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I’ve learnt from grammar books that möchten is mögen in subjunctive 2. I would like to use it but together with werden. Is it possible?

Ich möchte es lesen.

Ich werde es lesen möchten.

  • 1
    "werden" + any verb form other than Infinitiv is wrong. – Eller Oct 20 '16 at 14:41
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    @Eller So when your boss tells you "Sie werden befördert!", you will respond "please let me correct your grammar"? – Matthias Oct 20 '16 at 20:37
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    @Eller your statement is correct if we add "in order to conjugate the Futur I tense" ... think of the verb tenses from the Konjunktiv family and passive speech. – dave_alcarin Oct 21 '16 at 11:10
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Your grammar book is correct: möchten is not a verb of its own right, it is simply an inflected form of mögen. Thus, taking it into any case other then present you must use a corresponding form of mögen:

Ich möchte ein Brot.

Ich mochte ein Brot.

Ich habe ein Brot gemocht.

Ich werde ein Brot mögen.

Ich werde ein Brot gemocht haben.

However note two things:

  1. It is very uncommon to use future tense in German in everyday language. In almost all cases, present tense is used instead.

    Morgen möchte ich ein Brot.

  2. Since using the form möchte is directly requesting something, it sounds weird to my ears putting it into any other tense. The requesting sense of möchte overlaps too strongly with the full verb mögen in its to want meaning, so I am much more inclined to understand those sentences as ‘I wanted; I will want; I will have wanted’ without the intrinsic politeness of möchte.

  • This is the correct answer. – Barth Zalewski Oct 20 '16 at 16:09
  • Actually, I would argue I am yet more inclined to understand all sentences except the first one in the "to like" meaning of "mögen". Unless it is clear from the context ("Ich mochte ein Brot haben."; "Ich mochte ein Brot, aber er hat mir keines gegeben."), "Ich mochte ein Brot." unequivocally means to me "I liked the taste of the bread." – O. R. Mapper Oct 20 '16 at 16:16
  • So would be some kind of sentence wrong "ich werde ein Brot essen mögen"? – Dragut Oct 20 '16 at 17:19
  • @Dragut Nope, not wrong. Just unusual as most cases of the werden future are somewhat unusual. – Jan Oct 21 '16 at 16:06
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    "Ich mag Marzipan" bedeutet, dass ich eine generell libidinös besetze Beziehung zu Marzipan pflege, während "Ich möchte Marzipan" bedeutet, dass es mir aktuell nach Marzipan verlangt. Da ich eben Marzipan hatte möchte ich jetzt keins, aber mögen tue ich Marzipan immer noch, wobei "mögen tun" die Sprache arg strapaziert, aber gängiger Sprachgebrauch ist. – user unknown Oct 22 '16 at 22:45
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Subjunctive, as described in grammar books is rarely used in everyday-German. Everybody who reads »Ich möchte es lesen« will understand this sentence as indicative in presence tense: A German native speaker understand this sentence as »I (really) want to read it«, not as »I would read it (if something happens)«

To really show the subjunctive use, you have to construct sentences like this:

Ich möchte es lesen: Wäre das Buch von einem anderen Autor, so möchte ich es lesen.

compare with this similar construction:

Ich stürbe daran: Wäre ich noch lebendig, so stürbe ich bald durch deines Bogens schnellen Pfeil.

When used in Futur I, you don't decline the full verb, but the auxiliary verb. And even more important: You use the infinite form as full verb, which in the case of »möchten« is »mögen«:

Indikativ: Morgen werde ich es mögen.
Konjunktiv II: Morgen würde ich es mögen.

Indikativ: Morgen werde ich sterben.
Konjunktiv II: Morgen würde ich sterben.

  • 1
    +1 für "stürbe" im Beispiel. Rettet den Konjunktiv! – tofro Oct 20 '16 at 13:01
  • Du mäanderst hier ganz schön um eine Antwort herum … – Jan Oct 20 '16 at 15:06
  • Wie wäre es mit "ich möchte das Buch lesen wollen"? – Beta Oct 20 '16 at 15:16
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    @Beta: Damit wäre es schlecht. "Ich möchte das Buch lesen" drückt bereits den Wunsch aus. "Ich werde das Buch lesen wollen (aber will es noch nicht lesen, weil ich erst den ersten Teil lesen will, und dieses Buch ist Teil 2) oder (aber erst muss ich mein Deutsch verbessern)." Im Extremfall lässt sich aber auch ein entlegener Sinn konstruieren, bei dem man "möchte lesen wollen" sagen könnte, nämlich wenn man es durchaus lesen könnte, aber nicht wollen kann aber gerne wollen könnte würden. – user unknown Oct 22 '16 at 23:01
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As you write,

Ich möchte.

is Konjunktiv 2 of

Ich mag.

It is often used as a more polite substitute for

Ich will.

In that case it will be perceived as a verb of its own in Indikitav Präsens (like will) by many speakers. However this verb (which, as we just saw, does not really exist) is lacking any forms that are not Indikativ Präsens, in particular it has no infinitive möchten. (I remember that this has been discussed here before, with not everyone agreeing to which extent this is still true for colloquial German.) Since it has no infinitive, you cannot use it in Futur, and you will have to replace it with another verb, such as wollen.

Ich werde es lesen wollen.

In most cases it will not be necessary to modify this to make it more polite, since a future desire is less likely to be interpreted as a demand than a present one. On the other hand, it may also be possible to just leave it as

Ich möchte es lesen.

since this already expresses your wish for a future action, and you can modify it by adding when you would like to read it.

Ich möchte es nächstes Jahr lesen.

This would only be wrong if you currently do not feel inclined to read it later but expect to develop a desire to read it at a later time.

2

No. This doesn't work, as werden can't govern Konjunktiv II. Actually, no auxiliary verb can govern Konjunktiv II, instead, any auxiliary verb will be put into Konjunktiv II instead. So it should be:

  1. Ich möchte das Buch
  2. Ich würde das Buch mögen

However, two things have to be taken into account: würde may have temporal meaning in some cases, but often it is just used as an analytical replacement for synthetic Konjunktiv II. Apart from that, möchten is not understood as Konjunktiv II of mögen anymore. So (2) is neither (1) in the future or identical to (1) in terms of Konjunktiv II.

1

I don't see a problem with

Ich werde es lesen mögen.

other than that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. This would imply that you don't want to read it at the moment but you know you will want to read it in the future. Grammatically correct though.

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