"Der Brief wird geschrieben."

Translation:The letter is being written.

May 8, 2013

24 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amyb24

Why is this present passive and not future passive? I expect "wird" to translate to "will" but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

May 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karenskywalker

I think "wird" doesn't have anything to do with future tense here. When "werden" is used with partzip 2 it has the meaning of passive. When it is used with indefinite form of verb, it has the meaning of future. If you want to say "the letter will be written" you say "der Brief wird geschrieben werden".

May 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bogg22

For the letter will be written, could you also say; der Brief wird geschrieben sein?

September 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
Mod

    Yes. That's using the statal passive rather than the processual passive, i.e. focussing on the state of the thing instead of the process that happens to the thing. The statal passive uses sein as the helping verb, and the processual passive ('normal' passive) uses werden as the helping verb.

    March 8, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaximumWilli

    Wird is more like "becomes" in this sentance.

    March 22, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
    Mod

      Or "gets".

      March 8, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pH..

      The "present contiues passive" (is being written) is going on here. It should be translated this way. However if you want to stress the continues aspect of this sentece in German you need to add more context.

      Passive voice in differnt tenses:

      http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa012901b.htm

      September 22, 2014

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/njennlingua

      In UK "it is written" would usually imply that a text exists. "It is being written" uses the extra word to show that the text is in the process of being generated. "It will be written" is a statement of intent. So from what people are saying, in German this is: 1.es ist geschrieben 2.es wird geschrieben 3.es wird geschrieben werden Is that right?

      March 7, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artischocke

      In short, yes. Of course "is written" doesn't necessarily imply that an action is past. It can, but when I say, for example, "letters are written for business and bureaucratic reasons" it has the same meaning as in the German sentence here (this is the so called "dynamic passive"). Secondly, there is no continuous tense in German. The "is being written" bit here is precisely to emphasize that it is in the present tense and to avoid the ambiguity between the two usages (yours and the one I've just explained). Hope that helps...

      March 7, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bnbnb2

      If i want to know who writes the letter, for example he writes, Can i say 'Der Brief wird ihm geschriben', just like in English ' The letter is being written by him' ?

      July 8, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artischocke

      The passive construction uses 'von' + Dative to state the actor, so: der Brief wird von ihm geschrieben

      July 8, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bnbnb2

      Viel Dank!

      July 8, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JMBarrett52

      It's apparent that if you don't have a strong foundation in English grammar, you are never going to learn German properly. Present passive, future passive.....it's all Greek to me. I learned it all in grade school, but I'm 63 years old now and find that I have to learn it all over again. PLUS apply it to the German. Oy.

      February 20, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artischocke

      I wouldn't worry too much about it, especially if you're learning the language just for fun. Most Germans don't know those things by name either, yet they manage to speak German fluently. In the end, those names are just useful to abstract, learn and communicate with others about a particular feature of the language; you'll know you've learned a language when they become second nature and it just sounds right without actively thinking tense, gender, case, declension, etc. (This is called rather wonderfully Sprachgefühl, as if you acquired an extra sense). Learn them if they're useful to you and your learning style, not if they get in your way. Eventually it just clicks if you're exposed to it enough. Viel Spaß! :)

      February 21, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laruthell

      Then perhaps you might enjoy these: https://yourdailygerman.com/learn-german-online-course/

      They are conceptual explanations of various issues of German grammar, written in a humorous style and without all the fancy grammatical terms.

      February 20, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ursulias

      "is being" - continuous form - When we want to express 'continuous form' (which does not exist in German), we use the word "gerade" or stronger, if someone is impatiently waiting "gerade eben" to make it clear:
      "Der Brief wird gerade (eben) geschrieben." It is happening just (right) now = "gerade eben" or "gerade"

      Future - "Der Brief wird geschrieben werden." is correct, but not used in colloquial German. This is confusing. We drop the "werden" and say simply "Der Brief wird geschrieben".
      What helps in spoken language: the melody of the sentence. If the word "wird" is stressed, you can be sure, the letter does not exist yet and it will be written in future, it's for sure.

      September 14, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrWho100

      Einfach super Erklärung! Vielen Dank dafür!

      October 5, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeff.chern

      So there are 2 translations ... the letter is being written and the letter is written. Isn't this a little confusing as to whether the activity has passed?

      August 12, 2014

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tstrick

      Not really. The difference between "Der Brief wird gescrieben" and "Der Brief ist geschrieben" is kind of hard to explain. "Wird" (passive voice) implies some kind of continuing action, as well as an actor, even if that actor is not stated. But if you say "ist," you're basically stating the simple fact that the letter is written. Some people discuss the difference here: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/the-passive-voice-werden-sein.1554043/

      January 30, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bastianbalthazar

      Not too difficult. One is the Processual Passive: "Der Brief wird geschrieben" (The letter is being written).

      And the other is Statal Passive: "Der Brief ist geschrieben" (The letter is written), meaning the action of writing the letter has been completed.

      With Processual Passive, we are always stating what is, was, had been, or will be happening, and with Statal Passive, we are stating the situation or condition after the action has been brought to completion.

      No big mystery :-)

      May 5, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnkelD
      • 1549

      How can I be sure that I know it's "was being" as opposed to "is being" --- written? Just curious.

      June 17, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

      "Wird geschrieben" is "is being written." "Wird"="become," so it's effectively "The letter is becoming written" --> "being written." So "was being written" would just be the past tense of "wird": "Der Brief wurde geschrieben."

      June 17, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliN11__

      What is wrong with The letter will be written?

      January 31, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

      "Werden" as an auxiliary verb has two different uses: future tense ("will X") and passive voice ("is Xed / gets Xed"). Just as in English, the future needs an infinitive ("will write") and the passive needs a past participle ("is written").

      This exercise uses "geschrieben," a past participle, so it's passive. You'll notice that if you translate the sentence word for word with "will," you get "The letter will written," which doesn't make much sense. The meaning of "will" needs an infinitive rather than a participle.

      "Will be written" is both future ("will") and passive ("be"), so it actually needs "werden" twice: that sentence would be "Der Brief wird geschrieben werden."

      January 31, 2019
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