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Please consider the following sentences:

  • Das vorsätzliche Fahren ohne gültigen Fahrschein ist Betrug und wird bestraft.
  • Zeitungsdiebstahl ist strafbar und wird angezeigt.

My question is:

Don't "wird bestraft" & "wird angezeigt" mean being punished/reported "now or at the moment of the speaking"??

Shouldn't it be:

  • Das vorsätzliche Fahren ohne gültigen Fahrschein ist Betrug und wird bestraft werden.
  • Zeitungsdiebstahl ist strafbar und wird angezeigt werden.

Like "in case of" of driving without a valid ticket the person "will be" punished??

I've read here that people tend to avoid the use of "double werden" in the same sentence, is that the case here?

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    "now or at the moment of the speaking" At an unspecified time. In active voice but with the same tense, Das Gericht bestraft vorsätzliches Fahren ohne Führerschein.
    – user6495
    Commented May 4, 2022 at 11:57

3 Answers 3

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Future tense is comparatively rarely used in German, especially in spoken language. It is often replaced by a clearly future-stating time specification.

So

Ich werde morgen ins Kino gehen

is simplified to

Ich gehe morgen ins Kino.

The second aspect is, that the time order aspect is too obvious to deserve emphasis. (You obviously can't get a penalty before doing something wrong.)

The important point stated in both of your examples is the strict rule: Whenever the public transportation company catches somebody without ticket, it will surely take all legal actions. This is the same unconditionally approach as:

Alles wird von der Erde angezogen. (Gravitation)

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    It's not incorrect. But you will not find (often) it in spoken German. Commented May 4, 2022 at 19:16
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    @KeNSmilePachI I would read the version with "werden" as an additional emphasis, like "it will be punished". Commented May 4, 2022 at 22:00
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    I wouldn't say the future tense is 'rare' in German, but it is used much less frequently than in English. You could use the present tense in English as well: "Deliberately driving without a valid ticket is fraud and is punished." It's not as natural sounding for English though.
    – RDBury
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 0:15
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    The last example is quite important here: The wording implies, purposefully, a presently existing rule, an inevitable connection. It's not the description of a future occurrence, because, as we know, predictions are hard, especially those concerning the future ;-). It is, instead, a given. In all those examples one could add "stets" or "immer": Zeitungsdiebstahl wird stets angezeigt. Commented May 5, 2022 at 8:35
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    I think, Carsten S's answer is the better one here. Your analysis is based on facts and sound. But for the interpretation, this is not so much "futurisches Präsens" (present with a future meaning), but the present rather emphasizes the rule / law character here. English expresses this with a "going-to" construction (which I learned as a form of "future" in school, but I think it is actually not, as sentences like "I was going to do it" wouldn't make much sense if it was a future form, but this is about English grammar now): It is going to be punished.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 19:35
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It's present tense. The act is punished whenever someone commits it. This is a general statement that does not refer to a specific incident in the future.

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Another aspect not mentioned yet is that the passive future is a rather complicated construction, here with two forms of "werden" in it. Compare the succinct "Wird gemacht, Chef!" with "Wird gemacht werden, Chef!"1. Nobody in their right mind No native speaker would say that. "Wird bestraft werden" — müsste, könnte, vielleicht. Nah.


1 Remember that in German (as in the original French) "Chef" is not necessarily and not only the chef de la cuisine.

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  • I don't consider this a full answer - rather a comment on another answer.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 19:30
  • Sorry I don't understand the last bit in your comment //"Wird bestraft werden" — müsste, könnte, vielleicht. Nah.// Could you elaborate? Commented May 5, 2022 at 20:01
  • @jonathan.scholbach It is not a full answer but an aspect. As such, it is not a comment though; it is an additional, self-sufficient piece of information. Commented May 5, 2022 at 20:25
  • @KeNSmilePachI I was just adding modifying auxiliary verbs in order to continue, exaggerate and ridicule the complication of the future passive with two forms of "werden". "Wird bestraft" is straight forward, unambiguous, direct, certain. "Wird bestraft werden" is complicated and in the future, hence less certain. Commented May 5, 2022 at 20:28

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