The passive: werden or sein?

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The passive: werden or sein?

There are two ways to use the passive voice in German:

  • werden (to become) + past participle: emphasises the action (=process)

Der Flug wird heute gebucht.

The flight is being booked today.

Wir werden von euch beleidigt.

We are being insulted by you.

  • sein (to be) + past participle: emphasizes the result (=state)

Der Flug ist gebucht.

The flight is booked.

Wir sind jetzt beleidigt.

We are now insulted.

Note that we can only indicate who carried out the action in passive sentences using werden.

Das Bild wurde von Gustav Klimt gemalt.

The picture was painted by Gustav Klimt.

Der Flug wird von Anna gebucht. 

The flight is being booked by Anna.

Note: the passive can be formed with werden or sein in all tenses.

Das Hotel wird dieses Jahr renoviert werden. werden, Futur 1

The hotel will be renovated this year.

Das Hotel wird im Dezember renoviert sein. sein, Futur 1

The hotel will be renovated in December.

Die Karte wurde von Tim geschrieben.werden, Präteritum

The card was written by Tim.

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