Der böse Geist wurde aus dem Haus getrieben.

English Translation

The evil spirit was driven away from the house.

The use of “wurde” sent me to Hammer to clarify the German disinclination for the passive voice, and found a nice “how-to” in Chapter 13, including when to use “werden” and when to use "sein.(actions vs. states).


Yes, it’s very tempting to think it should be “der böse Geist war aus dem Haus getrieben”, because that’s much closer to how we say it in English “the ghost was driven…”, but then that would mean something else in German, because German passive voice doesn’t work that way. German passive voice is wild. I did a whole episode on it last year: Ausflug23 - Active and passive voice - YouTube

Specifically, at around 14:18, I talk about “sein” versus “werden”, and vorgangspassiv versus zustandspassiv. The part that really threw me for a loop when I was first learning it (and still sometimes throws me for a loop even now to be honest) are the so called “impersonal passives” in German, which are hard to wrap your head around as there is often no direct English equivalent. It’s really rewarding once you start to figure it all out though!

1 Like