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  5. "Ich musste Englisch lernen."

"Ich musste Englisch lernen."

Translation:I had to learn English.

June 12, 2013

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Just got over the headache of "sollte" being not always past tense (sometimes subjunctive.) Now musste is definitely only past? Or is mussen just too firm to be used in any real subjunctive way?


"musste" is preterite indicative only.


Bookmark this website for future reference.


So, I just figured this out ! (well, in part) If there is an umlaut, it signifies subjunctive for the modal verbs that have an umlaut in the infinitive: dürfen, können, mögen & müssen . If no umlaut in the verb ( sollen & wollen) look for 'wenn' as a hint for subjunctive.


Why does it translate with the past tense instead of the present simple (I have to learn english)


Ich muss Englisch lernen = I must/have to learn English

Ich musste Englisch lernen = I had to learn English



The link you gave also shows the way to form past tense without using modal verbs. Thanks for help!


I just got corrected (I see my mistake). However, the correction given is "I'd to learn German." This is completely unnatural English in any dialect I know of, so much so that it took me - a born anglophone and an English teacher - a while to figure out what it meant and what it was trying to say. The contraction "I'd" for "I had" is only ever used when "had" functions as an auxilliary of past tense (i.e. pluperfect "I'd done" or pluperfect progressive "I'd been doing", etc.); as far as I know, it is never used for the modal expression of obligation "I had to do" in any major dialect, it must be stated completely (similarly, it is extremely old-fashioned to use it for possion - "I'd an apple"; modern anglophone only say it this way for antique effect). This translation should be removed, as it is extremely misleading and confusing, which does not help the learner to identify his or her mistake.


I know this is annoying, but we'll probably have to live with, at least for now. The correction you saw is not actually something we added as a solution. It's generated automatically. Unfortunately, the system can't tell between the different functions of "had". Whenever you see a weird correction involving a contraction, it's probably because of that.

This is what it looks like inside the Incubator:

As for the past tense appearing too early, this should no longer happen in the new tree version, which we're going to launch soon.



Thanks for the invaluable peek inside the incubator.


This is a strange sentence because in English there is no past tense of "must", but here they are using a past tense of must and translating it to "had to", without changing the tense of the verb lernen.


Just like in English, only the auxiliary verb changes. The main verb is an infinitive. You wouldn't say "I had to learned English".

  • Ich muss Englisch lernen = I have to learn English / I must learn English

  • Ich musste Englisch lernen = I had to learn English


Oh that helped. I should start remembering "muss" to mean "have to" rather than must. Then when you change the tense it makes sense.


Does this mean musste is the past of muss, or is it just a coincdence the verbs are similar? :P


'Musste' indeed is past tense of 'muss', you can check it out here - http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-german-verb-m%C3%BCssen.html


The verb "must" in English has only a present tense, and does not conjugate: I must, you must, she/he must, they must. Logically, the past tense would be "musted". Therefore, I had to, I shall have to, etcetera.


Now my tenses are all musty. ;)


Just out of curiosity, would "Ich musste lernen Englisch" also be grammatically correct?


If there are two verbs, the secondary verb is usually at the end of the sentence. So "lernen" goes at the end of the sentence, unlike in English.


I translated it "I must learn English" Is it wrong? Why so?


ich muss means I must


Muss means "have to. " its not a direct translation as in English


I agree that must should be accepted, since it is also the past form of the verb.


"must" is present tense only. If you want to refer to the past, you can use "had to".


"I must have learnt English" was marked wrong, so how would you say that?


"Must have" is a completed action. "I can't find my book. I must have left it in school."


Translate it with the structure "I have English (to learn=infinitive) (had to=past participle of "must")" Duo hasn't set you up for a perfect tense with modal auxiliary yet, and there are several steps to put in place. Learn perfect tense first, then learn the irregular past participles that modal verb make.


I must, and, I had to, are the same thing.


"I must" is present; "I had to" is past.


The "correct solution" duolingo gave me was "I was to learn English". Sorry to say, but that's just incorrect English. Please fix it.


It happens to be correct but rather formal and outdated. "He was to be here by eight but he's very late." It means "had to'' or "supposed to".


Not outdated at all.


I say it all the time

  • 1621

It is quite common in constructions like "Am I to assume ...?" (= Do I have to assume ...) and "Were I to take you seriously ... (= If I had to take you seriously). Nothing outdated about either example, at least not in my circles.


Not incorrect, but definitely shouldnt be the preferred answer. I had to double take on it. Definitely archaic unless you consider Jane Austen contemporary. "I was to be married until Jeremiah became drowned." Yeah...


but in english, "i must learn englisch" also could be a past tense.


No, it couldn't. "There is no past tense, but had to is used for saying that something was necessary in the past: We had to show our passports." See http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/must for more details. It was a past tense once but hasn't been for quite some time.

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