Die Ende des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts geborenen Brüder Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm sind vielen Deutschen vorwiegend als Verfasser der Märchensammlung "Kinder und Hausmärchen" bekannt.

On first reading, I thought this sentence was present perfect since bekannt is pp II of bekennen ref, but some people on internet told me this is actually a Präsens sentence.

Could someone explain to me how I could've identified that? Thanks.

2 Answers 2


Bekannt is somewhat a special case*. The problem is that the meaning of bekennen and bekannt have diverged. While bekannt means "known" and is used instead of a passive for kennen, bekennen means "confess/pledge/plead". Kennen itself is almost never used in passive, we say

Er ist bekannt.

instead of

(?)Er wird gekannt.

You could only have known if you looked up "bekannt" itself in a dictionary. Furthermore, since "bekennen" is transitive, its modal verb for perfect would be haben, as in

Er hat seine Schuld bekannt.
He has confessed his guilt.

Using sein would give the passive, which you might not have learned yet.

*: Beliebt (popular) and bewusst (concious) work the same way.


Could someone explain to me how I could've identified that?

You have to drill for every verb whether its Perfekt auxiliary is sein or haben. If you ever encounter a sein auxiliary in a sentence, you need to recall whether that verb controlled by the sein in the sentence has sein as a Perfekt auxiliary by dictionary. If not, it's not Perfekt tense but rather Zustandspassiv voice.

  • There are exceptions, but in most cases you can figure out the auxiliary from the meaning; memorizing thousands of verbs is not necessary. The rule of thumb is motion and state change imply "sein" and transitive implies "haben". If in doubt it's probably "haben".
    – RDBury
    Dec 29, 2023 at 17:12

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