My friends and I went on a tour to a football stadium recently and a friend from Austria who couldn't come to the trip messaged us to say

Hätte zu gerne die Stadion-Tour gemacht

Now, I was thinking, as there was no personal pronoun for hätte i.e. "ich", similar to Spanish, is there a need for personal pronouns in conversational German all the time?

Is it valid to sometimes not say the personal pronouns preceding a conjugated verb?

  • It should probably read Stadiontour. Putting in several substantives without explicitly linking them is another mistake blurring your question. – guidot Jan 24 at 8:11
  • The answers explain the German case well. Note, however, that skipping pronouns in German is distinctly colloquial nowadays, unlike in Spanish (which is mentioned in the question) where it is a valid construction even for written texts. – O. R. Mapper Jan 24 at 13:04

Yes, it is valid.

Das Weglassen des Ich vor dem Verb war früher ein Ausdruck von Bescheidenheit und Höflichkeit. Heute wird dies eher als Kurzform gebraucht, wie z.B. in einer SMS.

Gibts auch in anderen Fällen!

and in English too!


Don’t know why!

  • And "don't know why" would probably get shortened to "dunno why" – PiedPiper Jan 23 at 21:54

It would be misleading to say that personal pronouns can be dropped. Sentences like the following are completely ungrammatical (as indicated by the asterisk in front):

*Die Stadiontour hätte gerne gemacht.

This example shows that German, unlike Spanish, is not a pro-drop language.

On the other hand, what is possible is this:

A: Hast du denn auch eine Stadiontour gemacht?
B: Hätte ich gerne gemacht, war aber keine Zeit mehr.
(instead of: Das hätte ich gerne gemacht, dafür war aber keine Zeit mehr.)

The examples show that the the first position of a declarative sentence can sometimes be left out. This is remarkable in so far as it is the presence of an element in front of the verb that marks a sentence as declarative, yet the sentences uttered by B are still understood to be declarative.

  • 1. Please don't quote wrong examples. Nobody taught you? 2. Is the first position left out a general a rule, can you back it up? 't seems 's just a case of elided redundant information and contracted words:"('s) hät'ich gern", "('ch) hät's ...", 's'ogar den Vorteil hat, 's'nich' zwischen das, es oder was unterschieden werden muss :) But non-finite verbs cannot be dropped, I suppose, as "hättest du bloß ..." comes to mind, although that kind of word order inversion is then probably not strictly declarative, but rather a very rhetorical question. Somehow, your sentence A is the subject for B – vectory Jan 24 at 21:25
  • which doesn't work for OP's example, so there's a difference. – vectory Jan 24 at 21:25
  • Exclamatives like Hätte ich nur die Stadiontour gemacht! are different as there is no constituent missing and V2 is impossible. – David Vogt Jan 24 at 22:15
  • Hätt ich nur is V2 actually, that's the point. – vectory Jan 24 at 22:17
  • 1
    Are you saying Hätte ich nur die Stadiontour gemacht! is V2? – David Vogt Jan 24 at 22:19

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