Das dürfte kein Problem sein.

{vs}:Das sollte kein Problem sein.

When the auxiliary verbs dürfen and sollen are used for the Vermutung / Annahme sense, I wonder if there are nuances of meaning between the two.

I suppose sollen can be either in Indicative or in Konjunctive, while dürfen can only be in Konjunctive, when they are used to indicate an informed guess?

On another note: Does the Konjunctive sollte suggest that the speaker is somewhat less certain than when the Indicative soll is used?

  • For a great number of verbs, Konjunktiv II is not distinguishable from Indikativ in the Präteritum tense. That's what you are stumbling over here. For dürfen the forms are durfte vs. dürfte, while for sollen both forms are sollte. There is no deeper meaning behind this. You can use both verbs in Indikativ or Konjunktiv II.
    – Janka
    Apr 18, 2017 at 19:27

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure about the subject, but das dürfte kein Problem sein.


I have done this often and from my experience sollte das kein Problem sein.

One is more of a hunch, maybe based on second hand knowledge. Where the second is more solid based on first hand knowledge. But still would require a formal verification in order to say. Das ist kein Problem.


About your first and main question:

No, there aren't any differences in meaning between the conjunctive forms of sollen and müssen in your sentences. You can use them interchangeably here.

About your second question:

Conjunctive: Das sollte kein Problem sein. This shouldn't be a problem.
Indicative: Das soll kein Problem sein. This shall not be a problem.

The indicative version of this sentence is not wrong, but pretty uncommon, and it also implies that the speaker is going to make sure there won't be any problem; hence, it's less of a prediction, but rather a mild form of promise.


Das dürfte kein Problem sein

Das sollte kein Problem sein

These two should only be used in Conjunctive. Otherwise, they sound weird and more like a command.

Besides, I would recommend using dürfen instead of sollen because sollen doesn't sound like you are assuming something.

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