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I am trying to understand the sentence below:

Ich musste Dich immer haben Jesu

I think it’s a quote from the song here.

I do not understand the use of the word musste with an object dich. The only definition I have heard for muss is have to. My best guess is that this is something like:

I would that you would always have Jesus.

But I am unsure. I would also like to know if this is normal usage and if other modals like sollen have usages with objects as well.

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    "müssen" is the auxiliar here. "haben" is the main verb. And "dich" is the object to the main verb, i.e. "haben". "to have someone/something" makes sense to you, doesn't it?
    – Em1
    Dec 22 '16 at 8:20
  • Besides, your English 'guess' doesn't make any sense whatsoever.
    – Em1
    Dec 22 '16 at 8:22
  • The sentence is from a 100-year-old letter with extensive Bible quotations, so "I would that you would" seemed alright. In modern English it would be "I hope that you will". Anyway, how would you translate the sentence, then? I must have you always... Jesus? I'm not making any sense out of it.
    – Nate Glenn
    Dec 22 '16 at 8:38
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    It's very simple: "I need you all the time, Jesus" Or "I'll always need you"
    – Beta
    Dec 22 '16 at 8:52
  • As an english-native speaker, I always thought of "müssen" as the verb form of english "must" (which doesn't have a verb form in english, but you can imagine what it would mean). It's not exactly right, but it's sufficiently close to remember.
    – Joe
    Dec 22 '16 at 17:47
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The song is clearly about a person who talks to Jesus and tells him that he always has, does and always will need Jesus to guide his way:

Ich brauch dich allezeit, führ mich nur, wie du willst;
ich harre auf dein Wort, bis du es ganz erfüllst.

I need you all the time, guide me at your will;
I'm waiting for your word, until you fulfill it.

The song also has the line:

ich muss dich immer haben, Herr, segne mich!

Which simply means

I always have to have you, Lord, bless me!


The sentence you quote, however, clearly uses a past tense form:

Ich musste Dich immer haben Jesu
I always needed to have you Jesu

müssen is an auxiliary verb meaning to have to.

Ich muss gehen
I have to go

Ich muss dieses Buch lesen.
I have to read this book.

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Dich is not an object of musste but of haben. The same occurs in the (literal) English translation¹:

I had to always have you, Jesus.

Here you is the object of have and not of had to. What might be confusing you is the German word order that places the object in front of the verb in this situation, but that’s just how German grammar is.


¹ Note that this is arguably not a good translation in context; it just serves to illustrate what’s going on grammatically.

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    Or: I always had to have you, Jesus. The German sentence allows for both interpretations.
    – Carsten S
    Dec 22 '16 at 9:29
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euhm, "dich" is the inflicted form of "du". It`s only the forth casus (Akkusativ). And translated it means "you. It IS the object. when you ask "Whom ot what did that person need?" the answer is NOT jesu, it's "dich" (you). jesu is just a closer description, a secondary sentence, consisting only of the subject.

Everything after the comma is either:

  1. another sentence that could be left alone (often follows a "und" (and). (Ich sah auf und er lächelte mich an. (I looked up and he smiled to me)-> Ich sah auf. (I looked up.). Er lächelte mich an. (he smiled to me.).
  2. a secondary sentence that is only a closer explaination of the main sentence (often follows a "weil" (because), dass (that)) (Ich musste lachen, weil er Grimassen zog.) (I had to laugh, because he was doing faces.)) While everything before the comma can stand by itself, the rest can't, because it misses the grammatical structure of a main sentence (verb second).

For this example above, mentioned in the topic, "Dich" is the object. famous three words: "Ich liebe Dich, Julia." "(I love you, Julia).

  • Ich (I)=>subject (Wer oder was liebt dich,Julia?-> Ich (I) )
  • liebe (love)=>verb (Was mache ich? (what do I do) lieben (love))
  • Dich (you)=>object (Wen oder was liebe ich (Whom or what do I love=?) => dich (you)
  • Julia=>just showing you still know the name of the person you love.

Pro tipp: when you look upon the parts of the sentence, treat everything after the comma seperatly. Or you`ll end up only know who the name of the person is, but left in confusion if you talking in a dialog or talking about somebody with an imaginary friend.

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