Wurden vs waren

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Zealous, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Zealous Senior Member

    And please help me the very last time today :)

    I've come across the sentence

    Warum wurden wir erschaffen?

    It is annoying, but I don't know why wurden is used in this case. What would be the difference if I said

    Warum waren wir erschaffen?


    Thank you

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  2. kunvla

    kunvla Senior Member

    Warum wurden wir erschaffen? Почему нас создали? Warum waren wir erschaffen? Почему мы были созданы?
  3. Wroclaw

    Wroclaw Senior Member

    upper midwest
    American English
    I don't know enough about Russian to interpret kunvla's helpful answer, but "wurden" is the passive auxiliary in German. The active sentence: "Warum erschuf man uns?" ("Why did (some)one create us?") has been converted into the passive voice: "Warum wurden wir erschaffen?" ("Why were we created?").

    If you use "waren," then you are treating "erschaffen" like an adjective, along the lines of "wir waren müde" or "wir waren froh." But "erschaffen" isn't an adjective, so "wir waren erschaffen" doesn't make much sense.
  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think you can use "Wir waren erschaffen" to refer to the state of being created as opposed to the process of being created.

    For example:

    Wir waren schon erschaffen (worden), als es die Flut gab.
  5. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    I agree.
    "Wir wurden erschaffen" describes the handling in passive voice, "waren" describes the state in passive voice.

    Because of "war" is past tense, "Wir waren erschaffen" does not make sense, because there is no change in the status.

    Elroy gave a context where it is correct. "Wir" is a collectivum here. It does mean: "some of us" (the mankind), not "all of us".

    You can use this kind of phrase only in present tense.

    Example: Wir sind erschaffen. Wir sind Geschöpfe Gottes.

    This means: Gott erschuf uns. Wir wurden erschaffen und jetzt sind wir erschaffen.

    (In my answer I refer to grammar and usage, not to my religious believes.)
  6. Derselbe Senior Member

    Deutsch, German, ドイツ語
    Haha! Thanks for that! Just great :D

    However, zealous, you should look for some conjugation charts of "werden" and "sein".

    What you are actually asking for is the difference between
    erschaffen werden
    erschaffen sein

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