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(Solved) Konjunktiv II Use of ''Würde+ infinitiv'' structure???

Hello, I've been recently working very hard about Konjunktiv 2 in German. While doing some exercises from different sources, I noticed a difference and got confused.

As far as I know from a former source, ''würde + infinitiv'' is used when ''präteritum'' and ''present konjunktiv 2'' form of a verb are indistinguishable from each other like tanzen, gehen etc.

But only when there is the umlaut difference like kam- käme, we don't need the würden structure, but the unique forms with dots.

I think this might be wrong as I came across some different interpretation in other sources. So what is the exact limitation for würden + infinitiv structure? In which case should I use it?

For example,

Question: Wir ........................ (bleiben) lieber zu Hause. (Konj 2, present)

since there is no umlaut difference as for the verb ''bleiben'', I'd say

''Wir würden lieber zu Hause bleiben'', but the answer in a different source is solely ''blieben''.

It all became so chaotic in my mind now, I need your help please...

August 15, 2017



Sorry, I started writing this over an hour ago, went away and came back and now it is almost completely useless. I should have just deleted it, but I couldn't do it... so here it is.

Simple Answer

You can always use either or!

Longer Answer

So, yes, there is a Konjunktiv II form of every verb and you can use that or the combination of "würde" with the infinitive of the verb. Why and when you can use/will see one form used vs. the other depends on a few things.

  1. The formality of the scenario. Rule of thumb, the more formal the more Konjunktiv II you'll see. It works in a similar fashion to Präteritum vs. Perfekt. Similarly you'll see more Konjunktiv II written than spoken.

  2. Whether the verb in question is "haben" or "sein". Typically even in very lax colloquial contexts you'll hear "wäre" and "hätte" over "würde sein" and "würde haben". There are a few other verbs like that as well. Currently only "finden" bzw. "fände" comes to mind.

With regards to your point on umlauts:
There is a general rule of thumb "Präteritum"+"umlaut"="Konjunktiv II". However when an umlaut is not applicable or the verb is "irregular" then "Präteritum"="Konjunktiv II" (generally at least, I don't think there are any exceptions to rules 1 2). Clearly, the verbs that follow rule two are subject to confusion when context can't come to the rescue; so that leads to "würde" + "Infinitiv" being used even in scenarios where one would normally lean toward Konjunktiv II.

Hope I added something that wasn't already in the comments.


oh thank you so much, no matter how late it is, you've made a great effort to enlighten me and people like me needing the answers after all by sparing your precious time for here aside from your daily life . Without doubt your clarification also helped me.

I guessed about the answer myself first, was not very surprised after all, but very precious for me to be confirmed. Though what you said about formality (quote below) made me worried that I must also know every single konjunktiv 2 for each verb which will doom my life :) I have to use formal language both in articles and engineering applications after all.

''The formality of the scenario. Rule of thumb, the more formal the more Konjunktiv II you'll see. It works in a similar fashion to Präteritum vs. Perfekt. Similarly you'll see more Konjunktiv II written than spoken.'' ( Quote)


You're too kind. I still have long to go on my journey with this beautiful language, but if I can help others on the road then that's a lovely bonus.

Though what you said about formality (...) made me worried that I must also know every single konjunktiv 2 for each verb which will doom my life :)

Well, I have good and bad news :)


Bad news - this form is more important to know than the Konjunktiv II, so here's (possibly) another verb form to add to the list

Good news - as I mentioned in my first comment, this form is either identical or "identical" - "umlaut" to the Konjunktiv II form; so if you already know the Präteritum - job done!!

PS: Viel Glück beim Ingenieurwesen! Ich hoffe, dass ich nächstes Jahr nach RWTH Aachen gehe, um Automotive Engineering MSc zu studieren :)


yes, I usually focus myself on memorising perfekt and präsens forms, rarely präteritum which I could use only for modal verbs if needed until now.

Haha nice to hear, what a coincidence. I am a mechanical engineering student. For next year I also desire FH Aachen, Msc Energy Systems, Automative or Aerospace eng... As you can see I am feeling thoughtful and confused about eveything in my life. Not sure which department would be more worthwhile to find a better and varieties of jobs and so on


This is not easy to answer, but I'll try my best:

The rule is that you normally use the "würde" construction if Konjunktiv II is identical with Präteritum. You have already understood that perfectly.

However, this does not mean that Konjunktiv II is always used when that is possible (because it is not identical with Präteritum).

In these cases, in which you could use Konjunktiv II, the "würde" construction is sometimes used, and this is perfectly idiomatic.

In my opinion, in your sentence

"Wenn ich Lust hätte, würde ich arbeiten",

the "würde" construction is used to avoid the clash of two Konjunktiv II ("hätte" / "arbeitete"). I think the sentence with "arbeitete" (Konj. II) would not be wrong, but it would sound awkward and outdated.

In the sentence

"Wir würden lieber zu Hause bleiben",

the "würde" expresses a desire (we would like to stay) much better than Konj. II would.

In summary, I would say that the "würde" construction is used much more frequently today than it used to be.

Here's a detailed explanation on my favorite grammar site, canoo.net: http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/Wort/Verb/Modi/Wuerde-Form.html?lang=en (I'm not yet sure if they agree with me ;-) -- but they are really excellent, and they provide many examples)


oh das ist wunderbar! You made me feel so happy that what I thought in the first place was right, but then the moment I found another exercise source where there was no würden structure, confusion started.

Understood now. All fine.


I would use "2" (Wenn ich Lust hätte, würde ich arbeiten). The construction whith "würde+Infinitiv is much more common. At least in spoken german.


ok, würden is both easier and better sounding for my ears as well. :) thanks.


Further, if the use of ''würden+infinitiv'' structure is somewhat flexible or optional without a solid rock rule, then ( in the example below) which one do you prefer as the most common use in Germany?

1- Wenn ich Lust hätte, arbeitete ich.


2-Wenn ich Lust hätte, würde ich arbeiten.


You can use both!


Hi, i read something and it is not totally true, so I will give you some explanation when it is used... Werden in Konjuktiv II is used to express possibility/ possible action: würden + infinitiv Ich würde gern etwas lecker essen. it means that you would gladly something tasty eat if the conditions in close future allow you to do it..It is not the time it just gives us a chance to express our wisches..

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