If I wanted to say something like

“I don’t want to eat,”

I could just say

“Ich will nicht essen.”

How could I say

“I don’t want him to eat?”

I think I could probably say something like

“Ich will es nicht, dass er isst/esse.”

Do I have to use the Konjunktiv to make this grammatically correct? Also, can I make the sentence a little bit less verbose by leaving out "es":

"Ich will [] nicht, dass er isst,”

or must I use “es” to stand in for “dass er isst”?

In other words, should one use Konjunktiv in subordinate clause introduced by “dass” and should one use an explicit "es" in the main clause before "dass"?


1 Answer 1


The "es" is optional in your example, you can leave it out. And no, you don't need Konjunktiv, you just take indicative mood for that.

It used to be possible to alternatively use Konjunktiv 1 for "isst", namely "esse", analog to:

ich will, dass sie gehe

but that would be stilted and dated.

dated example 1

dated example 2 (with explanation)

A somewhat related example of literary/stilted usage of Konjunktiv 1: Why can Konjunktiv 1 be used as a replacement for Konjunktiv 2 in literature and when is it appropriate to do so? Note that in this example it may be loosely justified by remotely likening to it to some kind of reported speech.

  • 1
    As a rule of thumb, the use of Konjunktiv 1 in temporary German is restricted to indirect speech. All other uses are dated.
    – RHa
    Nov 3, 2019 at 18:34
  • 2
    So eindeutig würde ich das nicht behaupten, weil es folgendes gibt: "man werfe 2 Löfel Salz hinzu" und "hoch lebe der König".
    – Dan
    Nov 3, 2019 at 18:39
  • 4
    Beides würde ich als Archaismen einstufen
    – RHa
    Nov 3, 2019 at 18:39

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