Sign up ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to figure out a couple of grammatical rules, and the easiest way for me to do that would be if I had translations of the following sentences.

He had wanted a cat.
I think "er hatte eine Katze wollte."
rule: perfect tense.

He had wanted to speak.
I think "er hatte sprechen wollen."
rule: perfect tense with modal, or perfect tense with a 3rd verb.

About this one I am not sure yet, I'm trying to figure out if the modal here is in infinitive form because of the 3rd verb, "sprechen", or because it's modal.

He had ran to find her.
The last one: not sure if I can do something like this:
er hatte ihr finden liefen.

Or would I do this:
Er hatte lief, zu ihr finden.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Ingmar, c.p., Em1, Emanuel, Vogel612 May 22 '14 at 8:58

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

In your attempts you conjugated twice (the modal & the auxiliary verbs). That's not possible. The examples here should help. On the other hand, if your question is about Plusquamperfekt (past perfect), you should put that description in the title: think that people who open your question have the right to know what your question verses on. –  c.p. May 22 '14 at 5:55
This is just super wrong. None of your trial are remotely close. Maybe you should invest two hours and read up on how past is done, then take the sentences, write them down in present tense and THEN convert them to past. Forget English, it ain't gonna help. –  Emanuel May 22 '14 at 8:32

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think "er hatte eine Katze wollte." rule: perfect tense.

Er hatte eine Katze gewollt. (past perfect)

er hatte ihr finden liefen.

Er war gelaufen (um) sie zu finden.

share|improve this answer
I'd say, "Er hatte (schon immer) eine Katze haben wollen(, aber fand nie die Zeit).". The usage of "gewollt" in this case feels wrong; I don't think you should use auxiliary verbs this way? For instance, consider "Er hatte ein Katze gehabt.". While I know that Heidi Klum talks this way on national television, I'd just say "Er hatte eine Katze(, als er krank wurde.)". May be a regional thing. –  Raphael May 22 '14 at 7:43
Why is this wrong? "Er hatte eine Katze gewollt, aber dann nahm er sich doch einen Hund." Also, I was merely correcting the original sentence. Also, even if you don't use Pluperfect, it certainly exists and is used by speakers of German. Consider this: "Er hatte immer Katzen gehabt, bis er sich vor 5 Jahren einen Hund kaufte. Heute hat er gar keine Haustiere mehr." –  Ingmar May 22 '14 at 8:38
I'm not sure about the rules here. I just know that even though I am a happy user of Plusquamperfekt, I would not use it with "haben" or "wollen" in sentences like this. It just sounds wrong. *shrug* Maybe because "Katzen haben/wollen" is more a state than an action but Plusquamperfekt describes an action up to the point of reference? –  Raphael May 22 '14 at 8:51
This was a rhetorical question, i.e. I do not consider it wrong. You can certainly use Pluperfect for states as well. –  Ingmar May 22 '14 at 9:27