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There are two versions that are possible:


Er hat tanzen dürfen, aber ich habe nicht gedurft.


Er hat tanzen dürfen, aber ich habe nicht dürfen.

Which one is correct?

(Updated: 'haben' declension corrected.)

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Er hat tanzen gedurft -- ich aber nicht (?) – c.p. Apr 3 '13 at 3:39
@Em1: In all other cases I stick with what Karl Valentin said: Mögen hätt ich schon wollen, aber dürfen hab ich mich nicht getraut – Thorsten Dittmar Apr 3 '13 at 8:33
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Apart from the incorrect form of haben, example 1) is correct:

Er hat tanzen dürfen, aber ich habe nicht gedurft.

This is because dürfen is a full verb in the second part of the sentence (in contrast to a modal verb as in the first part of the sentence, where there is an infinitive form (tanzen) attached to it) and therefore is inflected differently. You could also dürfen as a modal verb in the second part:

Er hat tanzen dürfen, aber ich habe nicht tanzen dürfen.

However, as c.p. already mentioned, repeating in detail what is negated is uncommon, and a simple ich nicht suffices:

Er hat tanzen dürfen, ich nicht.

Furthermore, using the perfect and not the imperfect for dürfen seems odd to me, however I cannot pinpoint why. So, I cannot think of a context in which I would not write or say:

Er durfte tanzen, ich nicht.

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The last sentence is the most natural IMHO. – splattne Apr 3 '13 at 6:52

Ich würde übersetzen:

Ihm wurde erlaubt zu tanzen - mir nicht.

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The use of of perfect and imperfect strongly depends on the context in which they are used. In colloquial German, both tenses are considered identical by the majority of the speakers, whereas in written texts the imperfect is used much more often - and rightfully so.

In spoken German "Ich habe gestern getanzt" (perfect) and "Ich tanzte gestern" (imperfect) are considered identical, even though only the latter version is grammatically correct, since the German perfect is 'officially' used in the same way the English present perfect is.

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I'd say in this situation (apart from that I hate dancing ;) )

Er durfte schon tanzen, ich nicht.
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Wieso kommst Du auf "schon"? – user unknown Apr 5 '13 at 23:38
Das "schon" betont eben, dass er tanzen darf, aber ich eben nicht. Ich würde es eben so sagen und nicht anders. – Christian Graf Apr 11 '13 at 19:55
Achso, ich verstehe. Ich habe das schon zeitlich verstanden (Er durfte schon tanzen; ich musste mir erst passende Schuhe besorgen), aber ein schon kann auch wie von Dir gezeigt benutzt werden, es wird dann betont - darauf bin ich so nicht gekommen. – user unknown Aug 6 '15 at 22:58

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