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Modalverben 1 - Modal Verbs 1

PRÄSENS PRÄTERITUM PERFEKT


(Present) (Preterite/Past) (Pres. Perfect)
DÜRFEN - be allowed/permitted, may
ich darf ich durfte ich habe gedurft *
I may (am I was allowed I was allowed
permitted)
du darfst du durftest du hast gedurft *
you may you were allowed you were allowed
er/sie darf er/sie durfte er/sie hat gedurft *
he/she may he/she was allowed he/she was allowed
wir/Sie/sie wir/Sie/sie durften wir/Sie/sie haben gedurft *
dürfen we/you/they were we/you/they were allowed
we/you/they may allowed
ihr dürft ihr durftet ihr habt gedurft *
you (pl.) may you (pl.) were allowed you (pl.) were allowed
* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double
infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

ihr habt sprechen dürfen = you (pl.) were allowed to speak


ich hatte sprechen dürfen = I had been allowed to speak

KÖNNEN - be able, can


ich kann ich konnte ich habe gekonnt *
I can, am able I could I could
du kannst du konntest du hast gekonnt *
you can you could you could
er/sie kann er/sie konnte er/sie hat gekonnt *
he/she can he/she could he/she could
wir/Sie/sie wir/Sie/sie konnten wir/Sie/sie haben gekonnt *
können we/you/they could we/you/they could
we/you/they can
ihr könnt ihr konntet ihr habt gekonnt *
you (pl.) can you (pl.) could you (pl.) could
* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double
infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

wir haben schwimmen können = we were able to swim


ich hatte schwimmen können = I had been able to swim
MÖGEN - like, want, may
ich mag ich mochte ich habe gemocht *
I like I liked I liked
du magst du mochtest du hast gemocht *
you like you liked you liked
er/sie mag er/sie mochte er/sie hat gemocht *
he/she likes he/she liked he/she liked
wir/Sie/sie wir/Sie/sie mochten wir/Sie/sie haben gemocht *
mögen we/you/they liked we/you/they liked
we/you/they like
ihr mögt ihr mochtet ihr habt gemocht *
you (pl.) like you (pl.) could you (pl.) could
* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double
infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

wir haben schwimmen mögen = we liked to swim


ich hatte schwimmen mögen = I had liked to swim

mögen is often used in its subjunctive (möchte) "would like" form:


Ich möchte lieber Kaffee (haben). = I would rather have coffee.
Wir möchten ins Kino. = We'd like to go to the movies.

Modalverben 2 - Modal Verbs 2

PRÄSENS PRÄTERITUM PERFEKT


(Present) (Preterite/Past) (Pres. Perfect)

MÜSSEN - have to, must

ich muss ich musste ich habe gemusst *


I must, have to I had to I had to

du musst du musstest du hast gemusst *


you must, have to you had to you had to

er/sie muss er/sie musste er/sie hat gemusst *


he/she must he/she had to he/she had to

wir/Sie/sie wir/Sie/sie mussten wir/Sie/sie haben gemusst *


müssen we/you/they had to we/you/they had to
we/you/they have to
ihr müsst ihr musstet ihr habt gemusst *
you (pl.) must you (pl.) had to you (pl.) had to

* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double
infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

ihr habt sprechen müssen = you (pl.) had to speak

ich hatte sprechen müssen = I had had to speak

Note: The old spelling with ß, as in ich muß or gemußt, is no longer used for
forms ofmüssen.

Sample Modal Sentences

The 20 Most-Used German Verbs

Copyright © 2003-2005 german.about.com

SOLLEN - should, ought to, supposed to

ich soll ich sollte ich habe gesollt *


I should I should have I should have

du sollst du solltest du hast gesollt *


you should you should have you should have

er/sie soll er/sie sollte er/sie hat gesollt *


he/she should he/she should have he/she should have

wir/Sie/sie sollen wir/Sie/sie sollten wir/Sie/sie haben gesollt *


we/you/they should we/you/they should we/you/they should have
have

ihr sollt ihr solltet ihr habt gesollt *


you (pl.) should you (pl.) should have you (pl.) should have

* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double
infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

wir haben gehen sollen = we should have gone

ich hatte fahren sollen = I had been supposed to drive

Sample Modal Sentences

The 20 Most-Used German Verbs

Copyright © 2003-2005 german.about.com

WOLLEN - want to

ich will ich wollte ich habe gewollt *


I want to I wanted to I wanted to

du willst du wolltest du hast gewollt *


you want to you wanted to you wanted to

er/sie will er/sie wollte er/sie hat gewollt *


he/she wants to he/she wanted to he/she wanted to

wir/Sie/sie wollen wir/Sie/sie wollten wir/Sie/sie haben gewollt *


we/you/they want towe/you/they wanted to we/you/they wanted to

ihr wollt ihr wolltet ihr habt gewollt *


you (pl.) want to you (pl.) wanted to you (pl.) wanted to

* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double
infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

wir haben sprechen wollen = we wanted to speak

ich hatte gehen wollen = I had wanted to go

1. dürfen (to be permitted, may)

Present: Darf ich rauchen? May I smoke?


