but this must then be conjugated for all persons.

See full conjugation tables for ‘wurden’ above.

How do you use ‘würden’ in German?

‘Würden’ is the base form ‘werden’ in the subjunctive mood.

What is the future of ‘werden’ in German?

‘Werden’ itself is used to formulate the future tense of other verbs (e.g. ‘Was wirst du machen?’ / What will you do?) and thus isn’t really used in the future tense all by itself.

What are the 3 forms of ‘werden’?

werden conjugation 3 verb forms

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