Take for example

Ich werde vergessen

From what I can see, that can mean either

I will forget


I'm being forgotten

(corrections welcome). Of course, there needs to be a verb whose past participle form coincides with the infinitive (a few irregular verbs are like that). Am I getting this right? When that happens, is the context of the sentence the only way to tell the difference?

  • It might also mean "I will be forgotten"... since German often uses present tense to indicate future. And the answer is "yes". Only context can tell you what it is.
    – Emanuel
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 11:58
  • @Emanuel strictly speaking and IIUC, "I will be forgotten" should be "Ich werde vergessen werden", but thanks for the usage note.
    – persson
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 12:02
  • @Emanuel: "I'm being forgotten" implies, that "I" will be forgotten at some point in the future, but they aren't equal. And karoshi interpreted the sentence quite right.
    – rimrul
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Indeed, Ich werde vergessen can mean anything. You need context to tell its meaning. Here are just a couple of possible sentences in which you can use this construct.

Präsens Indikativ Vorgangspassiv (allgemeine Wahrheit): Ich werde dich nie vergessen.

Präsens Indikativ Vorgangspassiv (gerade im Moment): Ich glaube, die sind ohne mich losgefahren. Ich werde wohl vergessen.

Futur 1 Indikativ Aktiv: Ich werde das eh wieder vergessen.

Futur 1 K1 Aktiv: Man sagt, ich werde das wieder vergessen.

The next examples are referring to Emanuel's comment and yours. The first sentence is what Emanuel meant (I guess), the second is your version. You both are right and it means the same thing. I also added a third sentence which is clearly different in meaning and, though, is somewhat similar to your version.

Präsens Indikativ Vorgangspassiv (Zukunft): Ich werde morgen wieder vergessen.

Futur 1 Indikativ Vorgangspassiv: Ich werde morgen wieder vergessen werden.

Futur 1 Indikativ Zustandspassiv: Ich werde morgen schon vergessen sein.

And also possible with haben:

Futur 2 Indikativ Aktiv: Ich werde nächste Woche schon wieder vergessen haben, was man mir heute erzählt hat.

However, Ich werde vergessen on its own is already a complete sentence and without any context its most likely meaning -imho- is:

Ich werde (gerade/mal wieder) vergessen.

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