2

What does this sentence mean?

Why have I used präsens in kriegen instead of präteritum as the whole sentence is in the past?

Shouldn't it rather be "Ich habe mir doch gedacht, dass du den Zug kriegtest, so wie du gerannt bist"?

2

Many of this depends on the sequence of events, and on how the person speaking relates to those events.

The sample sentence

Ich habe mir doch gedacht, dass du den Zug noch kriegst, so wie du gerannt bist.

is completely adequate in everyday (oral) communication. It would also be adequate as part of a dialogue in a novel or so where oral speach is part of the story.

Let's try a different type of text: not someone speaking, but a narrative:

Fritz dachte sich schon, dass Paul den Zug noch kriegen würde, als er sah, wie dieser rannte. Und in der Tat: Paul kam gerade noch rechtzeitig am Bahngleis an, um auf den letzten Wagen aufzuspringen.

Interestingly even in this more formal use of language (that could be taken from a short story or novel or so), "noch kriegen würde" is present tense (though subjunctive).

I would take this as a hint that this reflects how the person speaking relates to the event (of Paul running and finally reaching the train) at the very moment when it takes place: at that time, from his perspective it is present (Paul is running, and Fritz is thinking), and so present tense is a logical choice.

| improve this answer | |
1

Clauses starting with dass represent an object in the main clause. That's why the temporal function of the finite verb in such clauses is different:

Präsens means the action happens simultaneous or time-invariant of main clause:

Ich nahm an, dass sie den Zug kriegt.

Präteritum, Perfekt and Plusquamperfekt mean the action happens before that of the main clause:

Ich nehme an, dass sie den Zug kriegte.

Ich nehme an, dass sie den Zug gekriegt hat.

Ich nahm an, dass sie den Zug gekriegt hatte.

It's preferred to pair Präsens in the main clause with Präteritum or Perfekt in the object clause, and Präteritum or Perfekt in the main clause with Plusquamperfekt in the object clause.

Futur I means the action happens after that of the main clause:

Ich nahm an, dass sie den Zug kriegen wird.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.