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  5. "Wir sollten jetzt gehen."

"Wir sollten jetzt gehen."

Translation:We should go now.

January 10, 2013



Why is sollen in past tense? Is it also ok to say: "Wir sollen jetzt gehen"? If no, could you explain why? Danke.


I guess we've gotten so used to saying "should" instead of "shall" we've forgotten that "shall" is the present form sometimes. "Shall" sounds almost antiquated now.


wow good point. I didn't even think of that


'sollten' is a subjunctive form, which is formed with the past tense. 'Wir sollen' means 'we shall or are told to go', which doesn't fit the original sentence.


should is the past of shall in English. So, German has the similar meaning for sollen in past tense, as in shall in past tense for English.


Should is not always in the past. I can say "We should get ice cream" to let my friends know that in the future I want to get ice cream.


I was talking about merely in the etymological senses, actually.


Etymologically, yes. Practically, not any more. "Should" should be considered a separate modal verb in modern English. It has even got its own past tense forms, e. g. "Should have done" vs. "should do".

Similarly, "sollten" should not be considered the past tense of "sollen" any more. (Actually, "Ich weiß" used to be the past tense form of "Ich wisse", too! But it is now treated as a present tense form, for practical reasons, not etymological reasons. "Ich wusste" was indeed a new invention after this verb form shift!) The past tense of "sollen tun" is "haben sollen tun". "Sollten" is now used as the subjunctive mood form of "sollen". It forms its own past tense: "hätten sollen tun" (present: "sollten tun").

One of the uses of the subjective mood (Konjunctive II) in German is to express politeness or a suggestion. "Wir sollten jetzt gehen" is more polite than "Wir sollen jetzt gehen". English is similar: "I'd like some coffee" is more polite than "I want coffee". Here, "'d" is a contraction of "would" and the expression "would like" is the subjunctive mood form of "like".


That's the best explanation I've ever heard. Many thanks.


Splendid explanation!


Sorry, I just don't understand how "should" could be the past tense of "shall," even though I've heard it a thousand times. I can't think of any situation where "should" could refer to the past.


"Should" is not past tense, but subjunctive (contrary to current fact).


"We should have done that differently." is one that comes to mind right away. It does use "have" as a helper to create past tense, I guess, but it's still past tense.


OK, but isn't that the past tense of "We should do that differently?" I'm talking about should vs. shall, without the "should have" construction.


Now that I'm thinking about it, "should" is a bit of an odd word in English. It can be used for all three tenses (past, present & future) pretty much as-is. Even your "We should do that differently." could be all three as written, although it's more explicit if you add helper words like "have".

Come to DL to learn German, start pondering the mysteries of one's native language too...


I guess I can think of it as not a real tense, just a different form of the verb, though.


why is "we should be going now" wrong?


It should be correct. (Wow, this discussion is highlighting just how often we use the word "should"...)


Agree, it should be correct.


So how would you translate from English "We should have gone home" for example? In English there's a big difference between that and "We should go home" - how do you express that in German?


Wir hätten nach Hause gehen sollen. (Ich hätte nach Hause gehen sollen, Du hättest nach Hause gehen sollen, Ihr hättet nach Hause gehen sollen, etc.)


I've seen that "wir sollten" = "we should" and "wir sollen" = "we're supposed to". So could "wir sollten jetzt gehen" be used say, if someone was bored and wanted to leave, whereas "wir sollen jetzt gehen" be used if a shop was closing and you had to leave but hadnt yet?


Right, so I'm PRETTY sure this was mentioned somewhere, but I can't seem to find it anywhere (on duolingo) at the moment. When using modal verbs, does the other verb HAVE to be infinitive?


Yes, the modal verb is conjugated, the other is in the infinitive.


How will you write "We should be going now" in German?


"Wir sollten uns mal langsam auf den Weg machen." Or "Wir sollten allmählich gehen" The "ing" progressive construction doesn't really exist in German. So if you want to express the gradualness which your sentence implies you have to use little vocabulary "tricks."


Yes I was wondering the same thing as Boris. I would have translated this as: "we were supposed to go now" not "we should go now"


Sollten can be either pass simple or Konjunktiv II. 1. Wir sollten jetzt gehen - we should be gone now, doesn't make much sense because it's in present tense. 2. Wir sollten jetzt gehen - We should have been gone.

I think the course admins should have used Sollen.


"We should go right now"? "Right now" worked in a previous test.


Why does "We should have gone now" not work?

[deactivated user]

    It doesn't mean anything.


    Sorry if I've missed this in the thread, but since we are to use 'sollen' as the past here, when would we use the present tense conjugation forms listed?


    the lesson given here allowed for two choices: söllten vs sollten. That is, Wir ____ jetzt gehen. How in the world is it possible that one of these is wrong without any context?


    There simply is no such word as "söllten."


    well, that makes the answer a little more obvious, doesn't it? ;)


    I heard "Wer solten jeztz gehen"

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