To form the Konjunktiv II in the present tense, I have come across a “first rule” as:
- Verbs such as sein, haben, werden and the modal verbs take irregular single word forms (wäre, hätte, dürfte etc)
For the other verbs there are two typical guidelines:
- Most other verbs are formed with würde + verb (two word form)
- Irregular verbs can formed with präteritum stem + e and umlaut where possible (single word form). A student of German is asked to recognize this in the literature, but is not really encouraged or asked to use it
Taking the verb laufen, we could potentially have the following two variants of a sentence -
i) Wenn ich bequeme Schuhe hätte, würde ich schneller laufen.
ii) Wenn ich bequeme Schuhe hätte, liefe ich schneller.
In my view, if rhythm, intonation is important, then I would consider using liefe over würde laufen at any time, and also extend this to other verbs äße vs würde essen etc.
Would this be a correct way of thinking about it in modern German?