Passive in German – Vorgangspassiv vs Zustandspassiv

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to the most epic German grammar course on the web.
Today, with the second part of our look at

Passive Voice in German

In part one, we laid quite a bit of groundwork. We learned what passive is and what it’s used for, we learned about passive in English and the colloquial get-passive, we learned that passive is more like a spectrum and we talked about how to actually spot one.
Because… you know, before we have to worry about how to build passive voice in German, we have to know when we need one.

Actually, that’s the most important part, so let’s recap that bit real quick.
Hooray.

Take this sentence:

  • I was disappointed a lot last year.

And now ask yourself: Is this passive?
If we’re just speaking English this matters exactly ZERO. No one cares. But it does matter if we want to translate the sentence to German.
And the best approach for us to figure out what we’re looking at is: using questions. Like… what question does a sentence or phrase answer to.
And the two questions that can help us clear things up with Passive are the following:

  1. What is/was being done to [X]?
  2. How is/was [X]?

If a phrase in a given context answers to question 1, it’s passive voice.
If it answers to question 2, we’ll just grade it “not passive”.
or actually, let me rephrase this:
If a phrase in a given context FEELS like an answer to question 1, it’s  passive voice.
If it feels like an answer to question two, then it’s not passive.
Because context makes all the difference.
Cool.

So now let’s see how this works with our example:

  • How was I last year?
    I was disappointed a lot.
  • What was done to me last year?
    I was disappointed a lot.

As you can see, BOTH make sense. To me, the second one feels more natural, but the first one could also work in the right context.
Context matters, and so the question test doesn’t always have “one” answer. The goal of it is rather to “amplify” how something feels.
Like… the questions help us get clarity about how WE perceive a phrase in a given context.
So, if  you  can “feel” passive voice then you won’t need them.

Anyway, if you want to read more about this I really recommend reading part one, especially if you haven’t read it yet.
So here’s the link.

Passive Voice in German – Part 1

And now, let’s jump in and find out how this actually helps us with passive voice in German.

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German Expressions Quiz – Episode 2

Hello everyone,

and welcome to your German Word of the Day.
And by “word” I mean “test” because it’s surprise exam time! Phones away, pens out. This one counts for the final grade.
N-Deklination, Passiversatzformen and Pronomenreziprozitätsreduktion are on the menu.
“Booooohhhh.”
Nah, I’m kidding of course. It’s not really a test, it’s a fun quiz.
“Uh… mehhhhhhh.”
Or as I like to call it… a Quiz-planation™. Because I’m not just going to ask you a bunch of questions, I’ll actually give you some explanation and trivia for each answer.
“Oh… hmmm, interesting.”
And today, we’ll do an especially fun topic because today, we’ll learn a few

Useful German Expressions

“Hooray!!”
We did one quiz like this already in January during our quiz special, and it’s more than time for a new round.
So let’s dive right in.

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Passive Voice in German – A New Approach

In this episode:

Most explanations of Passive voice in German suck. Vorgangspassiv vs Zustandspassiv sucks. Time for a new approach. - Part 2

Hello everyone,

And welcome to a new episode of the epic online Grammar Course. And today, we’ll talk about a topic you’ve been asking for years and that’s especially for relationships, be they personal or professional.

Passive-Aggressive Voice in German

And here’s an example:

  • “Kannst du dein Geschirr in die Spülmaschine räumen?”
    “Oh… klar du, kein Problem. Natürlich kann ich diese kleine Schale in den Geschirrspüler räumen, wenn die dich in dieser großen Küche stört. Soll ich auch noch Fenster putzen und die Oberflächen desinfizieren? Wie sauber brauchst du es denn? OP-Level?”
  • “Can you put your dirty dishes into the diswasher?”
    “Oh… sure, no problem. Of course I can put this tiny bowl into the dishwasher if it bothers you so much in this huge kitchen. Should I also clean the windows and desinfect the surfaces? How clean do you need it? Surgery room grade?”

Amazing!
As you can see, it works pretty much the same in German and in English so you’re well prepared for the next argument with your partner or flatmate.
Tune in next week when we talk about how to gaslight in German.

