"Ich wurde geboren" vs "Ich bin geboren"?

  • Today my conversation group had a heated argument about whether it is correct to say "Ich (or er, sie etc.) wurde (in Berlin, etc.) geboren" or "Ich (...) bin (...) geboren". I looked at a few links and none of them gives a definitive answer:

    • Some links say that "bin" is the more colloquial version, but both are correct
    • Some say that "bin" must be used if the subject is living, otherwise "wurde".
    • Some say that "bin" can only be used if the speaker is talking about the place of birth, otherwise wurde should be used (for example, "Ich wurde 1990 geboren" would be the only correct form according to this version.)

    Is there a definitive answer?

  • idmean

    idmean Correct answer

    6 years ago

    "geboren" is the Participle II and therefore only correct if used with the correct auxiliary verb or in the passive.

    So the correct sentences with "geboren" and "ich" are:

    • Ich wurde geboren. (Passive imperfect)
    • Ich bin geboren worden. (Passive Perfect)
    • Ich bin geboren. (Passive state)

    For completeness of my "Ich" and "geboren" list:

    • Ich war geboren worden. (Passive Plusquamperfekt)
    • Ich habe geboren. (Perfect active; I'm the person who got a baby)
    • Ich hatte geboren. (Plusquamperfekt active)

    All of the first group are correct and can be used to say that you were born in Berlin. When speaking with someone the most common is passive perfect. But none of the others in the first group are really wrong.

    You can also use all of the passive operation (Vorgangspassiv) to say that you were born in 1990. (Using the passive state sounds rather odd.)

    No, there is not a definite answer. But using "Ich bin in Berlin geboren worden" when talking is a good choice.

    I'd say a more common colloquial variant would not be the passive past but just "Ich bin/komme/stamme aus Berlin".

    @Takkat Yeah, actually I thought about this while writing my answer but I did not add it because the question is about whether "ich bin geboren" is correct.

    Also very common: Ich kam in Berlin zur Welt.

    In Berlin I hear most frequently: _Ich bin in Berlin geboren_ (or: _ich bin (gebürtiger) Berliner_)

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM