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Background

From Ladybug's answer to this other question, I learned that, where an Indikativ Präteritum mental-state (e.g. "fühlte" or "dachte") introduces a Konjunctiv II Plusquamperfekt irreal (counterfactual) situation, the situation can be either coeval with that Indikativ Präteritum or more remote in the past.

I'm sorry that was complex; but I hope the following examples (simplified from Ladybug's answer) should make the meaning clear, where {-1} refers to a past time and {-2} to one even more remotely in the past.

(D1') Ich fühlte{-1}, welchen Spaß es mir gemacht hätte{-1 or -2}, spazierenzugehen, wenn da nicht Mama gewesen wäre{-1 or -2}.

(E1') Ich fühlte{-1}, wie gerne ich spazierengegangen wäre{-1 or -2}, wenn es hier nicht die Geschichte mit Mama gegeben hätte{-1 or -2}.

Put another way, these sentences can mean either that "ich" at a past time regretted (i.e. {-1}) not being able to take a walk right then and there ({-1}) or not having taken a walk earlier ({-2}).

Question

My question for this post is this: To express a subject's past mental-state about a coeval counterfactual, can you use an Indikativ Präteritum mental-state introducing a Konjunctiv II Präteritum counterfactual?

By way of example, we may ask:

Examples 1. Can the following sentences be used to state that, at some pont in the past, "ich" wished for a walk right then and there?

(DD') Ich fühlte{-1}, welchen Spaß es mir machen würde{-1}, spazierenzugehen, wenn da nicht Mama wäre{-1}.

(EE') Ich fühlte{-1}, wie gerne ich spazierenginge{-1}, wenn es hier nicht die Geschichte mit Mama gäbe{-1}.

(I note that "machen würde" is in KII Future.)

Example 2. Can the following be used to state that "ich" considered what would be better right then?

Ich dachte{-1}, es wäre{-1} besser.

Example 3. Can the following be used to state that Meursault thought that he would be better off without his mother?

Eines Morgens dachte{-1} Meursault daran, wie viel besser es wäre{-1}, ohne seine Mutter zu sein{-1}.

If the answer is yes, then we will end up with two ways to express a past mental-state about a coeval counterfactual: an Indikativ Präteritum mental-state introducing either (1) a Konjunctiv II Plusquamperfekt counterfactual (from Ladybug in the other post) or (2) a Konjunctiv II Präteritum counterfactual ("yes" to this post).

Comparison to Other Languages

Incidentally, what is analogous to (2) in French, i.e. an imparfait mental-state introducing an imparfait/présent conditionnel counterfactual, is apparently ungrammatical. I.e. French can only do (1). See comments to Kyrio's answer in this post in the French section.

In English, I believe, what is analogous to (2) is allowed and even to be preferred to (1). See the English portion of Examples 2 and 3, in which a past tense mental-state introduces a "would" counterfactual. (I expect you felt no resistance reading them.)

It'd be great if anyone took a look at my "hypothetical" answer to the other question, which is somewhat related to this one. Thanks.

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Technicly that is possible. But no German would ever say that in his everyday live.

Eines Morgens dachte Meursault daran, wie viel besser es wäre, ohne seine Mutter zu sein.

I’d much rather say

Eines Morgens dachte Meursault es wäre viel besser, ohne seine Mutter (zu sein).

That’s way shorter but says the same thing. And the (zu sein) in the end isn’t nessesary either.


Ich dachte, es wäre besser.

That part on it’s own is common. In a full sentence I’d use it like this:

Ich dachte, es wäre besser, wenn ich ohne Mutter wäre.

You could do a long version:

Ich dachte, es wäre besser, wenn ich ohne meine Mutter sein würde.

But once again: Noone would use the longer version when talking German.

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    Great! Then both "dachte...wäre" and "dachte...gewesen wäre" can express the same thought, i.e. (1) and (2) both work. – Catomic Sep 21 '15 at 15:19
  • @Catomic Well, don't exactly mean the same. (1) is pastwhile (2) can be used as past perfect. But you can use the past instead of the past perfect most of the time. ich dachte ich wäre hungrieg and ich dachte ich wäre hungrig gewesen. They both express the same: I though i was hungry. And if you only use them, you'd use the first one, even though the second is correct aswell. But you can use the second one for something like this: Ich dachte ich wäre hungrig gewesen, bevor ich angefangen hatte zu essen.. Which then is past befor the past and can only be done this way. – DocRattie Sep 21 '15 at 15:26

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