German Grammar Explained /

Passive Present

Let's take a look at the passive voice in German. First, pay attention to this passive sentence in English.
The museum is closed on Mondays.
Why passive?
It's not relevant who closes the museum. Imagine if someone said "Museum workers don't open the museum on Mondays." The person is redundant in this case, so we use the passive whenever it's not very important to know who the "doer" is.
In English, we use "to be" (auxiliary) + the past participle (e.g. closed, opened, cooked, painted, ...). Luckily, German does the exact same thing!
Das Museum ist montags geschlossen.
Watch out, the word order is a bit different, though. The participle goes at the end!
There's a twist - German always has a twist!
There are two auxiliaries you can use to make a passive sentence, and because Germans are very precise in the information they convey: these two passive options have a specific use and meaning depending on what you want to focus on.
Focus on the A C T I O N or P R O C E S S ⇒ use "werden"
Die Suppe wird gekocht.
Meaning: The soup is in a process, the action of cooking is taking place.
Focus on the R E S U L T or S T A T E ⇒ use "sein"
Die Suppe ist gekocht.
Meaning: The soup is done cooking (state) and ready to eat now (result).
The "doer"
Sometimes you might want to say who is performing the action after all, even if that is secondary information. In this case, just use von:
Der Patient wird vom Arzt untersucht.
Der Patient wird von der Ärztin untersucht.
Remember always to use the dative after von.
There are a few verbs with which you simply can't make a passive sentence:
Active sentence
Please don't!
Ich habe eine Tochter.
Eine Tochter wird von mir gehabt.
Ich gehe nach Hause.
Nach Hause wird von mir gegangen.
Ich kenne sie.
Sie wird von mir gekannt.
Modal- verben
Ich muss arbeiten. Ich kann Spanisch.
Arbeiten wird gemusst. Spanish wird von mir gekonnt.
Since we've been talking about museums... Germany has more than 6,200 museums covering every imaginable topic, including mustard, pigs (SchweineMuseum in Stuttgart) and Currywurst. If you are interested in quirky charm, we recommend the hugely popular Hygiene Museum in Dresden, which exhibits almost 45,000 items related to the human body, hygiene, and healthy lifestyle. Relevant facts and medical information are presented through interactive displays and visually stimulating images.