When we say something about an imaginary situation we use Konjuntiv II.
(like in English, "if I were a bird, I could fly to the island".)

I read in a German grammar book that when a verb's Konjuntiv II form is not distinguishable from the past form, we should use 'würden + Inf.' instead of the Konjuntiv II form.
For example,


If she could speak German, she would get a job.


A: Wenn sie Deutsch sprechen könnte, würde sie eine Arbeit bekommen.
B: Wenn sie Deutsch sprechen könnte, bekäme sie eine Arbeit.

The book seems to say, A is correct but B is wrong. Why is B wrong, even though bekäme is distinguishable from bekam? I can't understand it exactly.

  • 5
    I think you misread something, because the Konjunktiv II is always distinguishable from the past form. In fact, I would prefer B, but A is also correct. – Björn Friedrich Jan 25 '18 at 6:05
  • Wow, then the book I have (a German book written in Korean) seems to have an incorrect explanation! Thanks. – Chan Kim Jan 25 '18 at 6:59
  • 1
    @BjörnFriedrich: Not distinguishable: »Hätte ich Geld, kaufte ich das Auto.« So better: »Hätte ich Geld, würde ich das Auto kaufen.« – Pollitzer Jan 25 '18 at 8:58
  • @Pollitzer, in deinem Beispiel ist würde kaufen nicht die Ersatzform für den K II von kaufen, sondern der K II von werden (Futur). Wenn ich Geld habe, werde ich das Auto kaufen wird zu Hätte ich Geld, würde ich das Auto kaufen. – Björn Friedrich Jan 25 '18 at 9:12
  • For strong verbs and modals the Konjunktiv II is usually distinguishable from the preterite (käme/kam, könnte/konnte) wheras for weak verbs it's usually not (kaufte/kaufte). – RHa Jan 25 '18 at 9:12

B is also right. But it sounds a bit old-fashioned/stilted/written-language. People actually use type A in common real life. I think that is why your book wants you to use A although it's not wrong to use B.

  • Bekommen is one of the verbs where people actually use the Konjunktiv forms, even in speech: Ich bekäm' dann noch fünf Euro. – Janka Feb 6 '18 at 15:34
  • @Janka: Nee, verwende ich nie. Aber habe ich schon gehört, wobei mir die Verwendung in dem Fall sehr formelhaft vorkommt – äüö Feb 6 '18 at 16:15

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