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Let's say I want to say

"I will have been a cat."

Is it

"Ich werde eine Katze gewesen haben.' or

"Ich werde eine Katze haben gewesen."?

I think it's the first one, but I want to check.

Also, while I'm here, if I want to say

"I would be a cat.", is it

"ich wuerde eine Katze sein" or "ich waere eine Katze."?

I'm trying to wrap my head around all the waeren, wuerden stuff, and I need simple examples to understand.

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Some issues: 1) It is better to ask two questions than about two issues in one question. 2) Do you really want to use the future perfect for your first example sentence? 3) Can you give some context for the sentence in your second question? –  Wrzlprmft Apr 4 at 17:22
1  
Possible Context: "Bis ich ins Nirvana eintrete, werde ich eine Katze gewesen sein." –  Toscho Apr 4 at 17:35

4 Answers 4

First question = Futur 2

In German Futur 2 is built in the exact same way as Future Perfect in English with the exception, that in German haben and sein are the auxiliary verbs in contrast to have being the only one in English. This exception is important here, as the full verb sein is conjugated using sein as the auxiliary verb.

Therefore it's

Ich werde eine Katze gewesen sein. (Correct)

instead of

Ich werde eine Katze gewesen haben. (Wrong)

Second question = Konjunktiv

The Konjunktiv mood can be built using a simple form or a composed form.

Simple Form:

Ich wäre eine Katze.

Composed Form:

Ich würde eine Katze sein.

Both forms are interchangeable. For most verbs, the composed form is used most often. For sein both forms probably have the same likelihood.

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For the Konjunktiv(I, as in roman 1): German teachers will tell you that the first form is more correct than the composite form, because the composite form can be confused with the Konjunktiv II (as in roman 2) for some verbs. –  Soana Sep 23 at 11:40

The first question seems to point for the tense called "future perfect", or "Futur II" in German. It is used very seldomly to express actions or processes that are known to be terminated at a future point.

The example with the cat would be "Ich werde eine Katze gewesen sein", although that doesn't make sense as a sentence. Other examples:

"Im Jahr 2133 wird man alle Lebewesen geklont haben."

-> In 2133, all species will have been cloned.

"In 3484 Jahren werden alle Fisch-Arten ausgestorben sein."

-> Within 3484 years, all fish will have become extinct.

The syntax of "Futur II" is also used to express vague assumptions:

"Er wird die Tür schon geschlossen haben."

-> He surely locked the door.

"Aber das Auto wird doch wohl nicht gestohlen worden sein, oder?"

-> But the car won't have been stolen, right?

The highlighted parts are used in these examples to further strengthen the opinion/emotion of the speaker.

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Das erste: "Ich werde eine Katze gewesen sein".

Das zweite braucht mehr Kontext. "Ich would like to be a cat" => "ich würde gerne eine Katze sein", wobei "ich wäre gerne eine Katze" auch geht; aber "I would be a cat if i liked to eat mice" => "Ich wäre eine Katze wenn ....", hier gibt es keine passende Form mit "würde".

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Der Konjunktiv kann in beiden Fällen einteilig oder zusammengesetzt sein. –  Toscho Apr 4 at 17:33
    
@Toscho... es mag eine regionale Sache sein, aber ich finde "wäre" im zweiten Beispiel weitaus besser und würde "würde sein" immer korrigieren. Selbst wenn es theoretisch möglich ist, ich finde einen Downvote unagemessen, denn (keine Ahnung ob der von dir ist) –  Emanuel Apr 8 at 10:19

I will have been a cat. --> I will be a cat but will cease to be.

-->

Ich werde eine Katze gewesen sein.

-

I would be a cat. - If I had the choice.

-->

Wenn ich die Wahl hätte, würde ich eine Katze sein.

But

If I was climbing trees, I would be a cat.

-->

Wenn ich Bäume erklimmen würde,(dann) wäre ich eine Katze.

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