I have translated both hatte and hätte and it says would have. Do these words have some differences? I have searched other questions and saw that the words really exist, initially my thought was that it was a typo.

So is it (The only instance where I come across this word is at a restaurant)

Ich hätte gerne or ich hatte gerne?

I have also seen words like konnen/könnten (suppose both these words also mean the same, correct me if I am wrong).

So how does these words differ from each other?

Please give examples to explain the difference.

  • Please explain why a grammar book did not help you.
    – Jan
    Oct 20, 2015 at 9:53
  • I translated the words to get the same meaning.
    – Vini
    Oct 20, 2015 at 9:55
  • 1
    Let me emphasise grammar book.
    – Jan
    Oct 20, 2015 at 9:55
  • I remember learning in my grammar classes where I had only hätte. It was explained as Would have. I was searching through something to to see another word hatte. then i remembered about könnte and konnte.
    – Vini
    Oct 20, 2015 at 9:57
  • 5
    I have no idea why this question was downvoted. It is totally valid and it is also a very common question in beginning German classes. Lastly, I do not see this as an off-topic question on this German language stackexchange sub-group.
    – Shailen
    Jul 14, 2016 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


These are different conjugations. Usually, verbs endind -te are written in their preterite form (past form). Umlauts ¨(ä, ö, ü) are usually used for the conditional of the verb, and change the pronunciation of the vowel.


I have = ich habe
I can = ich kann


I had = ich hatte
I could = ich konnte


I would have = Ich hätte
I (possibly) could = Ich könnte

In restaurants, it is usual to use the conditional to speak in a more polite way.

Gern means that you like or would like to do/have sth.

Ich schwimme gern = I like to swim (present)
Ich hatte gern = I liked to have (preterite, because of hatte and not habe)
Ich hätte gern = I would like to have (conditional)

  • As an Addition: gerne/gern means also: with pleasure!
    – Medi1Saif
    Oct 20, 2015 at 9:13
  • Hi and welcome to German Langauge Stack Exchange. Feel free to take a tour of the site. For questions on how it works, visit the help center. Nice answer!
    – Jan
    Oct 20, 2015 at 9:37

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