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Konjunktiv 2 past tense

So I was looking at the german subjunctive forms, and for konjunktiv 2, I had some questions about the grammatical structure of "if...then" statements. In the sentence "Wenn ich schneller führe, hätte ich bestimmt einen Unfall," I understand the second part of the sentence's grammar, but the first part, particularly "führe" piques my interest. The sentence implies 'If I drove," I know it is in the Konjunktiv II Präteritum, but is there a difference between this and the plusquamperfekt for konjuncktiv 2? Or would the pluskaumperfekt imply "If I had driven," instead of "If I drove"? Which do Germans use and when.

May 23, 2018



indeterminate time in the present or future:

  • Wenn ich schneller führe, hätte ich bestimmt einen Unfall.
  • If I drove faster, I would surely have an accident.

indeterminate time in the past:

  • Wenn ich schneller gefahren wäre, hätte ich bestimmt einen Unfall gehabt.
  • If I had driven faster, I would surely have had an accident.

For more information, check out this webpage: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/Subjunctive/KonjunktivII.html


Perfect explanation. I'd like to stress this citation from the link: "Similar to English's use of "would," colloquial German most comfortably employs "würde", the subjunctive form of "werden"."

in this case, I'd say: "Wenn ich schneller fahren würde, hätte ich bestimmt einen Unfall" or even "Wenn ich schneller fahren würde, würde ich bestimmt einen Unfall haben."

In a higher register this excessive use of "würde" is considered "würdelos" (without dignity), but in colloquial speech the Konjunktiv might sound stiff.


I believe that part of the link is referring to the second part of the sentence, no? Considering the fact that the sentence following still uses the praterium "Wenn ich dieses Lied wüsste, würde ich es singen."


I'm not sure I understand the question. "wüsste" is not Präteritum, that would be "wusste". The sentence is in the present tense, but hypothetical.

Maybe there is a confusion because the English "knew" works both as past tense and as a subjunctive mode?

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