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    "They wondered what else could be done"

    I have the translation which is "Sie fragten sich, was sonst gemacht werden könnte" - I'm just curious how the last part is constructed? I understand it to be a passive but I'd be grateful if anyone could go through their thinking of how one would translate that particular part.

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    I think I can break it down for you.

    Firstly, the present passive is formed with werden + a past participle.

    ich wird gesehen- I am (being) seen
    du wirst gesehen - you are (being) seen
    er/sie/es wird gesehen
    wir werden gesehen
    ihr werdet gesehen
    Sie werden gesehen
    sie werden gesehen.

    So, "what is being done?" would be: ,,Was wird gemacht?"

    "What could be done?" is not only a passive tense, but it is also a passive infinitive.
    which is formed by combining the past participle of the verb with the infinitive werden. It is used with modal verbs.
    Examples from my textbook include: er musste bezahlt werden- he had to be paid.

    So, "what could be done" can be translated as "Was könnte gemacht werden?"

    However, in your example, it forms the second clause, and ,,was" behaves like a subordinating conjunction, like weil when it joins sentences/clauses.

    So the verbs are flipped a bit, and so it becomes: ,,was sonst gemacht werden könnte?"

    If none of this makes sense, tell me, and I'll try again. I'm not very good at explaining stuff.
 
 
 
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Updated: December 31, 2012
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