Nah, I’m kidding of course.
The real topic of today is:

Passive Voice in German

A long requested topic and one that many people find confusing.
And after checking out what the Youtube teacho-sphere has to offer on the topic, I understand why.
Most of the videos were, well, not so good and there was also some legit garbage – full of contradictions and misleading simplications and downright falsehoods.

But Passive doesn’t have to be super complex and confusing.
I think the main thing people struggle with is the difference between Vorgangspassiv and Zustandspassiv and when to use which.

And I think I have found a great solution for it.

At first, it might feel confusing, too. But it’s confusing in a different way. A wholesome way. A Zen way. A confusion that feels like bathing in warm milk.
And then, it’ll click and you’ll be like “Wow, this is really easy.”
Well, that’s the plan at least.

Now, this whole thing is most likely going to be a three part series.
Part one will be a general look at passive, part two will be all about Vorganspassiv and Zustandspassiv and in part three, we’ll look into all the nooks and crannies and dirty back alleys of passive. You know… where the critters called Passiversatzformen live. Gross!

And I know that many of you are now wishing that we could start with part two right away.
But for this topic, I believe it’s really helpful to have “the bigger picture”.
Because if you just have “the small picture”, you’ll soon hit the frame and you have no clue what’s beyond it.
I’m quite sure, you’ll learn something new today, even if you already have a good handle on Passive in German.

Anyway, enough with the intro.
Are you ready to jump in?
Then let’s go.

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Word of the Day – “fügen”

In this episode:

In this episode, we'll take a look at "fügen", explore the core meaning and see how it shows up in the related words. - Part 2

Vocab:   

fügen, verfügen, einfügen, die Fuge, das Gefüge, gefügig, die Befugnis, Unfug,...

Hello everyone,

And welcome to our German Word of the Day, bottom of the barrel edition.

Hooray!
And the word will look at today is

fügen

Many of you are now like “Yeah, I don’t think I can pronounce that.”
And the good news that, that you  probably won’t have to, because chances of you using fügen in daily life are about as high as the chances of the German language getting a girlfriend
“What do you mean? I have game!!! I don’t häve a görlfriend right now because I chose not to. I need space to wörk on myself.”
Oh, you mean like reducing endings or cases?
“No, I do cold showers, I journal, I do breathwork, clean eating, listening to Andrew Huberma…”
Okay, wow, fascinating. Never heard that before. Maybe you can tell us more about this some other time.
Oh boy… I feel like this intro is one step from falling apart completely. Why does this keep happeni… oh, it’s the coffee, that’s why.
So yeah, today, we’ll talk fügen.
It is true, what I said –  that you won’t need it much as a verb itself. But it’s the base for a whole bunch of words that you’ll definitely see, so if you’re ready then let’s jump in and explore.

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Using “warten” – A quick guide

In this episode:

In this AI speaking exercise, we'll practice all the important phrasings with "warten" - present, past, questions and of course "warten" auf". - Part 2

 

Hello everyone,

And welcome to a new episode of a series everyone has forgotten about at this point.
No, not prefix Verbs Explained :)

I mean the series A Practical Guide to German Verbs.
In each episode of this series, we take one of the basic important German verbs you need daily and we go over all the basic important phrasings: present tense, past tense, questions and so on. And the verb we’ll tackle today is

warten

But we don’t just go through them in theory. We’ll actually use them in practice.
And by use them I mean, you will MAKE them.
So I give you sentences in English and you’ll say that in German.

Now the beginners among you are like “OMG, I don’t know if I’m at that level yet.”.
But don’t worry! This series is actually MADE for beginners.
We’ll go really slow, the phrasing will be easy, and I’ll slowly guide you, so you always know what you’re doing and why.

But the BEST thing about this exercise is that you don’t just build German sentences – you’ll actually SAY them.
Because we’ll use the awesome pronunciation AI from EF Languages, that they let me use.

For each sentence task, you’ll just have to press record and say the German version and you’ll get a breakdown of how well you said it, word by word.

Let’s do a trial maybe:

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Der Osterhase war da

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