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Two sentences with 'werden':

KFC bereitet gerade Deine Bestellung zu. Sie wird in ungefähr 29 Minuten bei Dir sein.

Ich werde acht Jahre alt.

In the first sentence there is a 'sein' whereas in the second sentence there is no 'sein'. My understanding is that the 'wird...sein' in the first sentence should be translated to

will be

whereas the 'werde' in the second sentence should be translated to

becoming

is my understanding correct? Also, is it correct if I say

ich werde acht Jahre alt sein

?

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  • I think the reason for the down vote is that this is covered in dictionaries. Words can have multiple meanings and a good dictionary would cover the meanings you're asking about. If do look in a dictionary and are still confused, please give reasons why in the question.
    – RDBury
    Commented Mar 17 at 22:12

2 Answers 2

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The verb werden is used in three quite different ways in German:

  1. As a main verb meaning to become.
  2. As an auxiliary verb for the future tense, equivalent to will in "I will do this" (German: "Ich werde es tun").
  3. As an auxiliary verb for the passive voice, equivalent to to be in "I am seen" (German: "Ich werde gesehen").

So the answer is yes, werden translates to will in the first sentence (usage #2) and to to become in the second sentence (usage #1).

"Ich werde acht Jahre alt sein" is correct. Here we have usage #2 (I will be eight years old).

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  • You forgot 4. As an auxiliary verb in the subjunctive to form the subjunctive mood: "Das würde ich nicht tun."
    – RDBury
    Commented Mar 17 at 22:17
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As in English, you can talk about the future in present tense in German. Unlike in English, we do that all the time in German. We don't use Futur I tense to talk about the future but instead, we use it to talk about things we assume to be true. In the future. Or in the present.

Sie wird in ungefähr 29 Minuten bei Dir sein.

KFC tells you they assume that your order will be at your place in 29 minutes. If they wrote the same in Präsens, …

Sie ist in ungefähr 29 Minuten bei Dir.

that wouldn't be their assumption but they sell this to you as a fact. Why don't they? I would. It would make it feel more likely that their deliveries are reliable.


With your second example, it's a bit different.

Ich werde acht Jahre alt.

Despite the use of werden, this is Präsens because there's no accompanied infinitive. Werden is used as a full verb. It indeed means to become then. So this either states the fact that someone is going to become eight years old today or in a few days, or it states the fact the they are going to be eight years old but never older.

Ich werde acht Jahre alt sein.

This on the other hand means they assume to be eight years old now or later as it is Futur I. Consider:

Dieses Gemälde wird hundert Jahre alt sein.

This isn't about the future. It's an assumption about the present age of that painting. The Präsens

Dieses Gemälde ist hundert Jahre alt.

states the same as a fact.

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