This sentence appears among the subtitles to a recent Tatort:

Ich hab gehofft, sie fährt nach Hause und schläft sich aus oder was.

DeepL translates this into English as:

I was hoping she would go home and sleep it off or something.

I do not understand the use of the verb tenses here. The hoping is stated in the past tense, but the content of the hope is stated in the present indicative, though it has a subjunctive mood. Would it not be more correctly written this way?

Ich hatte gehofft, sie wäre nach Hause gefahren und hätte sich ausgeschlafen oder was.

1 Answer 1


Two things come to mind. First and foremost, in colloquial speech people are not that interested in linguistic precision and the use of Plusquamperfekt might have sounded a little bit stilted in a Tatort. The use of the 'oder was' at the end of the sentence indicates that the speaker is somewhat sloppy with regards to language anyway. The second point is a slight difference in meaning. While „ich habe gehofft, dass ...“ expresses a hope that was not yet finally disproven (=I still hope) and might still be realized, the new suggestion „ich hatte gehofft“ indicates that the speaker has given up on this hope and no longer believes that this hope could (=I now no longer believe it) be shown to have become a reality.

  • Yes, I see a lot of ungrammatical language in Tatort. But what I would like to know is if my revision of the sentence is grammatically correct for the English meaning or not?
    – user44591
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 23:46
  • 1
    Yeah, sure. Your revision is perfectly valid. (I need to add that the "oder was" at the end is a contraction of "oder so etwas".) Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 8:13

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