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Evan B
How does one differentiate würde from war (Past of werden vs past of sein)
Aug 12, 2018 8:25 PM
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Answers · 3
würde means would whereas war means was. first is conjunctive, second is simple past. however, there is also wurde, which can also mean was, in passive form, such as es wurde gemacht - it was done.
August 12, 2018
I guess you mean how to differentiate them in usage (as the forms look rather distinct)? I think the main potential for confusion comes from the way different tenses / voices are formed in English vs. German: In German, "werden" serves to form tenses (future, conditional) and the passive voice: Active, future: Ich werde schreiben - I will write Active, conditional: Ich würde schreiben - I would write Passive, present: Es wird geschrieben - It is being written Passive, simple past: Es wurde geschrieben - It was (being) written Passive, future (!): Es wird geschrieben werden - It will be written Passive, conditional: Es würde geschrieben werden - It would be written Yup, you can mix the two uses of "werden" for passive and those particular tenses in standard German. English uses forms of "to be" + participle for the passive voice and forms of "will" (or "shall") for future and conditional. Now for the part that may be confusing: German also uses forms of "sein" (to be) to form certain tenses for those verbs that take "sein" and not "haben" in the Perfect and PQP tenses and for Conditional II: Er ist gegangen (he went) vs. Er hat geschrieben (he wrote / has written) Er war gegangen (he had gone) vs. Er hatte geschrieben (he had written) Er wäre gegangen (he would have gone) vs. Er hätte geschrieben (he would have written) I think it may be best to understand the universe of German verb forms from within German (how to conjugate werden, sein, haben and then how to combine this with infinitives and particples) rather than trying to map forms between English and German - we use the same auxilliary verbs, but in very different ways (and dialects, like Yiddish, use them differently, again).
August 13, 2018
Evan B
Language Skills
English, German, Russian
Learning Language
German