1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "When, where and what will be…

"When, where and what will be eaten?"

Translation:Wann, wo und was wird gegessen?

March 21, 2013



Is this correct? The English is future tense, but the German seems to be present tense. Shouldn't there be a "geworden" in there somewhere?


I guess in this case "wird" is being used in the future sense rather than passive, which makes the lesson in the context of Passive Voice kinda confusing...


I believe the German sentence is present passive, not future tense. If so, the English translation is wrong.


Yes, the German is present passive. But it can refer to a future event for which you'd use a future tense in English. So, I'd say duo isn't totally off, but 'Was wird gegessen werden?' would be much cleaner and clearer.


Thank you. So, this could be an instance of using present tense to indicate a future event?


Yes, it's possible in principle. But I'd consider it rather poor style in this case. 'Was wird gegessen werden' is much better.


Thank you.

  • 2874

@wataya : If I were to say something really silly like "Was wird gegessen sein?" would I get a slap in the face? :)) Is that correct? If so, then what would it mean?


"Was wird gegessen sein?" means "What will be eaten" (in the sense of describing a state). It's correct but you'd probably rather say "Was wird gegessen worden sein?" (Literally "what will have been eaten?") to put the focus more on the act of eating and less on the state.


I don't think "werden" is used as a future marker here, it's the effect of translation that english is in future tense.


Why is the verb in the singular? Doesn't "wann, wo, und was" count as a plural subject?


No, but you raise a point: in English, it's not a good sentence. "What will be eaten, and where and when will it be eaten?" works better grammatically. I don't know about the German.


Consider: "For each trackmeet we need to plan: when, where, and who runs?"

It's kind of contrived -- but when and where don't change the count.


The correct translation is: "Wann, wo und was wird gegessen werden?"


In 'Wann, wo und was wird gegessen werden', how do I know which 'werden' is auxiliary for passive voice and which one is auxiliary for future tense?


The first "werden" ("wird") is auxiliary for future tense, the second one is auxiliary for passive voice. My best explanation for how to know which one is for future tense and which one is for passive voice is the word order. The "future-werden" is put previous to "gegessen" (I don't know how this verb form is called gramatically), the "passive-werden" after it. If you say "Was wird gegessen?" ("What is being eaten?"), the "wird" is auxiliary for passive.


Would the German be correct if they changed the English to "...what is being eaten?"


The English sentence is technically nonsensical, as you can't say "When will be eaten" or "Where will be eaten" but I suspect most people wouldn't give it a second thought if they heard it, just interesting that German seems to function the same way. A pedant would insist on "When and where will what be eaten?"


It doesn't like it if you switch the question words around...oops.


I wrote Wenn instead of Wann, what's the difference?

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.