0

Why this is correct?

Er war überrascht.

And this is not correct:

Er wurde überrascht.

1
  • 3
    The question is (obviously) missing context as both sentences are correct German - but they simply mean different things. Dec 20, 2022 at 2:16

1 Answer 1

0

The difference has nothing to do with grammar: both are correct.

Er war überrascht.

This is not passive voice. It describes the state that he is in, as in "He is surprised" or "He is tired".

Er wurde überrascht.

This is passive voice. It is about an action that happened to him, meaning that someone somehow surprised him.

1
  • The terminology isn't standard and sometimes confusing. Some call the sein form either sein-passiv(e) or Zustandpassiv, and I've also seen "Statal" Passive. Wikipedia notes a difference between dynamic and stative uses of the passive voice, for which English uses the same form: "The dog is fed every day." vs. "The dog is fed so we can leave." German would use the werden from in the first case and the sein in the second. In English you can replace "is" with "is being" in "The dog is being fed every day." It's not necessary though.
    – RDBury
    Dec 20, 2022 at 16:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.