Past/Preterite: Er durfte das nicht. He wasn't permitted to do that.
Pres. Perfect/Perfekt: Er hat dort nicht parken dürfen. He was not permitted
to park there.
Past Perfect/Plusquamperfekt: Wir hatten das damals machen dürfen. We
had been allowed to do that back then.
Future/Futur: Wir werden das machen dürfen. We will be allowed to do that.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Wenn ich dürfte... If I were permitted...

NOTE: For all modals with umlauts, the simple past (preterite/Imperfekt) has no
umlaut, but the subjunctive form always has an umlaut!

Sample Idiomatic Expressions:


Was darf es sein? May I help you? (store clerk)
Wenn ich bitten darf. If you please.

2. können (to be able, can, know)

Present: Er kann gut fahren. He can drive well.


Past/Preterite: Er konnte sie nicht leiden. He couldn't stand her.
Pres. Perfect/Perfekt: Er hat sie nicht leiden können. He couldn't stand her.
Past Perfect/Plusquamperfekt: Er hatte sie nicht leiden können. He had not
been able to stand her.
Future/Futur: Er wird sie nicht leiden können. He won't be able to stand her.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Wenn ich ihn nur leiden könnte... If I could only
stand him...

NOTE: For all modals with umlauts, the simple past (preterite/Imperfekt) has no
umlaut, but the subjunctive form always has an umlaut!

Sample Idiomatic Expressions:


Sie könnten sich irren. You could be mistaken.
Das kann man wohl sagen. You can say that again.
Er kann Deutsch. He knows German. ("can German")
Er kann Sie jetzt sprechen. He can see you now. (doctor, dentist)

3. müssen (to have to, must)

Present: Ich muss dort Deutsch sprechen. I have to speak German there.
Past/Preterite: Er musste es nicht tun. He didn't have to do it.
Pres. Perfect/Perfekt: Wir haben mit der Bahn fahren müssen. We had to go
by train.
Future/Futur: Sie wird morgen abfahren müssen. She will have to depart
tomorrow.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Wenn ich müsste... If I had to...

NOTE: For all modals with umlauts, the simple past (preterite/Imperfekt) has no
umlaut, but the subjunctive form always has an umlaut!

Sample Idiomatic Expressions:


Ich muss nach Hause. I have to go home.
Muss das sein? Is that really necessary?
So müsste es immer sein. That's how it should be all the time.

4. mögen (to like)

Present: Er mag die Suppe. He likes the soup.


Past/Preterite: Er mochte die Stadt nicht. He didn't like the city.
Pres. Perfect/Perfekt: Er hat das Essen nicht gemocht. He didn't like the food.
Future/Futur: Er wird das schon mögen. He'll like that.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Ja, er möchte Wein. Yes, he'd like (some) wine.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Ich möchte... I would like...

NOTE: For all modals with umlauts, the simple past (preterite/Imperfekt) has no
umlaut, but the subjunctive form always has an umlaut!

Sample Idiomatic Expressions:


Das mag wohl sein. That well may be. / That may be so.
Das mag der Himmel verhütten! Heaven forbid!
Er mag/mochte etwa 1,3 Meter groß sein. He must be/must have been
about 1.3 meters tall.
5. sollen (to be supposed to, should/ought to)

Present: Er soll reich sein. He's supposed to be rich. / It's said that he's rich.
Past/Preterite: Er sollte gestern ankommen. He was supposed to arrive
yesterday.
Pres. Perfect/Perfekt: Du hast ihn anrufen sollen. You should have called him.
Future (in sense of): Er soll das morgen haben. He'll have that tomorrow.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Das hättest du nicht tun sollen. You shouldn't have
done that.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Wenn ich sollte... If I should...
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Sollte sie anrufen... If she should (happen to) call...

Sample Idiomatic Expressions:


Das Buch soll sehr gut sein. The book is said to be very good.
Du sollst damit sofort aufhören! You're to stop that right now!
Was soll das (heißen)? What's that supposed to mean? What's the idea?
Es soll nicht wieder vorkommen. It won't happen again.

6. wollen (to want to, said to be)

Present: Sie will nicht gehen. She doesn't want to go.


Past/Preterite: Ich wollte das Buch lesen. I wanted to read the book.
Pres. Perfect/Perfekt: Sie haben den Film immer sehen wollen. They have
always wanted to see the movie.
Past Perfect/Plusquamperfekt: Wir hatten den Film immer sehen wollen. We
had always wanted to see the movie.
Future/Futur: Er wird gehen wollen. He will want to go.
Subjunctive/Konjunktiv: Wenn ich wollte... If I wanted to...

Sample Idiomatic Expressions:


Das will nicht viel sagen. That's of little consequence. That doesn't mean
much.
Er will es nicht gesehen haben. He claims not to have seen it.
Das hat er nicht gewollt. That's not what he intended.