What is the difference between "wird" and "ist"? I have read some articles and according to it, I use "ist" in the below sentence:

"The keyboard is used for typing"

Die Tastatur ist zum Tippen verwendet.

But the translation shows:

Die Tastatur wird zum Tippen verwendet.


Your first German example is quite wrong. The simple passive is constructed with 'werden', never with 'sein':

Die Tastatur wird zum Tippen verwendet.

The Zustandspassiv (combination of past participle + sein) is only used to express the result of an action with perfective aspect:

Der Koffer ist gepackt.

Using a keyboard is a continuous (or at the most, iterative) action, so it takes the normal passive.

  • IMHO the aspect of the Zustandspassiv is rather resultative than perfective. – RHa Jan 22 at 20:43

Yust as Kilian Foth explained, it has to do with an action that is beeing performed or has been performed and therefore is finished.

Der Koffer wird gepackt. (The suitcase is beeing packed)

means that its's an ongoing action and it hasn't been finished yet, while

Der Koffer ist gepackt. (The suitcase is packed)

is an finished action. But we are still in the Present-Tense, not the past.

Der Koffer wird gepackt werden (The suitcase will be packed) (Future)

Der Koffer wird gepackt. (The suitcase is beeing packed) (Present, task ongoing)

Der Koffer ist gepackt. (the suitcase is packed) (Present, task finished)

Der Koffer wurde gepackt. (The suitcase was packed) (Past)

Der Koffer ist gepackt worden. (The suitcase has been packed) (Past Perfect)

Long things short: If you want to translate is + Verb (eg. "is used"), it would be correct like this: wird + Verb (eg. "wird benutzt"). Also, the first example-sentence is wrong, because it has an additional verb at its end.

Die Tastatur ist zum Tippen.

Is perfectly fine, but its an different sence and question. "What is it the keyboard for? The keyboard is for typing." --> "Wofür ist die Tastatur? Die Tastatur ist zum Tippen."

Hope that helps a little ;)

  • Almost correct; but unfortunately "the suitcase is packed" etc. translates very well into "der Koffer ist gepackt", so that your general rule "is + verb [in fact, past participle] => wird" is plain wrong. In order to emphasize a current process in English one uses the present continuous, in this case passive: "The suitcase is being packed" => "der Koffer wird [gerade] gepackt", as opposed to "the suitcase is [already completely] packed" => "der Koffer ist [bereits vollständig] gepackt". – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jan 22 at 16:21
  • @Goerky Does that mean , we cannot translate literally english "is used to" to German? The acceptable form is : "what is keyboard for?". Die Tastatur ist zum Tippen. – Noisha Studieren Jan 23 at 10:46

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