How to tell them apart: werde, würde, wurde

I can’t freakin’ remember the right word

The other day, I read about what to do if you can’t remember the article of the German word that you were about to use. When it just has slipped your mind. Instead of using the wrong one, use all three articles. Instead of saying, Ich fahre die Auto (das would be correct), you say, Ich fahre den, die, das Auto (I am driving the car).

While you have a chance of 33% of picking the right one in the first example, the second strategy gives you definitely the full 100 %. I haven’t heard it myself, which simply may be because my students just ask me when they are unsure, but I like the strategy and to be honest, I do it myself as well when getting caught up in another language.

[werde, würde, wurde]

Another tactic is to pronounce the verb forms werde, würde, wurde the same way. It sounds like [vɜ: rdə], as you would say the vowels e, ü and u all together, a little bit like the [u] in “to hurt”.

No wonder, there is such confusion about it. Let’s have a look at the three together and make them stick in your mind forever.

Here is how to pronounce them: werde – würde – wurde


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If you have any question, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear about your favourite strategy.




33 replies on “How to tell them apart: werde, würde, wurde

  • Tianna

    I can’t thank yo enough for your easy clarification of this. It’s been a rough point for me for the past year in my endeavors to learn german. Your explaination “The ‘ü’ in ‘würde’ is a little bit fancy; and you need to be a little bit fancy when talking about something you would do if you could.” Was not only 100% helpful but funny and it’s stuff like that that makes learning fun! I’m so happy I found your blog tonight ❤️❤️❤️

  • Sabrina

    Hallo Anne,
    vielen lieben Dank für die tolle Übersicht! Ich unterrichte britische Schüler und alle haben ein großes Problem, die Unterschiede zwischen werde, würde und wurde zu sehen, geschweige denn, zu hören. Mithilfe dieser Erklärung wird es ihnen ganz bestimmt klar werden!
    Ein großes Kompliment für deine tolle Arbeit!

    • Anja Mueller

      Danke Sabrina, interessant zu wissen, dass sich das werde, würde, wurde – Problem über den ganzen Globus erstreckt, wer hätte das gedacht. Danke für das tolle Kompliment!

  • Swabygw

    Hi, Anja: could I ask a pronunciation question, please? In the third-person present, the conjugation for werden is “wird”. Could you explain how to pronounce the vowel “i” in this word, versus the vowel in the other three forms that you’ve already explained? Thanks!

    • Anja Mueller

      Hallo Swabygw, yea sure, it’s a tricky one too. The pronunciation of “wird” depends a little on the region but I believe you can break it down to 2 different ways to pronounce it. The one I grew up with in the Saarland/Rhineland region sounds like it was spelled werd, with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘i’: er [vert]. The other one would be the way it’s pronounced in Bavaria, with a very clear ‘i’ sound: er [veert].

  • Rince

    Hallo Anja,

    Thank you for you Valuable Information. I would like to know about the Presonal
    Pronomen for these three verbs also.

    • Anja Mueller

      Hi Rince, thanks for your quick response to my email! Here they are:
      werden: ich werde, du wirst, er/sie/es wird, wir werden, ihr werdet, sie/Sie werden
      würden: ich würde, du würdest, er/sie/es würde, wir würden, ihr würdet, sie/Sie würden
      wurden: ich wurde, du wurdest, er/sie/es wurde, wir wurden, ihr wurdet, sie/Sie wurden

  • Dorsa

    for a person like me who started learning German for 2 years but still have lots of problem with these 3 verbs,that was a helpful subject,Danke !

  • Puneeth Shetty

    Hello Anja,

    That was of great help. I was always confused about these words and how to use them. Now I understand these a lot better.

    Thanks a lot!

  • Gnani

    Thanks so much Anja! super helpful. It has always been a grey box how many ever times I have revised about these words in the past. Hopefully, this time, I will be able to implement the right usage in my daily conversations!

  • Martha

    OMG, you just saved me !! thank you! I have a test tomorrow (B1) and was struggling so much with this, you made it so easy! Thanks! 😀 !!!!

  • Hari

    I am glad I found this post. Thank you for explaining in a crisp manner, also with annotations and pictorial representations. Absolutely greatful to people like you who are thoughtful and take time to prepare the content .


  • Marin

    Hey Ania, you the best teacher EVER!

    For the English speakers, think of using “würde” on the instances you would use “Shoulda/Woulda/Coulda”
    “Present” has two E’s = werde
    “Future” has U and E = wurde

    • Anja

      Hi Marin, perfect way to remember it! Thank you for helping the community of German learners here! 😀 Anja


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