I am surprised about a case of reported speech in the following sentence:

Man hätte den Mann vorher über die möglichen Folgen informieren müssen,
begründete das Gericht sein Urteil.

“Man hätte …” is a reported speech, because the writer cites the court, so we need to use Konjunktiv 1. Konjunktiv 1 for the verb haben “in der 3. Person Singular” is habe but not hätte (which is Konjunktiv 2). So is it a mistake?

2 Answers 2


If the court had said:

"Man hat den Mann informieren müssen"

it had stated

"The man had to be informed".

which would have ended up in reported speech as

Man habe den Mann informieren müssen...

As you rightly say.

But that's not what they said (That would imply they would not know or take into account whether the man had been informed or not). In fact, they knew and stated

"Man hätte den Mann informieren müssen"

(so, in fact he was not). That is Konjunktiv 2, Irrealis

Now, putting Konjunktiv 2 into reported speech, we are running out of Konjunktivs and leave it at that.

Man hätte den Mann informieren müssen, begründete.....


The original sentence (the one to be reported) is already in Konjunktiv II and seems to be

"Man hätte den Mann vorher über die möglichen Folgen informieren müssen" Das Gericht.

So, the phrase in the example, is correctly the reported speech of a Konjunktiv II phrase. You use Konjunktiv I for the reported speech of quotes that originally are in indicative mood.

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