The word "wird" is meaning on-going action in passive voice. This is the statement I have learnt and I saw the same thing written in the forums. However, I came across this sentence in a book:

Wie im zweiten Text beschrieben wird, braucht der Mensch auch Auszeiten.

I don't think, this sentence is passive as there is no on-going action in it. All it means is:

As described in the second text, people also need time off.

Am I right about understanding the meaning and considering it as non-passive? Why "wird" has been used here? Why not "ist"?

  • 1
    Note your English translation is (sortof) passive as well ;)
    – tofro
    May 27 at 15:17
  • 1
    @Noisha Studieren. Also note that "wie" makes no difference, please don't remember it specific to the relative adverb. It depends solely on the verb. "Im Text wird beschrieben, dass..." and "Im Text ist beschrieben, dass..." work as well. May 27 at 17:18
  • @EagleFliesBanana yes, that was my confusion. When things always depend on verb , the confusion was what if these has to do with "wie" construction. Thought any new topic, I am unaware of. Thank you will remember it next time :) May 28 at 6:05

1 Answer 1


The word »wird« is an inflected form of »werden« that has many usages. One of them is to indicate passive voice of action.

  • Passive voice of action (Vorgangspassiv):

    Der Kaffee wird gemahlen.
    The coffee is ground. (The noise you hear comes from the coffee grinder that turns coffee beans into ground coffee.)

  • Passive voice of state (Zustandspassiv):

    Der Kaffee ist gemahlen.
    The coffee is ground. (The coffee you see here in the box is not in the form of whole beans, but in the form of ground coffee.)

So, you could also distinguish:

  • Passive voice of action (Vorgangspassiv):

    Im Text wird etwas beschrieben.
    In the text is something described. (Something is turned from the non-described state into the described state, and this process is ongoing.)

  • Passive voice of state (Zustandspassiv):

    Im Text ist etwas beschrieben.
    In the text is something described. (Something has been brought into the state of being described in the past, and now it is in this state.)

This is correct, but there is also a difference between the authors and the readers view. While the word beschreiben (describe) clearly describes an action that the author performs, it also is often understood as verständlich machen (to make understandable). But understanding is an action that the reader performs while reading the text.

So, from the readers point of view, the process of understanding happens at the moment of reading, and this justifies the usage of passive voice of action, although passive voice of state would also be correct.

  • Thank you so much for always providing detailed answers. May 28 at 6:03

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