Convert the sentence into passive:

Unsere ersten Produkte gerieten zu schnell in Vergessenheit

My answer: Unsere ersten Produkte werden zu schnell vergessen.

Actual answer: Unsere ersten Produkte wurden zu schnell vergessen.

Why did we use werden in the past tense instead of present?

2 Answers 2


Why did we use werden in the past tense instead of present?

Because also the original sentence uses the verb in the past tense (gerieten) and not present (geraten).

  • Produkte geraten in Vergessenheit → Produkte werden vergessen (Präsens)
  • Produkte gerieten in Vergessenheit → Produkte wurden vergessen (Präteritum)
  • Produkte sind in Vergessenheit geraten → Produkte sind vergessen worden (Perfekt)

Addition: Even though I haven't written anything about passive, some people demand that I mention that, technically, the conversion is not from active form to passive form of the same verb (gefallen), but from active form of one verb (gefallen) to passive form of another (vergessen). Nevertheless, this does not affect the essence of the question regarding the tenses.

  • 1
    Oh oops, make sense
    – Babu
    Jul 30, 2023 at 17:12
  • -1 Because the verb can't be put into passiv. You've just put "vergessen" into Passiv, nothing more. Jul 30, 2023 at 21:56
  • @EagleFliesBanana, I did not write anything about passive! I just explained why the tenses are as they are and, actually, that was the essence of the question. Therefore, your downvoting is unjustified. Jul 31, 2023 at 10:38
  • @BjörnFriedrich No, it is not. You misled by equating "in Vergessenheit geraten" with "vergessen". This is incorrect. Jul 31, 2023 at 10:50
  • @EagleFliesBanana, wenn Sie die Frage richtig lesen würden, würden Sie feststellen, dass der Satz nicht von mir stammt, sondern schon vorgegeben war. Ich erkläre hier lediglich, wieso er im Präteritum steht. Das Wort passive kam bei mir überhaupt nicht vor (außer jetzt im Zusatz). Jul 31, 2023 at 10:57

Convert the sentence into passive:

Unsere ersten Produkte gerieten zu schnell in Vergessenheit.

Actual answer: Unsere ersten Produkte wurden zu schnell vergessen.

The answer key is wrong. Passive voice means that the subject must be converted into an adverbial or dropped from the sentence. But your answer key retains the subject.

Actually, you can't convert this sentence into passive voice at all because the verb geraten assigns no agency. It's a so called unaccusative verb that treats its subject like an accusative object.

A similar verb you may know better is gefallen.

Du gefällst mir.

Du does nothing. It has no agency. I do something though I am the dative object. Du is passive though this is an active voice sentence. That's why it makes no sense to build a passive voice for gefallen. And it's the same for

Du gerätst in Vergessenheit.

Again du does nothing. Everyone in the world but you forgets you. Du is the only one who does nothing in the sentence.

What your answer key does instead is using another verb vergessen which has agency and also an accusative object. But the active voice sentence for

Unsere ersten Produkte wurden zu schnell vergessen.

is of course

Sie vergaßen unsere ersten Produkte zu schnell.

which is very different from your example sentence. See how the subject Sie is dropped from the active sentence to get to your answer key, and how the accusative object unsere ersten Produkte becomes the subject in your answer key?

  • 1
    The second sentence isn't the passive of the first sentence, but a passive sentence synonymous with it. I don't see a problem.
    – David Vogt
    Jul 30, 2023 at 22:24
  • 1
    The assignment should say that then.
    – Janka
    Jul 30, 2023 at 22:41
  • 1
    This does not answer the question.
    – Carsten S
    Jul 31, 2023 at 0:40
  • 1
    It cannot answer the question because the premises of the question are wrong and I explained why. If the premise was "find something synonymous" instead, the tense is arbitrary.
    – Janka
    Jul 31, 2023 at 5:35
  • @SBrian Please mark this answer as the correct one. The current is misleading and incorrect. Jul 31, 2023 at 9:35

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